Recap: Bulls 104, Cavs 88 (or, Skunked)

It was a forgettable MLK Day for the Cavaliers, as they continued to get skunked by the Bulls this season (now 0-3). Losing by double digits is nothing new for this team… but losing by double digits to the second worst team in the League? Yikes.

Cleveland definitely won the tank battle, as they showed just how much separates them from even the other cellar-dwellers in the NBA, while handing Chicago their first wire-to-wire victory of the season. This wasn’t exactly much of a challenging feat for the Bulls, since the Cavs stunk up the joint by missing their first nine shots of the game. If not for a brief shooting surge by Collin Sexton (who scored eight straight during the stretch), the first quarter would have been in the running for lowest scoring of the season.

The Cavs simply dug themselves too deep a hole, falling behind 31-18 after one. The bench did their best to clear the air in the second quarter (minus some stinker turnovers by Jordan Clarkson), as they scored all but two of the 24 points in the period. Channing Frye and Cameron Payne brought some freshness to the Cavs’ perimeter shooting, as they helped bring the percentages up close to 40%. They somehow cut the lead to just six at the half, 48-42.

The third quarter was relatively competitive, as Sexton and Ante Zizic hit a few, though the Cavs continued to struggle when guarding the perimeter. The Bulls made a ton of threes to keep their advantage, while the Cavs couldn’t seem to buy one. The defense of Jaron Blossomgame in the paint was one of the few highlights, as were a couple of Cedi Osman drives to the basket. The wine & gold remarkably still only trailed by single digits at the end of three, 76-67.

Just when you thought maybe the Cavs could make a fourth quarter surge at home… they surrendered a 14-2 run in the first few minutes of the frame to effectively snuff out that hope. Both Sexton and Zizic had some nice plays down the stretch to keep it from being a complete blowout, but the Cavs still fell pretty convincingly at home by 16 points.

The Evil

I didn’t realize this until I saw this Tweet, but man… this is the definition of getting skunked…

The 0-9 skunking to start the game created a stinky hole from which the Cavs could never crawl out.

The 10-0 skunking to start the fourth quarter ended any hope to a comeback.

The trio of Alec Burks, Rodney Hood and Matthew Dellavedova were almost collectively skunked from the field as they went 1-7, 1-8 and 1-6 respectively. None of those makes were threes.

Jordan Clarkson was also skunked on threes (0-5), and had some positively rank turnovers (5), including one where he drop kicked a dribble 10 feet out of bounds.

The Cavs again got savaged at the arc, allowing the Bulls to shoot 15-30 (50%) from three… while they themselves shot just 6-27 (22%).

The Genius

Sexton wasn’t great in the middle two quarters, but was the Cavs’ most effective scorer with 17 points (7-17, 2-6 from deep), and showed some energy at least. He still had zero dimes.

Ante Zizic has done a pretty decent job of filling in for the injured Larry Nance, Jr. and Tristan Thompson. He had another double digit scoring game (13 points) and was one board shy of a double double. The big man has some nice moves, but still struggles with receiving passes on the move.

Jaron Blossomgame can’t really shoot (3-8), but he did hustle on D and was one of only two Cavs in the positives for the game (+8).

Channing Frye played some quality minutes, and knocked down almost every shot he took (3-4, 2-2 from deep). Maybe he should have received more opportunities?

Cameron Payne was the other Cav in the positives (+2), and seemed inspired against his former team. He didn’t shoot all that well (4-11, 1-5 from three), but he did a lot of little things with four rebounds, three assists, two steals and a blocked shot.

Parting Shot

Watching this game wouldn’t have been my first choice of ways to spend my day off in observance of MLK Day, as it was just as hard on the eyes as it sounds. There are incremental reasons to be semi-optimistic about Sexton, Cedi, Ante and maybe even Payne… but the rest of these guys seem destined for other opportunities. Injuries stink, but the play lately has also stunk… particularly the shooting, passing and defending of the perimeter. Here’s hoping the Cavs get healthier and easier to watch as we go along on this march to Zion. In the meantime, here’s another quote from Dr. King to keep our heads up…

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

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NOMAD
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NOMAD
26 days 12 hours ago

THE CONCERNS WITH LOVE ARE –YES HIS HEALTH/ HOW MANY GAMES IS HE GOING TO GIVE YOU A YEAR /—–ALSO DOES HE REALLY WANT TO BE AROUND THIS TOTAL REBUILD/ WHICH IS GOING TO TAKE THE REMAINDER OF HIS CONTRACT TO EVEN BE SOMEWHAT COMPETITVE —-IS HE GOING TO BE PATIENT / WANT TO BE AROUND AN ATMOSHPHERE THAT HAS NO CHANCE OF POSSIBLY NOT EVEN MAKING THE PLAYOFFS / FAN BASE —THE “Q” WILL HAVE ALOT OF EMPTY SEATS –NO ENERGY / LIFE / EXCITEMENT—–OR WOULD HE RATHER TAKE HIS TALENTS TO A COMPETIVE TEAM THAT IS IN THE HUNT FOR TOP PLAYOFF SPOT OR EVEN THE FINALS ………………………………HOW BAD IS KYRIE GOING TO TORCH THE CAVS TONIGHT / AND THEN PROBABLY TORCH THEM MORE IN HIS POST GAME COMMENTS

John B
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John B
26 days 10 hours ago

Yeah I am guessing he signed this summer thinking we would be at least partially competitive to start the year and for another year or two. Lue killed that to start the season. Then trading away the vets put the nail in the coffin. We are now years away.

West coast cav
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West coast cav
27 days 2 hours ago

Love has had his history of injuries, though I believe if the Cavs were competitive this year he’d be back. The chances on the Cavs attaining another all star on their roster either through a trade or free agency is slim to none. We will have a lottery pick this year which could provide an all star player in several years. There’s no reason to trade Love, we’ll never replace him with an equal player. Kevin’s game isn’t predicated on athleticism, he’s a skilled basketball player who can play at a high level beyond players that depend on speed and hops. Kevin should be the backbone of the Cavs that they can build from with young players. He’s a champion and a gentleman and should retire a Cav.

John B
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John B
26 days 23 hours ago
Depends on if the cavs were to get a transformational player this draft. That player would take a few years to start peaking. Getting a high first round for love that conveys at the right time, a la in year 2 or 3 of transformational player’s career could push a playoff team into contention. With good talent evaluators on staff, first round picks are gold to excellent organizations because of the rookie contract system. Good to great players on rookie contracts are by far and away the most valuable asset and impact contracts a team can have. The trick is getting two or three (a la GS) on rookie contracts at once to build perennial contenders (in the modern nba). Easier said than done with great players. But getting a couple future stars and another solid piece on rookie contracts at the same time or staggered by a year or so is a surefire way to actually contend outside of having a once in a generation star, a once in a generation coach, etc. So if trading a guy past his prime for a first round pick may be worth it if the cavs were to put top money in… Read more »
Joeyb
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Joeyb
26 days 8 hours ago

Yes. Love will be in decline when this team is competitive again.

Jason
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Jason
27 days 4 hours ago

Grizz said to be listening to offers for Conley & Gasol. Along with Love & Beal, those are your possibly attainable all-stars who could really alter the championship landscape in the right spot.

Imagine Conley in Philly, Gasol in Boston, Beal/Love in Houston. Offers are going to have to be good, and all of those guys require a team passing on a run at KD, AD, Butler, Klay, and such this off-season..

MikeO
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MikeO
27 days 4 hours ago

Gasol with the Spurs would be nice. Don’t know how plausible it is. Actually, Conley with the Spurs would be kind of amazing.

Vintage
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Vintage
27 days 2 hours ago

Really interested what Conley’s trade market would be – could be a difference maker on your team but still has $30M + due the next two years and an extensive injury history.

NOMAD
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NOMAD
27 days 14 hours ago

AGREE WITH MIKEO—-COME ON MAGIC—SIGN MELO –ADD TO YOUR “CIRCUS “——WOW DUBS WITH 41 FRIGGIN ASSISTS !!!

Jason
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Jason
27 days 4 hours ago

Even Magic is not that dumb. 76ers perhaps.

MikeO
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MikeO
27 days 4 hours ago

I think Magic is easily that dumb.

MikeO
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MikeO
27 days 22 hours ago

I hope if Magic was on the fence regarding Melo that the Laker-Dub game tonight pushed him over. This team needs his star power, his leadership, and his jab step. Get it done before it’s too late, Magic.

John B
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John B
27 days 11 hours ago

In all seriousness, he would be another shooter if he was content to spot up on three. Obviously, defensively they would get worse.

John B
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John B
27 days 23 hours ago

Gah. Klay Thompson is having an impossible game. 44 points thru three qtrs on 17-20, 10-11 from 3, with no free throw attempts. That team is still unbeatable in the playoffs without injury.

Jason
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Jason
27 days 13 hours ago

Dubs have a top gear that is still unmatched.

Vintage
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Vintage
27 days 6 hours ago

Only team that can beat them is themselves

Jason
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Jason
27 days 4 hours ago

Yep. Or they play at 80-90% and soneone else plays closer to 95-100%. Toronto, Denver, Boston, etc.

John B
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John B
26 days 23 hours ago

Hence themselves.

NOMAD
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NOMAD
28 days 3 hours ago

AND JUST FOLLOWING UP SEXTON / BALL—-STILL THINK IT IS TOO SOON TO FORM GOOD OPINION ON EITHER –( ONE THING IN YOUNG BULLS FAVOR IS HIS DURABALITY AND TOUGHNES )—–STILL THINK YOU NEED TO GIVE A ROOKIE AT LEATS 3 YRS TO FORM AN OPINION—UNLESS HE IS “GUMMY BEAR ” WHO YOU CAN JUDGE QUICKLY —–JASON –NO I DO N OT WANT TO “GIVE ” LOVE AWAY—-JUST SAYING IF ALL OF SUDDEN THEIR ARE “SUITORS ” VYING FOR HIS TALENTS AT TRADE DEADLINE —RETURN VALUE IS VERY GOOD —-THEN YES GO AHEAD AND “PULL THE TRIGGER ” —STILL THINK (EVEN WITH THE INJURIES )–THINK THIS IS WHY WE HAVEN’T SEEN NOR WILL WE SEE LOVE PLAY UNTIL AFTER TRADE DEADLINE—–HE BRINGS TO ANY PLAYOFF TEAM A POTENTIALLY HUGE UPSIDE WORTH THE GAMBLE TO GET HIM ………………..WE SHALL SEE

Jason
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Jason
28 days 3 hours ago

Zion league updates: wins, games left, remaining SOS rank.

9 = Cavs, 34, 15th.
10 = NY, 37, 22nd.
11 = PHX, 34, 19th.
11 = CHI, 35, 20th.
14 = ATL, 36, 18th.

Fewest wins. Least games left. Toughest remaining schedule. And the most guys hurt. Looking good.

If NY eants to land a FA in the summer, I would think they would want Porzingas to prove he is healthy, if possible. Wonder how much he plays.

NOMAD
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NOMAD
28 days 4 hours ago

LET ME THROW THIS AT EVERYONE—BASED JUST ON THEIR ROOKIE SEASONS —-WHO WOULD YOU CHOOSE —LONZO BALL OR SEXTON —-REMEMBER BALL WAS WHAT THE 3RD PICK IN THE DRAFT ——–CALL ME STUPID– ( MANY PEOPLE DO )–I AM GOING WITH THE YOUNG BULL

Chris K
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Chris K
28 days 4 hours ago

I’ll agree with you–though I have been surprised by how underwhelming he has been as an on-ball defender. I have been just as surprised by how consistently he has shot from deep (still leading all rooks) and while many of us have picked on his non-use of the glass when finishing, he is starting to show understanding of where shot blockers are. I have not been surprised by how little he sets up teammates–I felt that was who he was in college, and I am not sure that will change. How many players who initiate action with their heads down actually develop that skill in the NBA?

Ball’s dad alone made me want the Cavs to stay away, but things seem rather quiet this year for him, especially considering LeBron’s arrival. I see he is out for a time due to injury; Sexton seems to be built a bit better for wear and tear. At this point, the comparison is a wash. I admit I haven’t seen enough of Ball to really feel strongly one way or the other.

Grover13
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Grover13
28 days 1 hour ago

I would definitely rather have Ball. He has a feel for the game, and knows how to run the floor. His biggest liability is shooting; it’s easier to learn shooting (basically just repetition training), and he has plus size for the position.

It’s a shame, because from all reviews Sexton is a great kid, and has heart, whereas Ball was raised by a total douche bag. But, life isn’t fair. If I had to classify Sexton, I’d guess due to his superior quickness and tenacity he was probably blowing by everyone at a young age, and was never challenged enough to be forced to learn how to run the court. To your point- he’s not going to suddenly learn those intricacies at age 20.

John B
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John B
27 days 23 hours ago

As of right now, Ball. He is just a better player. He had a positive RPM as a rookie and is already a very good defender. Let him run point on a team with weapons and you will get a Ricky Rubio type point guard who is taller and rangier.

Jason
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Jason
28 days 4 hours ago

Lonzo. He plays D and can pass. Though it is hard to erase this year from one’s mind.

I am for keeping Love. His value is at an all-time low (injured). We have no shot to land another all-star in FA next year (no/little cap room) even if Love is traded. And he seems a good fit next to any other big and is the best 3PT shooter on the team. I want to see some Love + LNJ + Cedi + Sexton + Nwaba lineups. Throw Delly & TT in the mix.

Keep TT too unless we get a great offer or he makes clear he still thinks he is worth $15 mil a year. He is limited but got better in some areas this year.

Can always deal both next year, along with Sexton.

I have seen enough of Hood/Burks. Flashes of good play but I do not think either is a winning player or starter/quality reserve level. 11th-13th guy on a good team.

If we get a decent offer for either, do it. Ditto JR.

Jason
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Jason
28 days 4 hours ago

Oops, I meant Clarkson, not YB.

For next year if I am GM.

Keepers: Delly, Nwaba, LNJ, TT, Love, Henson.

Keep to develop: Sexton, Cedi, Zizic.

Last chance to develop: Clarkson.

That is 10. Our draft pick is #11.

JR, Burks, Hood, and Frye all move on. Payne gets the rest of the year to try out.

Needs: shooting, playmaking, defense, post play. A 3rd PG, Gs/Fs that can do 2 of shoot, create, defend, shot blocking.

MikeO
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MikeO
28 days 4 hours ago

Tough to say. I think it will only start to be reasonable to have genuine opinions of Sextons next season, anyway. I figured he’d be terrible this year. I am no fan of Ball, but he’s a pretty good defender, and sometimes very good, aided by his length. I’d probably take Ball, but he’s no great prize as a second pick.

NOMAD
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NOMAD
28 days 4 hours ago

HOPE THEY KEEP PAYNE AROUND THE REST OF THE SEASON TO REALLY EVALUATE IF HE IS A KEEPER GOING FORWARD —-CERTAIN PARTS ABOUT HIS GAME I LIKE

NOMAD
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NOMAD
28 days 4 hours ago

THE RECAP FOR ALL YOU WRITERS MUST BE A MAJOR CHALLENGE —-WE APPRECIATE YOU SUFFERING THRU ” RELIVING THE PAIN “—-IT IS APPRECIATED BY ALL !!————BELIEVE BUCK AND I ARE “ECHOING ” EACH OTHER ——-TRADE HOOD / BURKS BEFORE THEIR VALUE LESSENS EVEN MORE —–LOVE / T.T. (AS GOOD AS THEIR TALENTS MIGHT BE ) WILL NOT MAKE THIS TEAM COMPETITIVE —-J.R./ AM I MISSING ANYONE ——THE PROBLEM IS WHO HAS THE LEVERAGE IN TRYING TO MOVE THESE PLAYERS –CAVS OR THE INTERESTED TEAM(S)——IT WILL HAVE TO BE CONTENDING TEAMS THAT ARE AFTER THE SAME PLAYER (S) FOR THE CAVS TO DEMAND / GET FAIR VALUE IN RETURN ——THE TIME LEADING UP TO THE TRADE DEADLINE MIGHT BE THE REMAINING INTERESTING THING WITH THE CAVS THE REST OF THE SEASON ——ANTE DESERVES THE MIN’S HE IS GETTING EVEN WHEN PLAYERS RETURN HEALTHY ……………NEED TO WORK ON THAT “WEIGHTED PONG BALL “

Chris K
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Chris K
28 days 4 hours ago
EG, thanks for doing the dirty work on this one–so many more meaningful moments were spent in my house without the concern for this team right now. It was nice to hear Sexton might have played halfway decently. As I was sifting through stats a day ago, I was surprised to find that the WORST player in the league for WINS produced in Real Plus/Minus is Collin Sexton, who at -3.11 is one of thirty-one (of the 475 total players) to have a negative RPM WIN. In fact, he is almost a win and a half worse than the next worst (Kevin Knox). I know he thrice a victim (rookie, point guard, bad team), but it would be great if we could wish for more than his survival at the season’s end. He has had a few recent games where he has found teammates, but his lack of assists troubles me greatly. Then again, how bad is this team defensively? Three of the five worst RPM defenders are Cavs: Osman, -3.39; Clarkson, -3.81; Sexton, -4.26. Trae Young (-3.77) and Knox (-3.63) are the others, FWIW. Scary to think those three have shared a lot of time together at the back… Read more »
Jason
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Jason
28 days 5 hours ago

Rockets trade $$ & Melo to Bulls a day after they waived Nunnaly (who they signed to a 10 day after House turned them down) so they could sign Fareid.

MikeO
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MikeO
28 days 5 hours ago

I was at work getting my ass absolutely kicked all day, so I didn’t see the game, but I’m encouraged hearing that Magic may sign Melo. He’s the missing piece, and he still has a lot to show those youngsters. Go Melo!

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