Recap: Celtics 123, Cavs 103 (Or, The 21 Turnovers Killed Them, Not Scary Terry)

It’s rare that covering the Cavs is a treat these days. To help make the games I must watch less painful, I’ve been making sure to pick up a great six pack and some take out. Today was no different. I grabbed some Columbus Brewing Insane Wanderer Volume III, which is a top notch hop forward IPA with a bitter taste that comes on slowly and lingers. It’s also 7.4%. Any Cavs game beers these days have to be at least 7%. And, I also picked up some $5.00 Giant Eagle sushi. A spicy tuna roll and a Philly roll. I even grabbed the brown rice ones to be a little healthy while treating myself. They weren’t as good as the beer and were sorta cardboard tasting, but some sushi is better than none. Usually, the Cavs don’t beat out the food or drinks at any point in an evening.

Tonight they did. For one quarter at least.

The Cavs actually started the first quarter playing the Celtics pretty evenly. They were manning up and running Boston from the 3-line. They had a modern looking shot chart taking just two shots from the dreaded mid-range zone, while the Celts routinely settled for mid-range jumpers. Despite Terry Rozier going a perfect 6-6 from the field in the first for 16, the Cavs won the period 30-27.

Terry would go on to lead the Celtics in scoring with 26 on 9-13 shooting to go with eight boards and six assists. And, to think I was worried about Kyrie Irving. Ante Zizic had six in the first and rolled hard to the rack every chance he got and Jordan Clarkson canned two 3s as part of his eight in the quarter.

Ante Zizic had a strong night getting 19 points and eight boards. Jordan Clarkson had 14 points and went 2-9 from 3-point land.

After the first, the Cavs dropped the ball figuratively and literally with their play. They became less palatable than my sushi and, ironically, they left the same slow coming and lingering bitter taste in my mouth as my beer choice tonight. In the second quarter, they turned the ball over eight times and it led to 12 points. They would finish the night with 21 turnovers that led to 27 points.

The Celtics ran the ball every single chance they got and hit six 3s. They had a ten point run midway through the quarter to go up nine and they never had to look back. When the Cavs actually were able to set their defense, the Celts just whipped the ball until it found the proper man. In the end, they outscored the Cavs 38-20 to head into the locker room up 15.

Ante Zizic had the Cavs play of the year though in the quarter with a beautiful drop step to his off-hand for a driving dunk.

The rest of the evening didn’t get much better. In the third, the Cavs managed to play the Celts to a standstill, but they couldn’t cut the lead to anything less than twelve. And, after they started the fourth letting the Celtics grab seven straight points, there was no hope for a come back.

When the night was over, Cedi Osman ended up leading the Cavs in scoring. He was 8-11 for 26 points and hit six of his seven deep heaves. He didn’t make me remember anything specific, but he was a sustained threat from deep, which is a step in the right direction for him .

Jaylen Brown had 23 points on 8-12 shooting to go with six boards and Jayson Tatum had 15 points on 7-16 shooting.

Gripes

1. The Cavs continue to not take care of the ball. They can’t turn the ball over 21 times. It led to 27 points for Boston. Now, imagine if they Cavs were able to cut the number of turnovers in half? Then they might have had a manageable game towards the end.

2. Cleveland also had issues stopping straight one-on-one drives. Tatum and Brown were able to get to the rim at will all evening. Tatum had all of his makes at the basket.

3. Larry Drew needs to continue to figure out an offense that can generate reasonable looks for a team with no good one-on-one scorers. The turnovers are partially a result of players not having a good idea of where the ball actually needs to go.

4. The Cavs limited the Celts to just 25 3s, but they hit 12 of them. This was the result of their porous one-on-one defense. Guys had to help far too many times, which left Boston wide open from deep.

5. Despite Gordan Hayward still being a step behind, he poured in 18 points. The Cavs bailed him out sending him to the line a ton. He went 6-7 from the charity stripe.

Hypes

1. Zizic is looking better and better. He has a very old school post game; not one of his shots tonight came from outside of the paint. He can be a real factor and might look good in bench units if and when this team improves. The next step in his development is learning to hold onto the ball in traffic. He had five turnovers tonight, many of which came when he caught the ball rolling to the lane with guys swiping down on him.

2. Collin Sexton had 16 points on 6-15 shooting. He had more turnovers than assists. However, he took just one mid-ranger tonight. And, he showed he can finish at the rack. He’s learning.

3. Cedi had a career high scoring game this evening. He did it without looking flashy and it came within the flow of everything. If he can consistently hit 3s, the rest of his game will open up.

4. Alec Burks filled out the box score with 10 points, nine rebounds, and six assists. That’s semi-close to a triple-double. He’s becoming impressive with his assists. He hits guys on the break. He can run a pick and roll and enter the ball into the post. And, he can even make the LeBron style look off a guy and hit a 3-point shooter that’s open.

5. The Cavs face the Heat on Friday. It’s going to be Dwyane Wade‘s last game ever at the Q.

 

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Vintage
Guest
Vintage
25 days 3 hours ago

Hopefully the rebuild is only this year and next. The 2020 cap situation is currently very good. If Love is still fringe all-star level, Nance/Sexton/Osman continue to develop, and we get a star out of this year’s draft, could be an attractive option for a big name free agent. Hell, maybe LeBron will come back soon after.

I hope Altman doesn’t sacrifice this flexibility at the trade deadline.

Dan
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Dan
25 days 4 hours ago

. I worry that the only legitimate starters on an nba team that we currently have are Love and TT. Everyone else looks at best – role players off the bench.
To me this highlights the dangers of trading either of those assets in a rebuild. We gave up Kyrie to get Sexton – who maybe projects as a scoring threat off the bench as a backup combo guard. Trading players who are legitimate starters for picks is a terrible idea. Each year the draft only produces a couple starters and a couple role players.

Jason
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Jason
25 days 1 hour ago

I think in terms if the current roster, you are correct. However, I think LNJ is VERY close to starter level. If not there. Of course, all 3 are bigs so only 2 can start at one time.

However, the hope is Sexton & Cedi develop into starter level players. We still have half a season to go. IF those two develop, plus Love & TT/LNJ, we have 5 starter quality players, 4 of which can play together. Add one in this draft, and that is 5.

And we do have some good reserves. Delly. Nwaba. Clarkson. Plus Henson & whomever of LNJ/TT does not start and we have 10 functional NBA players. Plus Zizic.

Add in a 3rd PG, some more shooting/playmaking, and a combo forward, and we all of a sudden have more playable guys than can suit up.

Lot of ifs. And space for a bad contract or two (2019-20 season only) to accumulate assets.

Vintage
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Vintage
25 days 3 hours ago

But the way the league is, the draft the only real chance a city like Cleveland has in order to get top end talent. A LeBron type talent choosing to come back to Cleveland via free agency is a once in a lifetime thing. Trading for a star would require giving up the legitimate starters + picks.

The draft, save for the occasional couple-few picks, per year is a crapshoot. Maximizing the number of picks is the best way to find promising young talent that you hope the organization can develop. I’m okay with the occasional miss (which I think is way too early to classify Sexton as) if the Cavs can eventually get legitimate starting talent via the draft.

Now do I trust the Cavs organization to actual draft well and/or develop said players…? Those are two entirely different debates.

John B
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John B
25 days 2 hours ago

Yeah the last part is what I am afraid of. I wouldn’t trade Love for a couple second rounders plus a long shot dev player. Not worth it. There would have to be a first rounder involved either late lottery, or more probably mid to late first rounder plus dev player.

John B
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John B
25 days 3 hours ago

Nance can be a legit starter I think. Especially if he continues to make threes. Not sure Love is tradeable for anything worth getting back at this point with that contract.

I probably wouldn’t trade love anyway unless it were to a team with a pick that has a chance to be a late lottery pick and if we could get a raw high ceiling dev player back. You do need some ok pieces to help younger guys develop and progress. Being a perennial losing team without progress is probably not a great solution. We will be bad next year anyway even if he does bounce back because we have few other positive impact veterans.

NOMAD
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NOMAD
25 days 4 hours ago

THAT SUCKS —–DIPO JUST A GREAT PERSON / PLAYER / COMPETITOR —-HOPE HE FULLY RECOVERS !!

MikeO
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MikeO
25 days 10 hours ago

Ugh…

John B
Guest
John B
25 days 6 hours ago

Gah. Ruptured quad tendon. That doesn’t seem like a common one. Hope he recovers to full strength.

JMay
Editor
25 days 9 hours ago

Same thing that happened to Tony Parker right? Not a good injury. Feel bad for the guy.

JRL
Guest
JRL
25 days 5 hours ago

This truly sucks. Kid was putting together a great back to back season.

NOMAD
Guest
NOMAD
25 days 10 hours ago

ESPN HAS SOME HIGHLIGHTS OF MURRAY STATE’S JA MORANT —-HAVE TO AGREE WITH EVIL –IF CAVS FALL TO 3-4 THINK YOU HAVE TO CONSIDER THIS KID——–ALOT OF MEDIA PEOPLE STILL FAVOR REDDISH OVER ZION / BARRETT ?——OPINIONS/ THOUGHTS

John B
Guest
John B
25 days 6 hours ago

Anyone that favors Reddish over either Zion or Barrett should lose their press credentials. Not convinced he is even the third best player in the draft. Zion is on another tier from Barrett, and Barrett is on another tier from Reddish.

Morant looks really good, and I could see taking him third or fourth.

Jason
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Jason
25 days 6 hours ago

No way we take a PG. No. Way.

Zion or a wing.

John B
Guest
John B
25 days 6 hours ago

Depends on if you think Sexton is a lost cause by the end of the year.

JRL
Guest
JRL
25 days 5 hours ago

Unless Sexton completely deviates from where he is now, he won’t be considered a lost cause.

He is a ROOKIE on a sh!t team. Extremely hard to quantify progress on such a situation. He needs 2-3 years for anyone to claim they know is he’s a starter, bench or a bust.

John B
Guest
John B
25 days 5 hours ago

Sure. He is also pretty godawful and has a much much longer way to go than most rookies.

Just saying Morant could be special. He is 6’3″ with Rus Westbrook type of athleticism. I reckon he has a better handle than Sexton. Granted he is a sophomore.

Hard to tell his ceiling though because of his competition. They lost close games to both Alabama and Auburn, but he scored 40 on 16-29 against bama with 9 boards and 5 assists. Scored 25 on 7-14 against Auburn with 8 boards and 7 assists. Averaging 24.6 ppg on 54.4% from field, 34.2 from 3, 80.6% FT, 6 boards, 10.6 assists.

Is a turnover machine though, likely because of his role in their offense. They have a nothing schedule too other than the bama Auburn games. Hopefully they make the tourney. Probably could tell more if he had a great game against a 1 or 2 seed.

At this point I wouldn’t take him for the cavs because we could get one of the wings after Zion or Barrett. But if he had a spectacular tournament with a couple upsets I might change my mind.

John B
Guest
John B
25 days 5 hours ago

Should also mention Bama is no slouch this year. They have had some nice wins against Kentucky and Ole Miss and just barely lost to number one ranked Tennessee at Tennessee. Scoring 40 against them is nice.

NOMAD
Guest
NOMAD
25 days 10 hours ago

ALSO I WISH THE CAVS WOULD RUN SOME ‘SEMBLENCE ” OF AN OFFENSE—INSTEAD OF DRIBBLE / STAND/ SET A PICK / SET ANOTHER PICK AND LET’S SEE WHAT HAPPENS —–VERY LITTLE BALL / PLAYER MOVEMENT —ESPECIALLY OPPOSITE OF THE BALL WHERE NORMALLY YOU CAN CATCH THE DEFENSE ‘SLEEPING “——ELIMINATE THE T.O’S AND I STILL THINK WE LOSE –BUT IT WOULD HAVE BEEN MORE COMPETITIVE / / ENJOYABLE GAME

NOMAD
Guest
NOMAD
25 days 12 hours ago

GORDON’S REACTION VERY SIMILAR TO LEBRON’S LAST YEAR WITH J.R. —-AH THE GOOD OL DAYS : )——–DAVE I HAVE TRIED SEVERAL COLUMBUS BEERS / WILL HAVE TO TRY THAT ONE—–ACTUALLY DUE TO WE SUPPLY THEM WITH A SMALL AMOUNT OF HOPS–WE WERE ABLE TO TOUR THE FACALITY —HAVE A FEW BEERS WITH THE OWNER —GREAT GUY !!

ChrisKorvalier
Guest
ChrisKorvalier
25 days 12 hours ago

The Anonymous below was me.

Nate Smith
Admin
25 days 11 hours ago

No worries.

Nate Smith
Admin
25 days 12 hours ago

John B
Guest
John B
25 days 4 hours ago

Saw this last night. Mind boggling. Makes JR play in the finals look like an everyday occurrence. Not sure I’ve ever seen something like this. Just a complete brain freeze. Somebody check PJ’s blood pressure and ask him if he smells burnt toast.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
25 days 12 hours ago

Baffling.

Nate Smith
Admin
25 days 12 hours ago

Fun recap, David.

NOMAD
Guest
NOMAD
25 days 13 hours ago

IS HOOD INTENTIONALLY PLAYING THAT BAD TO “SCREW ” THE CAVS AND LOWER IS VALUE—-GEEZ—-TRADE BURKS WHILE HIS VALUE IS STILL SOMEWHAT HIGH / —-ANTE’S PROVED WITH CONSITENT MIN’S HE CAN CONTRIBUTE—-YES HIS GAME IS OLD SCHOOL —-HE NEEDS TO BE ABLE TO CONSISTENTLY HIT ELBOW/ SHORT CORNER JUMPERS TO UPGRADE HIS GAME / GET IN THE WEIGHT ROOM MORE –GET STRONGER / MORE ATHLETIC / HE IS IN A WAY THE ‘ LAST CARD ‘ IN THE KYRIE TRADE

NOMAD
Guest
NOMAD
25 days 13 hours ago

WOW I AM GETTING INTO “EVIL STATURE –PREDICTING “—I PREDICTED 123 —104 —I NEED TO GO TO VEGAS !!!———ANY WORD ON DIPO ——DOESN’T LOOK OR SOUND GOOD

Jason
Guest
Jason
25 days 13 hours ago

Good work on the cap.

I wonder what Cedi, Burks, and Sexton would look like if they had an offensive fulcrum (Love) to play off of. Heck, even LNJ in the high post. Even Hood would look better.

Just some structure and sense of what to do with the ball.

Every time I convince myself Burks must go, he puts together a string of stocking stuffer games that convinces me he could be OK for the right price.

JudeElysium
Guest
JudeElysium
25 days 11 hours ago
I just keep trying to picture Love, Cedi, Sexton, Nance +1 Lottery rookie next year. Then we still have a hell of a bench with Delly, Clarkson (the JC that actually passes when playing with Delly), Burks/Hood, Nwaba, Thompson, and ZzzzZzzc. We are one transcendent wing away from being a great team. If only be could find a multi skilled SF that can carry a franchise and be stellar on a nightly basis…I bet we’d even get to the Finals! Heh. Seriously though, as rough as this season has been, and as much as we’ve been worse than I expected, we’ve also accelerated our rebuild more than I could’ve expected: Cedi hasn’t had the compete breakout year I was wishing for, but he’s made multiple strides and shown a ton of different skills tart have succeeded at an NBA level. Sexton is a better jump shooter than I expected and he’s cutting down the midrange crap. Zizic stopped looking so clumsy in the NBA and has got his % and reb back up. Thompson cane speeding back to reminding us why we used to love him and actually has value again. Nance found a reliable 3pt stroke, has become one… Read more »
JudeElysium
Guest
JudeElysium
25 days 11 hours ago
JC’S scoring imagination is becoming an actual asset when playing with a creative passer like Delly that actually helps JC reduce his tunnel vision. We have Delly again, who while never an all star, has shown the ability to be a consistent two way force for making our bench work. Burks has shown a much more versatile skillset than I imagined, either upping his trade value or giving us a reason to want to keep him around. Even Hood has had multiple games this year that helped me understand why so many people were high on him. I’m still not sold as a believer in Hood yet, and he has games like last night that remind me why I was so low on him, but he does inspire some hope in me that by the end of the season I might be truly happy we had him. On top of all that, Blossom game has shown at least the floor of an end of the bench/2way contract guy that can step in and help during injuries and possibly grow into an NBA player. And Payne has shown enough passing, shooting, and swagger to keep me interested at the possibility that… Read more »
Jason
Guest
Jason
25 days 7 hours ago

Optimistic take, but I do share some of it, particularly on individual players.

Saw that Love practiced today. Non-contact. And a blurb on LNJ returning Friday? We could be getting closer. Do not rush anyone back.

We have 5 games left before the deadline (2/7?): Mia, at Chi, Wash, Dal, Bos. 4 at home. With 2 or 3 days off bewtween the last couple games.

Hopefully some practice time and chance to showcase a player or two.

JudeElysium
Guest
JudeElysium
25 days 11 hours ago

Or if we bottom out or tank next year…then we own the rest of our 1st rounders going forward and have another year of hoping fire growth with our young guys and anyone we pick up.

It sucks to go from the Finals to the bottom, but I like to believe we are stepping on the gas to blow through this rebuild and we could be back in the competition sooner than last time. Two years of bottom dwelling would be a hell of a lot better than 4…or especially better than whatever the hell Orlando, Sacramento, and Phoenix have been doing for god knows how long now.

Ok, sorry for the rambling. I’m done now. Just trying to shine some hope on a cold January in Cleveland.

Nate Smith
Admin
25 days 12 hours ago

They could trade him and still sign him again in the summer.

JMay
Editor
25 days 15 hours ago

Thanks for the recap, David. FYI, the Sexton drive you meant to link to is just another Tatum drive.

At least the first quarter was fun, right? It’s hard to picture what this team would be without injuries and with a coaching staff that had a clue starting in the summer. There is talent under all the dirt and its good to see Cedi showing strides. If his shot from outside becomes more reliable his growth should start to become very pronounced.

I’m glad Zizic is playing well. But I still have soured a bit on him. Last season his FG% saved him and when he is making 60%+ every night, he’s definitely useful to have out there. But anything less and I don’t think he’s all that viable for more than 5-10 minutes in normal circumstances. The NBA unfortunately neutered Zizic’s play style. I’ve heard the arguments for him, I just don’t see it long term.

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