Recap: Cleveland 104, Chicago 101 (the Burks of the Game)

The Cavs took a wild route to their 10th win of the season, surrendering an eight point fourth quarter lead before scoring on a wild offensive rebound and jump hook by Alec Burks to retake the lead with 17 seconds left, before two big stops and two big free throws by the Cavs put a lid on things for the Bulls.

Larry Drew wanted this one badly, and played Dellavedova down the stretch over the struggling (to put it nicely) Collin Sexton. Delly was a game high +10 with 16-4-5 in 22 minutes: not too shabby. But the real bench star was Jordan Clarkson who played one of his best all-around games as a Cav with 18-7-6 on just 11 shots. He was running the offense and finding open players with regularity. Larry Nance didn’t score but despite just one assist to go along with his five boards, got his teammates to the free throw line more than once. Deng Adele looked like a real honest-to-God NBA player with two big threes and an even bigger block in the early fourth quarter. If you’re counting, that was 40 big bench points.

As for the starters, Ante Zizic played big and spry with a career high in rebounds in his 8-14-3 line. Cedi dropped 17 on rim runs, threes, drives, cuts, and the occasional post up. I said during the game, that he has the chops and variety to be a 22+ ppg scorer in this league. He and the starters struggled on D, surrendering 75 points and 42 rebounds to the Bulls’ starters. Lauri Markennen looked especially sharp from deep where he was 4-7 while Wayne Seldon (who I’ve always liked in Summer leagues), scored 15 on just eight shots.

This game was a back and forth affair throughout, with the teams trading mini runs, and cringeworthy stretches of frenetic yet incompetent basketball, that made my neck strain like I was watching a tennis match. Still, the ball was humming at times for Cleveland who scored 39 field goals on 26 assists, and it was punctuated by the stellar play of Alec Burks, who was the Cavs most consistent defender (and played down the stretch over Clarkson). Burks went 18-7-8 with just two turnovers and oh, a game-winning shot. I hope for his sake and our sake that this stretch of good play gets him moved to a team that could use a 3-position guard/wing. I’ve been super impressed with him, and hoping he’s over the injury bug.

Not so good were the starting point guards for both squads. Sexton was 3-10, and had consistent bouts of “I gotta get mine.” Choosing to go on crazy drives or hijack the offense to put up that 20-footer that might destroy my TV before season’s end. But the truly groanworthy was Sexton coming out of a timeout and then dribbling the ball off his foot to set up an Lauri Markennan and-1 at the 5:30 mark of the fourth. Delly came in 45 seconds later.

I tweeted after that Larry Drew was inserting Sexton (the tanking GOAT) to preserve the loss. It was so apparent that Chicago had zero respect for him in the fourth. After the Cavs went up eight when Clarkson hit a tricky stepback, Nance fed Zizic for a layup on the prettiest play of the game, and then JC fed Adel for a trey, Chicago called a TO. When they came out, they tilted their entire defense away from Sexton to double team Clarkson at the wing: a tactic that resulted in a three minute scoreless drought and let the Bulls get back in it.

Thank God Drew put Delly back in, and that Kris Dunn (2-8 on the game) and Zach LaVine (17-12-2) are anti-clutch. LaVine answered with his own dribbling turnover in crunch time. Dunn missed a layup that would’ve put Chicago up one after Burks’ bucket, and then LaVine ignored a WIDE OPEN Wayne Seldon on an inbound play seemingly designed to get Seldon the ball, as Zach iso-jacked up a brick against Delly as the buzzer sounded to preserve the Cavs’ victory.

I say thank God because I hate rooting for losses. It goes against every fiber of my being. I find the whole concept of two teams trying and not trying to outdo each other to be crappier to be utter comedy. Yes, the team with the worse record can finish no worse than fifth (as opposed to sixth), but trying to lose destroys our souls and misses the entire point of athletic competition. Nice win, coach Drew.

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NOMAD
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NOMAD
20 days 8 hours ago

HATE TO SOUND SO MEAN—BUT WITH SOME OF HIS PLAY / PLAYING IT COULD BE CALLED —-” BONEHEAD ” NIGHT

NOMAD
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NOMAD
20 days 8 hours ago

THANKS MIKEO —–WOW IT IS GETTING FRIGGIN COLD HERE IN NORTHERN OHIO—-EVIL SEND US SOME WARMTH FROM SUNNY CALIFORNIA ——-HOPE THE CAVS SHOOTING IS HOTTER THAN THE OUTSIDE TEMP—-CAN’T SEE A BIG CROWD THERE TONIGHT

NOMAD
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NOMAD
20 days 9 hours ago

HAS ANYONE SEEN THIS CULVER KID FROM TEXAS TECH PLAY—–SOME HAVE HIM GOING IN TOP 5 / DRAFT / WING PLAYER —-MIGHT STILL BE GROWING

MikeO
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MikeO
20 days 9 hours ago

Seen a little, good 3 and D guy, not much of a playmaker yet, but has been a riser…I think top five is a little high. Maybe someone you look at if you trade down…but what do I know…

NOMAD
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NOMAD
20 days 10 hours ago

THANKS NATE FOR RESPONDING WITH THE INFO

NOMAD
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NOMAD
20 days 12 hours ago

THE “TAIL IS DEFINATELY WAGGING THE DOG “—-JUST THINK THE PLAYERS BETTER BE CAREFUL IN ” DEMANDING ‘——-ARE FANS GOING TO SUPPORT A HANDFUL OF SUPER TEAMS WITH A LEGITIMATE CHANCE TO GET TO / WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP WHILE THE OTHER REMAINING FRANCHISES ARE JUST “FODDER ‘—-LOALTY ONLY GOES SO FAR —–YES THE BROWNS SOLD OUT OVER THE 20+ MEAGER YEARS—BUT WE ARE ONLY TALKING WHAT 8 HOME GAMES —-COMPARED TO 41 AND IN TERRIBLE WEATHER ……..JUST SAYING …….DOES ANYONE KNOW WHAT THE NBA T.V. RATINGS ARE THIS YEAR —–WOULD BE INTERESTED TO KNOW

NOMAD
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NOMAD
20 days 13 hours ago

THIS IS WHAT IS TURNING ME ( AM SURE ALOT MORE FANS ALSO ) OFF WITH THE NBA —- SUPERSTARS MORE OR LESS ‘ HANDCUFFING ‘ TEAMS / OWNERS TO MAKE BETTER DEALS —–WHY WOULD ANY OTHER TEAMS ( CELTICS / KNICKS/ ETC ) TRADE FOR DAVIS / GIVE UP A HELL OF ALOT JUST TO SEE HIM LEAVE—–THIS SO CALLED “AAU DILEMNA ” THAT PRESENTLY THRIVES IN THE NBA HAS GOT TO BE ADDDRESSED / FIXED

MikeO
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MikeO
20 days 12 hours ago

These star players are making such extremely lucrative contracts that it’s not harsh to expect them to live up to their end of the deals. Contracts work both ways. I know I said something like this months ago, and someone here hilariously called me a pro owner honk or some such, which is a huge pantload. Contracts work both ways — both sides can go ahead and man up and abide by them. I don’t really care what Rich Paul or Klutch wants. Nobody makes guys sign long term deals.

Jason
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Jason
20 days 13 hours ago

With a win last night, Atlanta now has 16 on the season. Closer to Memphis & Orlando’s 20 than the 11 of Phoenix & Chicago. Young with 26/4/8 with 1 TO and +8 at the Clippers.

Anyway, until they are again closer to Chi/PHX/NY/CLE than Memphis, Orlando, Wash, & Detroit, I am kicking them out of Zion league. I mean, do we even get to 16 wins?

10 = Cavs, Knicks
11 = Suns, Bulls

West coast cav
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West coast cav
20 days 23 hours ago

I live in LA, but I’m certainly no Lakers fan. That said I hate the Warriors so much that I’m rooting for AD to go anywhere where he can beat them. If it’s with LBJ in LA then the hell with it. Go forth and prosper. I don’t really have much affection for Kyrie either and the Celtics, ughh. So better with our hometown kid than anywhere else.

Jason
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Jason
20 days 22 hours ago

Agreed. I grew up a Dr J/Sixer fan, so I do not have a ton of love for LA, losing 2/3 finals to them in the 80s. But I hate the Celtics more and rooted for Magic & Kareem vs Bird/McHale/Ainge.

So I was not thrilled when Kyrie firced his way out & went to Boston. & LBJ to LA. Nor do I like the LBJ/Rich Paul/Klutch machinations in all this.

But I cannot stand Boston or the Dubs, and if the best shot at taking them both down is LBJ+AD (+ Ky in the off-season?) then so be it. Go Lakers.

John B
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John B
21 days 2 hours ago

Not sure I have seen in my lifetime (didn’t see Jordan, Jabbar, Shaq, Wilt, anyone before the mid 90s, etc) anyone dominate like Zion has in college. Don’t think he is a better prospect than AD or Durant, but wowser. He definitely wouldn’t be shooting near 70% if he averaged 22 ppg on that UT team, especially not in that era.

AD would be interesting hypothetical if they magically could switch teams, but AD was so dominant defensively and more fundamentally sound, I suspect Duke might be even better with him. Kentucky did have some great 3pt shooting albeit on fewer attempts in that era. But Zion’s production and efficiency are ridiculous even for this era.

John B
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John B
21 days 2 hours ago

I sort of agree with Pippen that he should maybe shut it down, hire a full time trainer, shooting coach, and skills trainer and just wait for the draft. He is almost so dominant in the minutes he plays that it seems like a needless injury risk. Playing in today’s college game at Duke just isn’t really going to benefit him more than he is risking injury. Qualifier. Not a Duke fan. Not a hater. But as I have said before, like Durant, this is one of maybe 7-8 guys in the history of the nba that just doesn’t need to be playing the college competition he currently is. If he was on a lesser team we might be able to learn something or he might be able to prove definitively he is a KD level prospect, but in the current situation, what else can he prove? Even Davis improved a ton over his lone season. Right now, it just seems too easy for Zion . Plus maybe allow Reddish and Barrett to show more, at least Reddish.

MikeO
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MikeO
21 days 5 hours ago

The Pels have a terrible FO (in the long term, far worse than the Cavs), so they’ll probably make some terrible deal which steers the franchise into mediocrity for the rest of our lives. So there’s that.

Jason
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Jason
21 days 1 hour ago

Nah. What they will do is p!ss & moan about tampering and timelines and acting tough.

Meanwhile Paul will let teams know AD prefers LA and will not re-sign elsewhere. Once that gets out, there will be no godfather deals from LA or elsewhere.

Whereas now they could get 4-5 serviceable/good players + 2-3 firsts from LA or possibly a godfather offer from the Knicks.

MikeO
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MikeO
20 days 19 hours ago

They’ll do all that, and then make a terrible deal which lands them in mediocrity for the rest of our lives.

The Pelicans are barely an NBA franchise after Davis is gone, and I have no idea what their ownership wants, but I have a feeling they would rather put a garbage team on the court than bottom out. The Lakers ‘prospects’ will certainly aid them in the garbage team part of the plan.

John B
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John B
21 days 1 hour ago

Yep. The leverage of an agent who reps the best player in the game, is his close friend, and has close, but legal ties to that player’s business players should not be underestimated. Whether Rich Paul and LBJ violate the CBA doesn’t matter. It isn’t provable and won’t be punished. Leverage is everything. Anyone who Rich Paul reps that LBJ might want or who is on his team has leverage whether it is actually overtly wielded or not. Telling other teams they won’t sign isn’t in violation. I believe telling LA they would resign is a violation. Somebody correct me if this is wrong.

Brilliant use of the CBA over the past 10 years. More power to them.

MikeO
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MikeO
21 days 5 hours ago

Windhorst:

“According to Windhorst, who is as plugged in as any reporter in the NBA, if the Knicks were willing to include their unprotected first-round pick in a package, they could ‘put together a competitive offer that would help the Pelicans do a rebuild and they could get their hands on Anthony Davis in the next 10 days.’

“Windhorst added: ‘I think New York would be one of the few teams Anthony Davis would be willing to sign an extension with. [The Knicks] are sort of the quiet lurker here.’”

The Knicks unprotected first is a good piece, and Davis, Zingis, and Kyrie would be a solid foundation for them. Would turn them around quickly.

MikeO
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MikeO
21 days 11 hours ago

If I were the Pels, I really wouldn’t want any of the Lakers ‘young stars’. They are all overrated ‘just guys’, at least to this point, with Kuzma being a scorer, I guess, but I see him as a betetr Clarkson, really. I’m sure there will be resistance from them to gifting the Lakers another star, too, so I just don’t see it happening.

Celtics seems more likely, but so much of it depends on where Davis might sign long term. He should go to Denver…they can win titles there.

JMay
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21 days 12 hours ago

Good recap. Glad for the win. Also, it puts us at 10 wins just in time for February. After my early season outlandish prediction that this Cavs team could actually be good (based off of the idea that the Cavs would actually implement some sort of system now that LeBron was gone), I quickly revised to a prediction of 10 wins by February. They made it! Go Cavs!

Jason
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Jason
21 days 12 hours ago

Breaking: AD tells the Pels he will not re-sign and wants out. Trade deadline just got more interesting. Big chance for the Lakers.

Jason
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Jason
21 days 12 hours ago

Agree on John B’s Sexton take. For any young player. Learn to play the right way or sit. Especially during crunch time.

Plus, you cannot risk losing the other guys.

NOMAD
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NOMAD
21 days 12 hours ago

MAN THE MAVS HAVE GOT THEMSELVES A PLAYER—DONCIC—–35 PT / TRIPLE –DOUBLE——IT IS NOT SO MUCH IF WE HAD ( AND WE DIDN’T ) A CHANCE TO TRADE FOR HIM ON DRAFT NIGHT –BUT MORE THAT THE NETS PLAYED BETTER BALL / HAD MORE WINS THAN ANYONE THOUGHT THEY WOULD / SCREWED OUR DRAFT SLOT

Jason
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Jason
21 days 12 hours ago

Half of NBA GMs are borderline incompetent.

You could see from 1,000 miles away that Doncic was the best player in the draft by a mile. Yet he gets picked 3rd and traded.

GMs favor elite athleticism over elite understanding & winning. Some of the all-time greats are NOT elite athletes (Magic, Bird, Duncan, West, Curry, Isiah, Nash, Stockton, Frazier, etc). Especially guys who are running the offense.

buck turgidson
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buck turgidson
21 days 2 hours ago

at least the cavs did not have the opportunity to screw up in the top of the draft.. hmm.. did they screw up with #8? just askin

Charlie E
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Charlie E
21 days 11 hours ago

Yes yes yes.

It’s a little tricky because sometimes elite skills at the college level don’t translate to the NBA, especially if you can’t get yourself open and get your shot off.

But doing it in the Euro league should have been enough for everybody.

Jason
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Jason
21 days 7 hours ago

Plus he tore up the World Championships in Slovenia’s win going head to head with Zinger, Gasol, and all the rest of the NBA Euro’s.

That is what sold me. I watched him excel vs other NBA guys. He was their #2 guy behind Dragic and was #1 some nights.

Miles ahead of the college kids.

NOMAD
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NOMAD
21 days 12 hours ago

CHARLIE E –VERY WELL PUT

NOMAD
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NOMAD
21 days 12 hours ago

THAT IS WHAT REALLY FRISTRATES ME ( AND I AM SURE THE PLAYERS ALSO ) WITH SEXTON—“GOTTA GET MINE ‘ ATTITUDE INSTEAD OF JUST PLAYING WITHIN THE FLOW OF THE GAME—TAKE WHAT THE DEFENSE GIVES YOU —-IF YOUR STAT LINE IS 3 /5 SHOOOTING / 4- 5 ASSISTS AND REBOUNDS / 1 T.O. / AND SOLID DEFENSE —I WILL TAKE THOSE STATS —-DON’T TRY TO BE A SUPERSTAR / JUST A SOLID STARTING PT GD

Charlie E
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Charlie E
21 days 13 hours ago

It certainly seems to me like worrying a lot about the record as long as you’re in the bottom 4 is a waste. At present the Cavs are 6.5 games behind Atlanta for the 5th draft spot, so no danger. Moving from the worst to second worst team only changes your average position by .2 (3.7 to 3.9). You are going to need real luck to land the top pick. Losing more games will not help you.

The MOST likely outcome is one of the 1-4 picks, but the #5 is almost as likely.

If you want Zion, then you should be praying for Nick Gilbert, not losing to the Bulls.

http://www.tankathon.com/pick_odds

John B
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John B
21 days 13 hours ago

Yep. As long as you finish with worst three records, wins don’t matter. And those odds are poor anyway

Jason
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Jason
21 days 12 hours ago

I disagree. You guys are looking at it as Zion or bust.

The top pick (worst record) only has a 52% chance to be in the top 4. You pick 5th half the time. If you start 4th, odds are good you are looking 7th or 8th.

With Warren & Ayton out in Phoenix & Carter, Hutchinson, & Valentine in Chicago, and Zinger in NY, we are going to be the healthiest in Zion league soon.

John B
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John B
21 days 12 hours ago

Fair point.

John B
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John B
21 days 13 hours ago

Nice recap. Glad you got to recap a win again. I think the benching of Sexton could actually be a good thing for his development. Could be that the best thing for a young point guard that has little feel for the game is to observe someone that actually knows how the game should be played and how to run an offense, eg Delly.

Don’t think it does any good to keep running him out there if he keeps repeating mistakes. Will just reinforce bad habits. At some point he has to learn the right way to play. Also a message to Sexton that he should not just be looking to score is very necessary in my opinion. Hopefully he is mature enough to take it the right way and make changes in his approach. We’ll see I suppose.

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