The Cavaliers managed to come away with the victory against the Brooklyn Nets even though they tried their darnedest to accurately portray Tony Romo's Thanksgiving Day performance. The Cavs racked up a grand total of nineteen turnovers on the night, thirteen of which came from the starting lineup.
An incredibly ill-timed J.R. Smith foul on a Joe Johnson three point attempt allowed the Nets to tie up the game. Luckily the Cavs have LeBron James and the Nets don't. His game winning sky hook with one second left sealed the deal and preserved the Cavs undefeated record at home.
The feel of the game can be captured fairly perfectly in this gif:
There isn't a whole lot that can be taken away from this game. The Cavs didn't have their legs under them for the bulk of the night, but while the shots weren't falling they had no problem shooting themselves in the foot. This is one of those games where nobody feels good about the outcome. But I guess on the bright side, the Cavs didn't appear lifeless or disengaged in this one. Disjointed? Yes. Were there an incredible amount of mental mistakes? Yes. But the effort was there, even if it was often misplaced and that was a big reason for why they were able to come away with the win.
- I know Timofey Mozgov had off-season knee surgery, but tonight was another night where it appeared like the procedure was to amputate his fingers. I do understand the rationale behind trying to feed him the ball and get him going, but it really wasn't paying dividends tonight. Last season Mozgov got a lot of his touches within the flow of the offense, similar to the looks Tristan Thompson gets. Force feeding him bounce passes in the pick and roll and post up opportunities isn't something that worked when he was playing at his best and shouldn't be part of his diet now.
- This was probably the worst game of the season defensively for Kevin Love. It seemed like even the shots he contested well were going in. I've felt like his defense has been a plus overall this season, but that certainly wasn't the case tonight. On the other hand, the Cavs likely don't win this game if he didn't go three point berserk in the third quarter. He still finished the game with 26 points and 9 rebounds and was a team high +5 in the plus/minus category, so I feel bad complaining too much. But this is my recap and I'll cry if I want to.
- J.R. Smith shot three of twelve from the floor on the night and missed all four of his three point attempts. Smith needs to do a better job not forcing the action and shoot fewer shots off the dribble. Every time it seemed like the Cavs were gaining momentum Smith would shoot some spinning desperation shot with a hand in his face. Taking and making bad shots is something Smith does, but on a night where nothing was easy the team would have benefited from sticking with higher percentage looks. He played a hell of a game on defense all night drawing the assignment on Joe Johnson, it was the polar opposite performance of Kevin Love. So his performance wasn't all bad, it was just frustrating to see his shot selection tonight.
- Tristan Thompson continues to make a big impact off of the bench. His impact may seem bigger than it is just because of the discrepancy between how the team plays with him vs. Mozgov at the moment... but his ten points and eleven rebounds off of the bench were a big deal. He was called for two late moving screens and struggled at times to try and slow down Brook Lopez, but many players do. He'll need to continue to learn from his mistakes, cut out the moving screens and continue to improve his positioning.