If there’s one combination that has always produced interesting games for the Cleveland Cavaliers, it’s Sunday afternoon games against one of the league’s worst teams. The Atlanta Hawks came into Cleveland and defeated the Cavs 117-115.
The Cavs started the game with what was arguably their worst quarter of the season. The defense was as bad as always, but on offense there was a ton of standing around and watching.
Powered by a strong push from their bench, and some heroics from Dwyane Wade, the Cavs were able to narrow the gap towards the end of the first half. Unfortunately when the starters were put back in, the Hawks lead was once again extended to nine by the half.
The team pushed late in the game and had a chance to steal this game at the end, but they simply didn’t deserve the win and weren’t rewarded with one. On the plus-side, this does help Atlanta catch up to Brooklyn in the standings. But even after Friday’s win against Washington, this is still a fairly bad team with a long way to go.
- One of the few positives from this game was the play of Dwyane Wade. Wade has looked much better since moving to a reserve role and nearly single-handedly dragged the Cavs back into the game
- This was, by far, the worst game Derrick Rose has played as a Cavalier. He was out of control and pressing the whole afternoon. Rose finished with 10 points, 1 assist, 4 turnovers and a team-worst -27.
- While Rose was certainly an issue, the entire starting lineup played incredibly poorly. Both Jae Crowder and J.R. Smith played with low-energy and little movement. While Kevin Love struggled with his shot, on the boards, and was in foul trouble as a result of reaching in and not moving his feet (and a bad blocking call). In the third quarter, Tyronn Lue was visibly demonstrative towards Love and sat him in favor of Channing Frye.
- While it wasn’t 57 points, LeBron James finished with a strong outing. He didn’t play particularly well in the first half, but his final line of 26 points and 13 assists to 6 turnovers was still strong. Wasting a combined 48 points from Wade and Korver plus putting LeBron through 41 minutes and not coming away with a win is inexcusable.
- Overall, the bench played very well. A large portion of the plus/minus success was a result of being on the court with Wade in the second quarter. However the energy the showed, particularly on defense, was impressive. Cedi Osman didn’t score any points, but he was one of the few players moving their feet on defense and challenging at the point of attack. Jeff Green was active moving off ball, while Kyle Korver provided solid team defense and an offensive punch the team desperately needed. If this trend continues, hopefully we will see more mixed lineups moving forward. Rather than the wholesale line changes that were frequent against the Hawks.