The Cavaliers have a winning streak!
Even with Chris Paul sitting and Houston not looking themselves this season, it appeared to be a pretty significant uphill battle, even with the Rockets on a back-to-back of their own.
The Cavaliers continued their run of spirited play, and stunned the Rockets at home with a 117-108 win.
Collin Sexton had, by a mile, the best game of his pro career. Sexton tortured James Harden in isolation, and his midrange jumper was on point en route to 29 points on 14-21 shooting on a steady diet of open jumpers both in isolation and in the pick and roll. Teams are going to continue to go under on Sexton, and that’s still the right play, but he’s hitting enough to make teams think otherwise.
Sexton wasn’t the only star. Jordan Clarkson continued his stellar late-game play and dropped 20 points while actually making a few nice passes when the defense over-committed. Kyle Korver continued to showcase his trade value by scoring 12 first-half points, and he also was working unbelievably hard on defense (even as his physical limitations are making things more difficult for him as he ages).
David Nwaba had an ugly box score game (5-16 from the field, 0-5 from three), but that hugely underscores just how good he was guarding James Harden, despite Harden’s big game. He fought through screens, maintained contact and (mostly) avoided unnecessary fouls.
Again, even with Sexton and Clarkson taking over for huge stretches of the game, Tristan Thompson continues to function as this team’s identity. Thompson finished with 16 points and 22 rebounds while completely manhandling Clint Capela on the boards.
This is a team that needs to have a “tryhard” mentality. They need to fight for loose balls, generate extra possessions. Thompson’s done that in spades this season, and even at their most rudderless, this team has never failed to try.
Finding their rhythm was the next step in the process — it appears that the Cavs may be finding some headway as they wait to get healthy.
Cleveland next plays on Monday, hosting the new-look Minnesota Timberwolves. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.