The Cavs have compiled a roster of guys who work hard, and that showed in tonight’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. They grinded things out and made things difficult for the Thunder offensively; defense hasn’t been the calling card thus far this year, but effort should help them stay competitive in games.
But the Cavs have not compiled a roster of guys who take or make three point attempts, and that also showed in tonight’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. It was a game the Thunder probably felt like they needed to win — the Cavs are a bad team and the West is extremely deep - and they kept their stars in the game until the final minute of the fourth quarter. Poor offense, and energy from the Thunder that mirrored the Cavs intensity means a few more lessons learned and a loss.
The Oklahoma City Thunder, 100. Your Cleveland Cavaliers, 83.
What do we mean by poor offense? Well, we could tell you that this was a season low point total for the Cavs, but that wouldn’t tell you very much. Perhaps the game was played at an extremely slow pace and possessions were on short supply. We could tell you that the Cavs shot just 39.8 percent from the field, but that wouldn’t tell you very much. Maybe they were getting to the free throw line a lot, or taking a large number of three pointers.
Well, it was their lowest point total of the season, and they did shoot that low percentage. Unfortunately, they were not getting to the free throw line, and they were not attempting a lot of three pointers. When you take just 23 three pointers, and attempt just eight free throws, it’s not a simple problem of variance bringing down your scoring numbers. It’s a poor process. The excuse for the Cavs is simple: they have a bunch of players that feel a lot more comfortable taking midrange jumpers, which are worth two points and don’t often result in free throws, and not a lot of players that are comfortable or have histories of making lots of threes. What’s worse, their creators are not particularly good at getting the ball into the hands of spot up shooters.
Now, this is an excuse insofar as it’s just what the roster is. These guys are playing hard and trying to do what their best at. And there were bright spots; Jordan Clarkson hit some threes and it was noted that he’s really working on that. Collin Sexton found Rodney Hood for a drive and kick three-pointer that was gorgeous. The Cavs had a little success with Tristan Thompson finding cutters for baskets. And as noted above, the team is taking steps forward defensively. We’ll get you guys player grades to break down who looked good and when; the big picture is a roster not built for sustained offensive success.