The Cavaliers scored nine points in the first quarter, and it didn’t get much better until the very end. Here are your player grades for an ugly one that turned interesting late.
Collin Sexton: B-
Collin could certainly use a fun stretch of play, as it’s mostly been a slog as of late. With that said, his fourth quarter surge featured four free throw attempts, something that’s absolutely crucial to Sexton’s development moving forward. He entered today’s game having not shot a single free throw in four of his last five games. He’s just got to get there if he wants something resembling an efficient night. Four assists in the fourth quarter didn’t hurt either.
Cedi Osman: C-
Cedi shows small flashes, but he too could use a dash of efficiency. He can’t keep having outings where he shoots thirty percent or less from the field. He doesn’t earn many calls, and the three-pointer hasn’t developed as hoped, but he’ll have to find a way to finish at a higher rate.
Larry Nance Jr.: C
Marc Gasol is something of a Larry Nance stopper. He’s long-armed, smart, huge, and cuts off the passing lanes Larry loves to generate. A tough night from the field was not hard to see coming, especially while playing what amounted to a full-time power forward on offense as the Cavaliers remain ravaged by injuries.
Jaron Blossomgame: C-
Blossomgame is beginning to exhibit a willingness to pull from three. He hit one, and he’ll need that skillset to become an NBA player worth keeping around. Otherwise, a fairly nondescript 19 minutes.
Ante Zizic: C
Zizic has nice touch around the rim, but has struggled to contribute this season when his post-ups don’t generate points. To that end, his 22 minutes were fairly encouraging. He didn’t shoot well, but pulling down four offensive boards and dishing a couple assists out count as something resembling progress.
Jordan Clarkson: B-
Clarkson spent the majority of the game as the only Cavalier who was in double figures as a scorer. As ugly as last year’s playoff experience was, Clarkson has evolved into one of the more watchable Cavaliers. A dubious honor at best, but I can’t help but be grateful he’s on the team at times this year.
Alec Burks: D+
Burks had an ugly night from the field as the Cavaliers failed to generate much space to do anything. Burks appears to be at his best when attacking an already-destabilized defense. The Cavaliers didn’t do much of that tonight, and Burks’ line suffered for it.
Matthew Dellavedova: C
Delly somehow had his first truly poor game since being traded back to Cleveland. His three-pointer was nowhere to be found, and Mike Conley abused him in space on multiple pick and rolls.
Channing Frye: C-
Frye did fine in help defense on occasion, and the fear of his three-point shooting allowed the Cavaliers guards to get multiple easy switches (that they sort of failed to do anything with, but that’s not on Channing). Ideally, more shots will fall and the ball will be turned over less, but what can you ask the guy for at this point in his career?
Jalen Jones: Shrug
The most noteworthy thing about Jalen Jones’ tenure so far is that every time I see J. Jones in a box score, I think it’s James. Miss you, Champ.