Was this a bad game for the Cleveland Cavaliers? I do not know. They did not win. They played a bad team. They were playing on the second night of a back-to-back and missing their best players. They hung tight. They’re lottery odds improved. Let’s see how everyone did.
Hey now. Second time in three games Sexton notched six assists after doing so just once before. He didn’t turn the ball over, had more points than shots, and the Cavs outscored the Hawks when he played. He allowed dribble penetration all night that had Larry Nance Jr. frustrated at times, but steps forward are steps forward. He wasn’t the problem tonight.
Cedi Osman: B+
This might be a low grade for Cedi, whose energy propelled the Cavs forward for stretches of the game. He had an extremely efficient 22 points, and scored in the halfcourt and in transition. He had some untimely turnovers that felt damaging to the team, and he committed five fouls. Still, these are the types of games you hope for from a young player like this.
Larry Nance Jr.: A
The Cavs starters held their own in this game, and Larry Nance Jr. was the biggest reason for it. He came out with energy and was able to largely sustain it. He was a leader on the team, staying on guys defensively. I don’t know how much it helped, but he was doing it. 18 points on eight shots, 15 rebounds, seven assists, four steals and a block are really impressive numbers. It’s a bummer the team couldn’t win a game he played this well in.
Jaron Blossomgame: D
The only starter with a negative +/-, and he just didn’t impact the game in a positive way. Two points on five shots, zero assists, two turnovers. What else is there to say? Of course, it’s not really his fault the Cavs are asking him to start.
Channing Frye: D
Getting minutes over Ante Zizic. 1-8 from the field. Cavs were outscored by 19 points in his 12 minutes. Love you Channing but ... not great.
Jordan Clarkson: D+
Clarkson got a little better as the game went on, but played a rough first half and then swallowed up a bad possession on the Cavs last chance to tie the game. He just does not play a game conducive to winning basketball. I don’t know how else to say it.
Alec Burks: B-
The last time I did grades I said Burks deserved more than the 28 minutes he got. Tonight, he played 40, which seems like way too much. The Cavs clearly need his experience next to Collin Sexton. He seems disinterested at times, but he’s undoubtedly one of the team’s better players. Is that almost by default? Maybe.
Matthew Dellavedova: C-
Delly played a bit out of control, turning the ball over and getting himself trapped in plays he couldn’t hope to complete. Was he the major problem tonight? I don’t think so. We’ll see how he looks on second units when he’s paired with Larry Nance again.
Jalen Jones: B
Jones has the benefit of playing a role suited to a young, fringe NBA player, and he was fine in this game. Made a couple nice plays, didn’t try to do too much, contributed with rebounds, didn’t try and do too much. Hard to say how good he is or can be, though.