One shot can’t change a season. One game can’t fix everything that ails a team. But the cumulative the fatigue from all the bad news and tension that has surrounded the Cleveland Cavaliers was temporarily lifted, as they defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves in overtime 140-138 off LeBron James’ buzzer-beater.
Tonight’s game was one of the most outstanding displays of shot making you will ever see. Both teams combined for an NBA-record 40 three pointers. While some of that was facilitated by the neglecting the defensive side of the floor, we did see some gorgeous ball movement and tough shots converted by both teams.
This was also the most life we have seen from the Cavs in awhile. The energy provided by Cedi Osman and Jeff Green in particular, helped kick-start the team and force them to play with pace.
It’s unclear how many of the players that played tonight will be on the team by this time tomorrow. But at the risk of everything here being dated, here’s some of the takeaways from tonight’s game...
- One of the bigger surprises of the night was to see first quarter minutes for Cedi Osman. Osman has consistently brought energy throughout the season, and it’s a real shame he hasn’t been rewarded with a permanent spot in the rotation. With motivation and effort in short supply, it would be nice to see Osman get more minutes moving forward.
- Another game, another embarrassing effort defensively. Neither team seemed interested in competing on that end of the floor, as easy looks early-on got both teams in a groove. Even as shots started being contested in the second half, both teams were so hot that it didn’t make a difference. Tristan Thompson really struggled to keep pace with Karl Anthony Towns, who frequently lost him on the perimeter. Thompson wasn’t the only one struggling, as LeBron and Isaiah Thomas had their share of matador moments. But when you play someone as skilled as Towns, you need to bring your A game.
- On a more positive note for Thompson, the team made a point of finding him when he cut to the basket. With the exception of blowing an open dunk in the opening moments of the evening, he did a great job finishing and making the Wolves pay. Thompson has been one of the most efficient scorers in the pick and roll over the last few seasons. Not using him in that way when he’s on the court is a waste.
- Tyronn Lue showed Isaiah Thomas that he is capable of making adjustments by subbing him out on defense down the stretch in regulation. Osman helped come up with some key stops down the stretch, including one on Jimmy Butler that gave LeBron a chance to win the game. If Thomas isn’t moved at the deadline, these adjustments will be key as the games become more meaningful.
- LeBron James looked rejuvenated tonight. He set the tone playing with aggression right off the tip. By playing with purpose, his teammates followed his lead. They fed off his energy, and as the game progressed he, in-turn, fed off theirs. There is always some drama that follows LeBron wherever he goes. He can be petty and get frustrated when things aren’t going his way. But that is all worth it because you know it comes from his desire to win games. When the roster gets set after Thursday’s trade deadline, I expect to see much more of this LeBron to finish the season. 37 points, 15 assists, 10 rebounds, and one game-winner. Not a bad outing.