Here are the player grades from the Cleveland Cavaliers win over the Denver Nuggets:
LeBron James: A+
Well, sometimes, you just have LeBron James. James iced the game en route to 39 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. Nicola Jokic dropped 36 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists on 14 shots, but it wasn’t enough and that’s solely because of James’ greatness. When he’s on, it’s still a sight to behold.
Larry Nance Jr.: A-
It wasn’t 22 points and 15 rebounds, but man, Nance was great yet again while scoring 13 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in 37 tough minutes. He was efficient from the field, played help defense at a high level and was consistently active in forcing deflections on the way to four steals and three blocks. It’s getting hard to see how he’ll lose his starting role.
Kyle Korver: B
Korver was unbelievably active in his 21 minutes despite only going 2-6 from the field. He was downright Shumpert-esque on defense with two steals and two blocks, and his energy helped the Cavaliers salvage key possessions late in this game.
Rodney Hood: B
Hood was a little more aggressive in this game than he’s been in his Cavs tenure, putting up 15 points on 13 shots. You’d like to see him start cranking up more threes, as he’s only averaging 4 attempted threes a game. I know he’s not making many right now, but the Cavs will need him to be a volume shooter.
George Hill: B
George Hill doesn’t have to score in bunches to be valuable to the Cavaliers, and this was one of those games. He hit a timely three down the stretch, dished five assists with zero turnovers and played solid point-of-attack defense for the Cavaliers, especially down the stretch in the win.
Jeff Green: B
Green played his first game after missing a pair of games with a sore back and he certainly looked fresher. He dropped 10 points on 4-7 shooting from the field and was more than solid in his time on the floor. No complaints here.
Jordan Clarkson: C+
Clarkson didn’t have his most impactful game as a Cavalier, and that’s going to happen for a player that runs hot and cold. His defense was a little messy, and the Cavaliers second unit really could’ve used some additional playmaking as Clarkson failed to get Cleveland into their offense consistently.
J.R. Smith: C+
Smith was fine in his 25 minutes, shooting 2-5 from three while not making many mistakes. There’s a difference between a quiet game and an invisible game. J.R. finally had one of the former on Wednesday night.
Ante Zizic: C+
Listen, Nicola Jokic cooked him and it’s hard to avoid saying that. It wasn’t really his fault, though. Zizic fought for position and consistently forced Jokic into tough shots. He just happened to make every single one of them. This wasn’t his best effort, but he didn’t look out of place, which is always helpful.
Cedi Osman: C-
This was not an Osman game to write home about. He only played 12 minutes as Korver and Jeff Green soaked up backup wing and power forward minutes. He found himself open for a few easy looks, but failed to knock them down.