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Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Miami Heat player grades: Zone defenses work against the Cavaliers

Yikes, man.

NBA: Miami Heat at Cleveland Cavaliers David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Twas a 2-3 zone that ended the Cavaliers hopes on Wednesday night. It’s been a long season. Here are some player grades.

Collin Sexton: C

You won’t often see it in the box score, but Sexton’s offensive game is evolving slowly but surely. He’s been getting into the teeth of the defense and looking to find the open man, even if the Cavaliers aren’t always able to execute or he isn’t able to time up his passes at the right time. Still, the effort counts as progress, even as he continues to get lit up on the other end of the court.

Cedi Osman: C

Cedi was fairly effective as a secondary playmaker when he was on the floor, and a couple made three-pointers will always make him look like he had a better night than when he doesn’t. The defense is fairly awful still.

Tristan Thompson: C+

Tristan had a nice day in his first game back, especially early on as he bulled an indifferent Hassan Whiteside for several early buckets in the paint. He disappeared from that point on, only collected two rebounds and was a culprit in the Cavaliers mess of a defense in the loss.

Rodney Hood: C+

Rodney hit some shots and added some much needed spacing to the starved Cavaliers, but failed to make a consistent impact in this game. He was fairly helpful in his 26 minutes and even jumped a few passing lanes for some steals.

Larry Nance Jr.: C

It’s nice that Larry Nance is feeling empowered to make difficult passes, but he’s got to rein it in a bit with some of these attempts. This had all the markings of a solid Nance game, but something was missing. The team should’ve been able to build a decent zone offense with Nance catching the ball at the free throw line and cutting around him, but they failed to do so. No more off-the-dribble jumpers, please, Larry.

Pat McCaw: C

McCaw (HE PREFERS TO BE CALLED PAT NOW, THANK YOU VERY MUCH) didn’t make much impact in his debut. He got a steal, he missed an open three, and hit a baseline jumper. I would expect more assertive outings once he gets comfortable.

Jordan Clarkson: C

Clarkson actually made a few nice defensive plays in this one and poured in his customary double-digit scoring outing, but even on good Clarkson nights, it remains hard to imagine how he contributes to a team that’s actually winning games.

Alec Burks: C

Burks was fairly invisible tonight. His hitch-y jump shot makes it hard to get a high volume of threes off. The Cavaliers need him to take them when they’re remotely open, as they don’t have better options.

Matthew Dellavedova: C-

I could stand to see less one-on-everybody forays against a set 2-3 defense, but perhaps I’m asking too much.

Jalen Jones: C

Jalen Jones tries hard, but there’s a reason he’s on a two-way deal. There’s no diamond in the rough here. He fought his way to a solid outing though, and worked hard on defense.