Against the Heat on Friday, the Cavaliers lost again 101-94 for their 41st loss of the season. Unlike many of their other losses this season, it wasn’t wasn’t entirely a lost night. The Cavs came back from 14 down in the fourth to get within six with under a minute to go. Were they a little bit better at executing right now, maybe they would have pulled off the comeback.
Still, this was better than getting wrecked. Again.
POSITIVE: Welcome back, Larry Nance Jr.!
The Cavs got bad injury news on Friday when the team announced Tristan Thompson would miss two more weeks due to foot soreness. Cleveland, however, did get good news in the return of Larry Nance Jr., who had missed eight games straight due to an ankle injury he suffered before the Cavs went on their six-game road trip.
Nance came off the bench in his first game back. as Larry Drew didn’t immediately throw him back into playing 30 minutes a night. But Nance played 21 minutes, finishing with six points, six rebounds, one block and one steal. Most importantly, he didn’t seem hampered by the ankle injury.
The Cavs still have Thompson, Kevin Love, John Henson and David Nwaba out. Until this team actually gets healthy, it’s really hard to know if they can get any better than they’ve been. Getting Nance back is the first step toward that.
POSITIVE: Cedi Osman sets another career-high
On Wednesday against the Celtics, Cedi Osman set a new career-high with 25 points. Against the Heat, he tied that mark with 3:47 left in the third quarter and then passed in on a tip-in with 7:20 to play in the fourth quarter. For the night, Osman finished with 29 points to lead all scorers.
This was also a different type of scoring night for Osman. In Boston, he made six of his seven three-pointers and only made two shots inside the arc. Against Miami, he finished 3-8 on three-pointers and made eight shots inside the arc.
What’s perhaps most encouraging about Osman’s night was that he finished well near the rim — something that he’s struggled with overall this season. Two games is the definition of a small sample size, but they are still impressive performances from Osman and show some definite improvements from earlier in the season.
NEGATIVE: Collin Sexton, what was this?
Sexton actually took and made some tough three-pointers in this game. But it is really hard to fathom why he passed up this three-pointer and chose to dribble at Hassan Whiteside and barely get a shot off. Tyler Johnson, the player who should be contesting this shot, is literally sitting on the ground tying his shoe when Sexton gets the ball in the corner:
Again, Sexton is taking more three-pointers of late and his three-point percentage for the year is solid. He also swapped jerseys postgame with Dwyane Wade, which was very cool.
But this was the most open he was all night and he passed it up. That’s just odd.