A fun fact via Associated Press reporter Tom Withers: The Cavs are 2-2 this year after starting last season 0-6 and not picking up their second win until game No. 13. This season is already way more fun and Cleveland’s 117-111 win Monday over the Bulls really hammered home why. Let’s get into this all positive edition of two for one.
POSITIVE: Tristan Thompson beast mode
Tristan Thompson, back in 2018 during the Cavs’ last LeBron James season, looked cooked. He dealt with injuries repeatedly after being an iron man for years. He was good in small doses in the playoffs, but it looked like he might be done as an effective player. And then last season, Thompson looked good again until he got hurt and was limited to 43 games.
It’s only been four games, but Thompson looks looks like he’s back. He’s bouncy again, he’s scoring, rebounding, defending and doing anything and everything for this Cavs team. Against the Bulls on Wednesday, he posted a 23-point, 10-rebound, five-block night while coming up big over and over and over again. He made plays like this exactly when Cleveland needed him to:
We’ll see if Thompson can maintain this form, or something close to it, moving forward. But this is maybe the best basketball he’s ever played. That’s really, really fun to see.
POSITIVE: Kevin Porter Jr.’s best game yet
The Kevin Porter Jr. experience has had its ups and downs so far. The 19-year-old is extremely raw and it shows. His natural feel and offensive potential have been on display. But there have also been mistakes where he takes galaxy brain paths on defenses. On offense, he came into Wednesday’s game shooting 21.1% from the field and struggling to knock down the open looks that have come his way.
That somewhat changed on Wednesday in what was Porter’s best NBA game to date. In 20 minutes, he was 2-4 from the field — including 1-2 from three — with four rebounds, two assists and a block. These back-to-back plays are the best version of Porter to date:
The ups and down are likely to continue — again, he’s 19. But for moments like this, they are worth riding out to see what comes out on the other side.
POSITIVE: Collin Sexton caught a body
Sexton had a good night: 18 points, two assists, 7-12 shooting, two rebounds and Wendell Carter Jr.’s corpse:
COLLIN SEXTON CAUGHT A BODY. pic.twitter.com/bahGBLOmLW— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 31, 2019
This set was great too. On the previous possession, Kevin Love (who had 17 points and 20 rebounds by the way) banked in a mid-range shot over Thad Young from the left baseline. Sexton noticed Zach LaVine sleeping on defense, burst right by him into the paint and Love whipped in a pass. Sexton caught the pass, immediately leaped and crushed it.
Man, this team is a lot of fun. Maybe the Bulls aren’t all that good. But this Cavs team is frisky and won a game by continuously grinding and then taking over in the fourth. Not a bad result for the fourth game of the season.