Here is your two for one from the Cleveland Cavaliers 143-101 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. The Cavs are aggressively not good at the moment, but let’s try to keep things positive tonight.
Positive: Darius Garland taking and making threes
Darius Garland is now up to 34% shooting from three for the season! Garland has hit 7 of 15 shots from behind the arc over his last two games and is showing an increased willingness to look for his own shot.
There seemed to be more instances this game where Garland was playing off ball trying to find spot up opportunities. Something that may have assisted him in finding a rhythm and going off for a career-high 23 points.
It was always going to take some time for Garland to find his footing in the NBA after such a short stint in college. But hopefully this uptick in attempts is a sign of things to come as he looks to establish himself.
Positive: Cedi Osman breaks out of his slump
Coming into this game Cedi Osman was playing his worst basketball of his Cavs tenure. After starting the season strong, he went into a slump where he routinely would look lost and uncomfortable on the court.
Osman received more touches early on in this game and seemed to play a more confident brand of basketball as a result. He was decisive and had an easier time creating for himself and others. Converting on 4 of 6 attempts from deep certainly helped as well.
If more touches is what Osman needs, then maybe Beilein will need to give more consideration to him playing with the second unit. Even if he starts but is subbed out early, there are touches to be had on a reserve unit that has been the worst part of the team to start this season.
Getting those second unit reps and allowing him to initiate some offense there might be the right call, vs a starting five with two guards that need the ball as well as Kevin Love. Osman isn’t a strong enough ball handler to create consistently against starters, but that could be less of a problem with the reserves. If it allows him to play more confidently during his minutes with the starters, then it may be worth trying out.
Negative: The center-less minutes need to stop
This was only the second game all season that the Cavs have had a backup center active. Yet despite Ante Zizic being active, Beilein elected to go with the Love/Nance pairing. While this pairing was somewhat of a necessity due to injuries in the past, the results have been consistently terrible.
Coming into this game, the Cavs had a 117.2 DRTG and -24 net rating in Nance’s minutes without Tristan Thompson. Nance needs to be on the floor with a center if the team is going to have any chance at competency defensively. It’s an unfair position to put Nance in and it routinely has shot the team in the foot.
The decision was even more questionable when you consider the size of the Dallas big men. There will inevitably be bleeding from this Cavs defense when they play the league’s best offenses. But they don’t need to make things tougher on themselves.