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Two for one: The Cavs lose again, this time to the Celtics

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It’s not great.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

The Cavs lost once again on Monday, this time 110-88 to the Celtics. Let’s get into it.

Positive: Offensive rebounding helped keep the Cavs alive

Cleveland did not do much well against Boston. Jordan Clarkson had a good scoring game, for one. And they also crushed the offensive boards, pulling down offensive rebounds in the 99th percentile of all games this year according to Cleaning The Glass. It didn’t ultimately help all that much, but it’s the kind of work that Cleveland will need to win games against better teams moving forward.

Tristan Thompson (who else?) led the way with eight offensive boards. He remains very, very good at that.

Negative: The Cavs need to invest in wings for the future

Here’s how Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward shot on Monday night:

  • Brown: 9-15 overall, 1-5 on three-pointers
  • Tatum: 7-14 overall, 4-6 on three-pointers
  • Hayward: 7-10 overall, 0-2 on three-pointers

Cedi Osman has had some really good moments this year. Kevin Porter Jr. has a flash or two a game that makes you believe he’ll be good in time. Dylan Windler is intriguing. But Cleveland might not have a future high end wing on the roster right now unless Porter Jr. or Osman hits in a way that’s not expensive. FiveThirtyEight’s model, for instance, labels Osman as a project, Porter Jr. as a marginal prospect and Windler as an ok prospect.

This is just one game, but a reminder that the Cavs don’t currently have the right bodies at this spot. Wing — and ideally high-end wings in the draft — have to be what Cleveland prioritizes going forward.

Negative: Kevin Love’s struggled again

What the Cavs ask of Kevin Love is probably too much for what he is in this NBA. As Boston did on Monday, teams are hounding him once he gets the ball in the post and there’s not much room for him to work as a result. That at least partially explains his 3-12 night, where he finished with 7 points in 27 minutes.

Can this be fixed? Maybe not, unless the Cavs get some kind of major talent upgrade. Love could also be better. But games like this feel more likely than him posting a 20-20 game.

Up next

On Wednesday, the Cavs host James Harden and the Rockets. That will surely go well! Tipoff is at 7 p.m.