The Cavaliers returned from the All-Star break and earned a double-digit win against the Suns at home. Let’s take a closer look at some positives and negatives from the day.
POSITIVE: Hi, Kevin
Boy, it’s nice to have Kevin Love back in the lineup. Kevin dropped 16 points and snagged 11 boards in just 22 minutes in the win (Love didn’t play in the 4th quarter in some not so subtle “well, if we just happen to lose in the 4th quarter that wouldn’t be so bad” decision making from the Cavaliers).
Love just makes the Cavaliers look like a competent NBA team merely by existing. His spacing opens up lanes for teammates, his passing rewards smart cuts and even defensively, he’s a better communicator and team defender than he’s ever gotten credit for.
We often talk about how All-Star level talent can raise a team’s ceiling, but perhaps we don’t focus enough on how it raises the floor. Consider how the Cavaliers were rarely out of a game with LeBron on the floor in the past, no matter how poorly they were playing.
Love isn’t LeBron, but he’s the most talented player on the team by a mile this season. It shows, no matter what kind of stat line he’s putting up.
NEGATIVE: The Suns are an abomination
Young teams are supposed to be bad, but I’m pretty sure they’re not supposed to be this bad. This is a team stocked to the brim with high draft picks, some of whom actually look like they’re able to play.
Even accounting for tanking, a team with Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton shouldn’t lose 16 games in a row. They shouldn’t be losing by double digits to the Cavaliers. They definitely shouldn’t have two less wins than a team that’s been as talent deficient as the Cavs this year.
I’m not sure what the answer is. They tried to add veteran help in the offseason in Trevor Ariza, but the team still stinks. They added a coach with a strong reputation, and the team still stinks. They jettisoned their front office. It’s hard to see what will get this team back to respectability. Even with another top-five pick incoming, there appears to be no end in sight.
Sorry, Suns fans.
POSITIVE: The Cedi-ssance is real
Cedi Osman is shooting the absolute hell out of the ball.
He was 5-8 from distance tonight, and since the end of January, even after some missed games with an ankle injury, his jumper (and larger offensive game) have been on-point.
Osman’s jumper is the biggest step in his development into a positive role player on a good team. If this result holds, the rest of his game, and more importantly, his teammates games will open up. The Cavaliers need reliable spacers on the wing. Osman is looking closer to being one of those kinds of players.