Here are two negatives and one positive for the Cavs’ 129-93 loss to the Pistons.
NEGATIVE: Marquese Chriss missed a dunk
Chriss also was called for three traveling violations in the first half and a moving screen foul on the first possession of the second half. He is a looping brain fart in an NBA player’s body.
POSITIVE: Brandon Knight, showing signs of life
The Cavs did very little positive things on Saturday. But player who actually played decently was Brandon Knight. He struggled inside the arc, but made three of his four three-point attempts and his from looked good. Knight showed some range too — he doesn’t have Steph Curry range or anything, but he sets up a few feet behind the line. That’s not nothing. He also had a strong drive on the break where he pushed the ball after a steal and drew a foul.
Knight, at age 27, is currently trying to rebuild his career after an ACL tear cost him a season. He’s under contract for 2019-20 and could be flipped again at the 2020 trade deadline, just like he was this year. His fit on a team with Collin Sexton, Matthew Dellavedova, Jordan Clarkson and other guards isn’t perfect. But while he is a Cavalier, it’s good to see him helping. The Cavs need players who help.
NEGATIVE: The Cavs without Kevin Love
If there was a game that showed how much Kevin Love means to this Cavs group, it’s this one. With Love out for what the Cavs are calling “health maintenance,” the team was rudderless on offense. The Pistons defense really had no respect for any other Cavalier and for good reason — Cleveland shot 26 percent form the field in the first half, posted an offensive rating in the zero percentile in the first half, per Cleaning The Glass. Cleveland finished the game shooting 34.2 percent from the field and an offensive rating in the 17th percentile, per Cleaning The Glass. When Love been on the floor since returning, they’ve preformed like a fringe top-10 offense.
Even if Sexton Cedi Osman, Larry Nance Jr. and others have positive moments, Love is the one guy that can make the team competent. When he’s not there, it’s clear how much they need him just to keep the boat from capsizing.