POSITIVE: Collin the Closer
Collin Sexton continued his absolutely insane tear, scoring 25 points including five late to put the game out of reach for the Giannis-less Bucks. The three-point shooting remains unsustainably good (4-7 tonight), and Sexton was constantly able to hunt mismatches and find angles to the rim.
What’s more encouraging is that Sexton was driving looking to pass and set up 7-10 wide open looks that his teammates just weren’t able to knock down. Three assists won’t blow you away in the box score, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying.
Sexton’s ability to take over late masked a rough night offensively for most of the rest of the Cavaliers. His offensive surge can still be met with some skepticism, but it’s getting harder and harder to not get excited.
NEGATIVE: Yikes, Kev
Kevin Love was about as bad as he’s been as a Cavalier in this one. In his 18 minutes, he went 1-10 from the field and scored just six points in 18 minutes. If he was sharper, this wouldn’t have needed to come down to the wire.
That criticism can extend to the non-Jordan Clarkson and Collin Sexton members of the rotation. Clarkson and Sexton combined for 19 field goals on 35 shots. The rest of the team had 20 field goals on 58 attempts from the field.
POSITIVE: The Cavaliers are looking (nearly) whole
The Cavaliers have lost more games to injury than just about any team this season, so the return of Tristan Thompson alongside Larry Nance and Kevin Love felt like the closest the Cavaliers have been to being whole since Love was injured four games into the year.
With the Cavaliers bigs moving towards health, guys like Marquese Chriss look out of place on the floor when replacing a Tristan, Nance or Love.
I’m not sure how many games this team would have won if they’d stayed healthy, but Larry Nance talked before the game about how this team is much better than their record. The Cavaliers can’t afford to be in the excuses business, but this is a team that was hit particularly hard by the injury bug. They’re not that bad, after all.