The Cavs started off their road trip with a nice 115-112 overtime win over the Pistons on Thursday. Get into it.
Tristan Thompson is incredible
Kudos to Tristan Thompson. At the end of the 2018 season, after he was awful in the regular season, he looked washed and his future looked unsure. But then despite some injuries, he was good last year. And now this year, he’s arguably been as good as he’s ever been.
Thursday’s game was maybe Thompson’s best game of the season. He scored a career-high 35 points, pulled down 14 boards and was clearly the on-court leader in Cleveland’s overtime win in putting guys in the right spots and apparently drawing up a play on the sideline. Amid a bunch of chaos and with a weird roster, Thompson is the leader and a guy who can set the tone on and off the court. He’s essential to the Cavs having anything resembling normalcy this year. You truly love to see it.
Darius Garland continues to improve
Garland had 20 points on 8-14 shooting and played some better defense down the stretch on Thursday. But he also had a team-high seven assists against just three turnovers. Passes like this are a really nice development from Garland and gives the Cavs’ offense a needed dimension that it can’t really get from anywhere else:
More of this from Garland going forward would continue to be a good sign for him becoming the initiator of the offense.
A thin rotation
Due to injuries, the Cavs’ rotation is wonky right now. Dante Exum was out sick. John Henson didn’t play for reasons that are unclear. Kevin Porter Jr., Dylan Windler and Larry Nance Jr. are hurt. That leaves John Beilein’s options a bit thin and it show.
Every starter played 38 minutes or more. Only Brandon Knight played more than 20 minutes off the bench. Some of this will normalize when Exum isn’t sick and Nance is back in a week or so. But at the start of a road trip, it’s a tough place to be in.