The Utah Jazz came into Monday’s nights game in Cleveland as one of the NBA’s most frequently struggling teams. That changed for them in a 126-113 win over the Cavs. Who, by the way, were down six players — including Andre Drummond, Darius Garland and Tristan Thompson — due to injury and didn’t look their best.
Collin Sexton shines
Sexton, who scored 28 points and 31 points in consecutive games last week, set a new career-high on Monday with 32 points on 17 shots. His night featured his full bag of scoring tricks with a 4-6 night on three, eight free throw attempts and a lot work right at the rim with a few mid-range shots sprinkled in.
You could argue that some of his big nights are empty and that would be fair considering the Cavs are not winning a lot of games right now. There’s also certainly a ceiling on what a Sexton-driven team looks like, particularly when the supporting cast is banged up and lacking.
But Sexton is also legitimately improving towards the end of year two. Nights like this were he’s getting to the rim, getting the free throw line and being the Cavs’ best offensive player — and getting good results — is sign of a real progress. Sexton looks like a keeper.
Injuries limit the Cavs, but it didn’t have to
Two-way players Dean Wade and Matt Mooney played a combined two minutes and change — all in garage time — for the Cavs on Monday. Who, again, were down six players due to injuries. Both players have been busy playing for the Canton Charge in the G League this month and have had days were they’ve played in the G League before dressing for Cleveland. They did that this weekend having played on Saturday before playing on Sunday.
Maybe the coaching staff didn’t want to push Wade and Mooney too much and have them play three games in three days. That would certainly be understandable. But why not give them burn to see if they are worth anything? That’s absolutely true of Wade, who could be in the team’s rotation next year depending on what the roster looks like. Plus, Canton has a bit of cushion in G League’s Eastern Conference playoff picture if they it wanted to sacrifice a game or two to serve the parent club.
Kevin Porter Jr. hive, assemble
Porter Jr. got the start in place of Garland and finished 5-14 from the field. It wasn’t his best game, but still had some strong highlights indicating his two-way potential.
Sometimes, that’s all you need to see.
Cleveland is back on Wednesday at home against the Boston Celtics. The Celtics will be coming in on the second half of a back-to-back. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.