No matter how things looked early on, the Cavaliers won a game that they should have won, and they did so in a fashion that they should have. Knocking off the Thunder 129-102 was a good result for a Cavs team trying to build momentum (and a not-so-secretly good result for the Thunder too).
The good news to start the game was that the Cavs had their highest scoring first quarter of the season to get things going with 38 points. Darius Garland looked like the same guy that showed up against the Spurs earlier this week, which may have been the most promising part of the opening period.
While Garland’s numbers certainly weren’t as gaudy as they were last time out, he again showed plenty of signs that he’s putting things all together. His step-back jumper continues to look smooth
The bad news to start the game was that the Cavs put for an absolutely abysmal effort on the defensive end of the floor. Things got a bit better in the second quarter, partially thanks to Isaac Okoro being switched onto Thunder rookie Aleksej Pokusevski in the second quarter. After the first quarter, the Cavs were able to control the game, and it was a game that on paper, they should control. Once things slowed down after the first quarter, the Cavs never looked back.
Right now, Oklahoma City isn’t actively trying to win basketball games, and while it’s up for debate whether or not the Cavs should be using that same strategy, they currently aren’t. When that’s the case, the team that is trying to win should take care of business more often than not.
The third quarter opened up with the Cavs taking it right to the undermanned Thunder squad. Cleveland opened up on an 11-0 run, polished off with a pull-up 3-pointer from Kevin Love. While the strong start to the second half eventually faded a touch, the gas pedal was kept down for the most part.
By time the fourth quarter came around, there wasn’t much left to play for. The back half of the final quarter turned into garbage time, which can
Player of the Game - Collin Sexton
Sexton was the high scorer on the night with a pretty efficient 27 points on 9-of-17 shooting. He added in four assists, including this beauty of a transition dime to Isaiah Hartenstein in the third quarter.
Kevin Love isn’t talked about much anymore, but the guy is still pretty good at basketball. He played 23 minutes and scored 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting and added in 11 rebounds. He might not be the guy he once was, but he’s still able to be a contributor when he’s healthy, and it’s refreshing to be reminded of that sometimes.
Stat of the day
The Cavs set a season-high with 35 assists on the night. Everyone that played more than four minutes, other than Lamar Stevens, finished with at least a pair of assists, but no one had more than the seven put up by Matthew Dellavedova. The Cavs shared the ball about as well as they could have, and it never felt like it was dominated by any one player.
The Cavs are back in action on Saturday night at home against the Toronto/Tampa Raptors. Tip-off set for 7:30 p.m.