Editor’s note: Trying something new: After every game, we’ll be doing a stock up, stock down post on players and team trends. — Chris
Caris LeVert’s efficient scoring: Caris LeVert continues to thrive for the Cavaliers this season. LeVert entered the night scoring 17 points per game, good for second in the league in bench scoring this season. LeVert continued to be aggressive and was able to get his pretty easily. In 28 minutes against the Kings, Levert scored 21 points on 7-13 shooting.
Strus’s ability to fill the stat sheet: Max Strus is contributing in all facets. Strus is currently averaging a career high in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. Against the Kings, he was the only starter to average a positive plus minus at +10 and was able to score 19 points along with 5 rebounds and 4 assists.
Perimeter Defense solutions: Many of the Cavaliers’ losses have been excused by “well, team X got hot from three”, which is a fine statement to utter when it’s an outlier.
However, the Cavaliers are looking like a team struggling for solutions to teams firing a barrage from the perimeter. The Cavaliers currently rank 28th in the league against the three point shot, allowing teams to shoot from the arc at a staggering 40.5% according to Cleaning The Glass.
Against teams like the Kings who when they are rolling can fire away with players like Keegan Murray, Malik Monk and Kevin Huerter, it turns into a long night. The Kings scored on 47.6% (20-42) of their three point attempts and that simply is not an outlier, it is a pattern.
Cavaliers’ ability to handle teams that spread out: Similarly build to the Thunder, who the Cavs got swept by in their season series, the Kings like to play a bulk of their lineups five out. This has caused issues for the Cavaliers, and more specifically, their two big man lineups with Allen and Mobley. From the jump, Jarrett Allen and Mobley struggled to keep pace with the fast, movement heavy offense led by Fox and Sabonis. This is something we all knew was the case heading into last night, it just simply confirms what we as fans already knew.
Darius Garland’s minutes without Donovan Mitchell on the floor: There is no question in the talent of Garland or his fit with Mitchell when they both are on the floor. Rather, it seems like this team is heading to dangerous territory where the goal is to survive the Mitchell-less minutes rather than attempt to continue leads built in the absence of the star player. In a game where Mitchell didn’t even play well compared to the level of play we are accustomed to was able to keep his lineups able to tread water, meanwhile, Garland has struggled including last night as his lineups with him as the lead are all negative plus minuses according to cleaning the glass.