The Cleveland Cavaliers handed Detroit their 17th straight loss in a game that carried more weight than it probably should have. Let’s break down what happened.
A handful of Cavaliers chipped in to get them over the top in this game.
It was Georges Niang who got the ball rolling in the scoring department. When Cleveland’s offense was sputtering in the first half, Niang rattled off a handful of floaters to keep the team afloat (no pun intended).
In the third quarter, Niang buried a huge three-pointer and assisted on another to spark Cleveland’s comeback. Darius Garland scored 8 of his 20 points during the third while Max Strus chimed in with back-to-back triples to build Cleveland’s lead.
Isaac Okoro kept the energy flowing with a string of big plays to start the fourth quarter. A three-pointer, a defensive stop and a layup from Okoro topped off Cleveland’s second-half rally. Ice finished with 9 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals as a team-high +15 in 33 minutes.
Well, that happened...
As noted, the stakes were higher than they should have been. You would never consider a regular season game in December to be a “must-win” game, but the Cavs most recent loss to Portland was startling enough to do just that.
Cleveland miraculously had little margin for error entering as 8-point favorites. They covered the spread but a rock fight with the 2-17 Pistons was not as encouraging as fans had hoped.
Carless turnovers, peculiar cold spells on offense and shoddy perimeter defense have continued to spell trouble for the Cavs.
But a win is a win. And this victory buys everyone a little more time to figure it out.
Up next, the Cavs have a gauntlet of worthy opponents. Orlando twice, Boston twice and Miami await them on the schedule. The Cavaliers will have to wake up from their recent nightmare if they want to compete against these high-caliber opponents.