Like the spring phrase goes, “April Showers Bring May Flowers!” For the Cleveland Cavaliers, it’s more like “April Showers Bring More Love and Delly!” Both Cavs veterans, Kevin Love and Matthew Dellavedova have returned to the Cavs lineup this first week in April and that has, in part, sparked a mini two-game win streak for their team.
After destroying the Oklahoma City on Thunder Thursday night, 129-102, with a lockdown defensive effort in the 3rd quarter and great team basketball distribution with a whopping 35 assists, the Cavs now look to back-to-back games against, first the Toronto Raptors Saturday night and then a date with the New Orleans Pelicans Sunday night. Standing at 19-32 on the season, the Cavs still have an opportunity to get into the playoffs as many teams in the Eastern Conference aren’t running away from anyone, making the playing field pretty even.
For the Cavs, it’s about playing that intense defense that gives this young squad a chance to get out and run in transition. This, in turn, allows them many more chances at scoring. In the last two games they have scored 125 and 129 points. And similarly, back when the Cavs ran off a four-straight win streak in late February, that scoring mark goes way up, obviously. Good things then await this team.
Having Love and Dellavedova back too has given the young players another option to dish the ball to and score, especially with Love. He had 18 points in last night’s game, along with 11 boards. Giving Cavs’ guards Collin Sexton and Darius Garland that support, knowing they’ve got Love on the outside ready to knock down a three-pointer, is icing on the cake.
Dean Wade, the kid from “Small Town, Kansas”, has also been solid in his last five-straight starts as Jarrett Allen recovers from a concussion. He’s not blistering the box score, but he scores some, rebounds and dishes out assists. Good things just happen when he’s on the floor.
This group of young talented players for the Cavaliers is fun to watch. They’ll continue to struggle at moments before the season is done, but they’re also growing by leaps and bounds, thanks also to the great coaching staff and head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, who emphasized that defensive importance after the game Thursday by saying, “Defensively, I thought we were really good over the last three quarters. We gave up 14 points in the third quarter, and it’s a quarter where we’ve had woes. So, for us to come out and play that way in the third quarter, we gave ourselves a chance tonight and then we went on to close it out.”