The Cavs dropped their last game before the all star break on Thursday night. They were forced to play this one without Kevin Love, and it showed. The Bulls got out to an early lead and kept Cleveland at arm’s length throughout the game. They dropped this one 113-98. Here’s what we learned from the loss.
• LeBron didn’t getting much help tonight. LBJ finished with 31/4/5 on 12-26 shooting. The Bulls don’t have anybody that can match up with the King, especially when Jimmy Butler is out of the lineup. Unfortunately the Cavs weren’t able to fully take advantage of the mismatch. Irving was the next closest scorer with 17 points. While LBJ had a great night scoring, he did have 8 turnovers. You won’t win many games when your primary ball handler has that many turnovers. The Cavs offense struggled throughout and seemed out of sync. LeBron felt that he was the only one that could score against the Bulls and settled for many isolations. The ball wasn’t moving like we usually see from the offense. This looked like a game you would’ve seen from the Cavs before the trades.
• Derrick Rose showed us he can still play. I was hoping to write an article about how Kyrie showed us that he’s a better point guard than Rose, but that was wishful thinking. D-Rose proved to me that he’s still a great point guard. He finished with 30/7/3. Kyrie’s defense has been doing better as of late, but that wasn’t the case Thursday night. He was no match for Rose on Thursday night. Rose also did a good job of containing Irving on the other end of the floor. Kyrie finished with 17 points on 6-18 shooting. Like I said yesterday, it’s never good when you have more shot attempts than points.
• Shawn Marion has fallen out of favor with Coach Blatt. If there was ever a time you’d think Marion would get playing time, it was this one. The Cavs were short handed at the power forward position without Love. I figured that Blatt would chose to go small with LeBron at the 4 and Marion at the 3 for some stretches, but that wasn’t the case. Blatt on the other hand chose to play James Jones nearly 30 minutes tonight. I usually agree with Coach Blatt, but I didn’t agree with playing Jones over Marion.
• The Cavs need Kevin Love. I often hear fans complain about why Love shouldn’t be considered part of the Big 3 and the Cavs would be fine without him. This game showed otherwise. The Cavs were out muscled in the paint by the Bulls. The big advantage Cleveland had over Chicago the previous two times they played was their rebounding, but they didn’t have that on Thursday night. We all know Kevin Love isn’t the best defender, but he is one of the best rebounders in the league. The Bulls were able to get more 2nd chance points than they should’ve. Love wouldn’t have let that happen if he was playing. The offense also struggled to find a consistent 2nd scorer with Irving having an off night.
• This one is going to leave a bitter taste in our mouth. The Cavs will have won 14 of their last 16 going into the all star break, but we know how much we wanted to win this one. I believe I speak for all Cavs fans when I say I can’t stand the Bulls. Unfortunately the Cavs won’t be able to get this taste out of their mouth for a week.
The Cavs have looked good recently. They’ve won 14 out of their last 16 games, but now it’s time for All Star Weekend. Delly will be in the Rising Star game on Friday, Kyrie will be in the 3 Point Contest on Saturday, and LeBron and Kyrie will be in the All Star Game on Sunday. It should be a fun weekend to watch for Cavs fans. Our Cavaliers won’t be back in action until Friday March 20th against the Wizards.
pic credit Cleveland.com