What We Learned: Cavs vs Nets

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The Cavs traveled to Brooklyn to take on a Nets team that is fighting to make the playoffs. Cleveland found themselves in a tighter game then most expected, and weren’t able to pull out the win. The Cavs just didn’t have it working on Friday night and lost 106-98. Here’s what we learned.

• The Cavs aren’t invincible. While at times Cleveland looks unbeatable, they still aren’t. They can still struggle on defense at times and that’s what cost them in this one. They also allowed Brooklyn to have 54 points off the bench, we know that’s not something the Cavs are going to let happen consistently. At the end of the day this was just one loss and it’s nothing to worry about too much. If the Cavs play like this a couple games in a row, then there’s reason to get concerned.

• Cleveland can have off nights from behind the arc. The Cavs were only 8 for 30 (27%) from behind the arc in the loss. Their most consistent 3 point shooters J.R. Smith and Kyrie Irving were a combined 3 for 14 from distance. The Cavs offense isn’t built around their 3 point shooting, but we all know how much it benefits them when they’re hitting their shots. Brooklyn was able to focus more of their pressure in the post because of the Cavs inconsistency from behind the 3 point line.

• Timofey Mozgov can struggle at times against dominate centers. Brook Lopez tore the Cavs up inside and finished with 20 points. Not all of those points were against Mozgov, but many of them were. Mozgov finished with only 2 points and 5 rebounds in the 17 minutes of action he saw. Coach Blatt elected to go with Thompson down the stretch of the game which appeared to be a better move. Mozov was having a tough time handling the speed and offense of Lopez.

 Iman Shumpert is continuing to impress us. Shump finished with an effective 9 points on 4 of 9 shooting in this one. You have to love the energy he brings this team off the bench. His contribution will prove to be big in the playoffs.

• Kevin Love had another solid night. This really shouldn’t be a story, but it is because of all the media manufactured drama that is surrounding the Cavs’ power forward. Love finished with 18 points and 7 boards in this one. Those are exactly the numbers you want from your power forward! You can’t ask for much more than that from your 3rd scoring option. Contrary to popular opinion, he is fitting into his role. While his numbers are down significantly from Minnesota, that doesn’t mean he isn’t still as dominate as he was there. He’s now averaging 17 points and 10 boards a game this year this year. What else do you expect from him? So for all of you who want to get rid of Love, what power forward out there is going to put up numbers like that for us? I’m going to say none if any.

• This is a classic case of a letdown game after a huge win. Cleveland has been on the road for the better part of the last month, and they’ve done great. The Wine and Gold lacked energy in this one, and who can blame them. 13 of their last 17 games are on the road. There’s no one person to blame for this one. You can’t say Blatt can’t motivate his players or LeBron isn’t a good leader. This game boiled down to one team that was fighting for their playoff lives, and another team that was just plain worn out. Don’t overreact about this game. The Cavs are fine!

• Cleveland will most likely be a two seed in the East. The Atlanta Hawks clinched the top spot in the East with a win against Miami. I don’t believe this will prove to be that big of a deal for the Cavaliers. We all know they have what it takes to win on the road. The Cavs are currently 2.5 games above Chicago for 2nd place in the East with only 8 games remaining.

Players of the Game: The Net’s bench (54 points)

Cleveland will be back home Sunday to face the Sixers. I expect a team that looks much more alive then.

– Jackson Flickinger

pic credit Cleveland.com

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