This was a tough one for Cavs fans to swallow. It’s terrible to see such a thrilling game end like this. But at the end of the day it only counts as one loss. Here’s what we learned from the 105-103 overtime loss to the Rockets.

• Timofey Mozgov won’t play if the opposing team is using a small lineup. David Blatt chose to go with a smaller lineup comprised of Tristian Thompson and Kevin Love in the later stages of the game. Blatt didn’t like the matchup of Mozgov against a smaller lineup. I can understand going stretches without Mozgov, but I don’t understand only playing him 18 minutes. I think the Cavs should’ve used their size to an advantage over the Rockets. I believe they played into their hands by trying to go with a smaller lineup. That’s just my opinion. That being said Thompson did have an amazing game, I just would’ve used Mozgov some too.

• Tristian Thompson can deliver in big time situations. TT finished with 14 points and 19 boards. That’s a good day. He showed us how dominant of a rebounder he can be. His playing time has decreased with the addition of Mozgov and Perkins, but he still showed us how good he can be.

• The Cavs look a lot like the 2010 team when Kyrie Irving isn’t out there. The biggest difference between this team and the 2010 team is Irving. Kyrie has provided that consistent 2nd option for LeBron all year, especially in the clutch. The Cavs missed that element on Sunday afternoon. Late in the game the defense collapsed on LeBron and tried to force someone else to beat them. That’s something teams can’t do when Kyrie is out there. There’s no doubt in my mind that the Cavs would’ve won this game if Irving was healthy.

• LeBron can still shut down the other team’s best player late in the game. James guarded Harden late in the game, and didn’t let him get anything. He showed us that he can still shut down the opposing team’s star. That’s something I expect to see him do more of when the playoffs roll around.

• James Jones’ roll on this team continues to grow. He started on Friday night against Indiana and played significant minutes Sunday afternoon against the Rockets. He helped the Cavs climb back into the game with a couple huge 3’s earlier in the 4th quarter. Could we expect Jones to play 15 minutes a game from here on out? We’ll just have to wait and see.

• We can forget about a dominating game, with just a few missed free throws. LeBron finished with 37/4/8, but that doesn’t matter when you miss 2 free throws when the game is on the line. I could’ve spent the whole recap talking about LeBron’s poor free throw shooting. He missed free throws in the biggest part of the game and finished 3-11 from the line. We could go on and on about how Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant would’ve never missed those free throws and how LeBron will never be great like them, but that’s a ridiculous argument. You can’t tell me Jordan and Bryant made every clutch free throw throughout their careers. LBJ was just off at the foul line. It’s a shame to see such a great game forgotten about because of a couple missed free throws. The only reason the Cavs were in even the game was because of LeBron. You can criticize him all you want, but without his 37 points Cleveland gets blown out in this one.

Player of the Game: James Harden: (33/5/8) He made the clutch plays for the Rockets when he needed to.

The Cavs will be back in action Tuesday against Boston. Don’t get too discouraged Cavs fans. It’s only a regular season game. LeBron won’t miss free throws like that in the playoffs.

 

Jackson Flickinger

Pic credit: cleveland.com

 

 

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