A game after beating the Oklahoma City Thunder the Cleveland Cavaliers had to come back and play the lowly Utah Jazz Friday night at the Q. The game started out slowly with the Cavs down 7 after the 1st quarter and 2 going into halftime. The game turned quickly in the third quarter as the Cavs outscored the Jazz 30 – 19. The fourth quarter had a similar feel and the exact same score, 30 – 19. A few takeaways from the quality win that puts the Cavs just 3.5 games back of the 8th seed in the East:
The addition of Spencer Hawes has created a significantly different offensive system then we are used to seeing with this Cavaliers team. Hawes will pick and roll, pick and pop and slip screens that allows Kyrie Irving, Jarrett Jack and Luol Deng the space needed to make plays. Mike Brown took to playing Tyler Zeller along with Hawes giving the Cavs twin towers who can shoot from at least 15 feet and can provide resistance in the paint defensively. This has allowed for a variety of plays to be run that haven’t bee used in the past. Many are similar to those run in Phoenix when they had big men who could shoot. Bringing over the Suns offensive coordinator is now paying dividends when the talent on the floor fits.
Fan On The Court
We won’t do a separate write-up with the video, or even give much attention here. Just to say another fan ran onto the court. For the Cavs this has become a big issue. One time isn’t as concerning but with the Cavs its not become a normal way of life. Knowledge of these types of things means people are more likely to do it themselves. Generally speaking these are not fans who are closest to the court, those who spend big money for tickets, figuring out how to stop fans as they come down needs to be figured out.
Anthony Bennett was out this game, and is a game time decision tonight in Memphis. Bennett joins Dion Waiters, Anderson Varejao and CJ Miles out for the game. Losing 4 of your top 9 or 10 players can be a death blow for many teams. Instead the Cavs, after losing 3, have come back strong in the last 2 games. Many players have played big minutes including Zeller and Tristan Thompson having to be out on the court during the 20 point blow out. Bennett could play tonight but the other three will continue to be out. The depth, especially the bigs, has been really important. Tonight fighting against Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph the trio of Hawes, Zeller and Thompson will have some heavy lifting. Hopefully Bennett can give the team some minutes and 10 day contract guy, who looks like an athletic refrigerator, Arinze Onuaku could also get some minutes to get beat on by those two big guys. Remember that guarding Gasol is what caused Varejao’s injury 9 games ago.
Irving had his first triple double last night. Those numbers are impressive but it was his actual game play that was more impactful. Irving dug down on post ups assisting his big men. He fought through screens. He shared the ball instead of playing isolation basketball. He was aggressive in going for rebounds and 50/50 balls. He was seen coaching up the other players as they came off the court even as the team was up big in the 3rd and 4th quarter. Something has flipped for Irving. Whether its the increased spacing, that he realizes that Mike Brown isn’t going anywhere or something in his personal life, Irving seems different in a great way. His wave to the fans, and the huge smile, was an exciting ending to this game.
Anything we missed that you thought was big for the game? Do you think the Cavs are able to make the playoffs or like ESPN just said is it a “lost season”?