The Cavs got handed their fourth loss in six games as the Timberwolves of all teams knocked them off with a final of 109-104.
The Cavs lost to the Timberwolves on Sunday, falling 109-104. Cleveland has issues with turnovers and shooting, both of them were severely on display against the Timberwolves on Sunday night. Andre Drummond, Collin Sexton, and Darius Garland combined for 12 turnovers on the night. Made worse by the fact that the Timberwolves had eight total as a team.
Those three turning the ball over isn’t a new thing, and it’s becoming the biggest issue on the team. With the team unable to generate much offense shooting outside of the arc, the team can’t afford to turn the ball over as much as they are. They’re unable to overcome moderate deficits and need a lead to hold onto late in the game if they’re going to hold off opposing teams.
The problem is, you need good passing and good defense to do that.
The ball movement that was defining the team during their hot start has all but fallen off since Garland returned to the lineup, and Sexton’s score-first mentality is proving to be an issue. Maybe on their own, these things won’t be the biggest of issues, but these combined are causing the team to really stagnate.
No impact with starting five
It’s time to rethink the starting five. Garland isn’t working out as many had hoped. It’s not his scoring, but his defense, which is to say he has none. With Garland’s inability to play defense (or unwillingness) and Isaac Okoro’s issues with shooting, the Cavs are essentially playing four-on-five with the current starting five.
2-4 with Darius Garland playing significant minutes
The Cavs have a problem and right now and it may be as simple as moving Garland from the starting-five. The team has no flow anymore, and part of it is the return of Garland. These are similar problems the team had last year. The team should consider what his long-term fit is with this team sooner rather than later.
The team needs a real point guard
Neither Sexton nor Garland appears to be the point guard the team needs. They both have talents the team could use, but neither of them has the skills, or desire, to be unselfish at the point. Moving Sexton to shooting guard, and bringing in someone like a Rajon Rondo-type who plays pass-first basketball would really help this team.
Three-point shooting is pathetic
The Cavs shot just 25% from three-point against the Timberwolves. Cedi Osman, and Dylan Windler, arguably the team’s two best three-point shooters, had just two attempts all game. The team really went really heavy shooting around the paint, trying to take advantage of the fact that the Timberwolves didn’t have Karl-Anthony Towns. Not that Towns would’ve been a force defensively, but still. The Cavs either need to sign a three-point shooter, or trade for one if they hope to compete.