The Cavs just couldn’t get past LeBron James and the Lakers.
The road trip continues for the Cavs, after a stop in Denver, the Cavaliers ended up in Los Angeles for two. Riding a three-game win streak, most recently getting a win over Paul George and the Clippers, the crew from Cleveland had to take on the ever-looming shadow of LeBron James as he led his Lakers into an all-important, early-season matchup against his former team.
The Cavs had been riding high on their three-game win streak, playing fast-paced offense and smothering defense, the Cavaliers were playing like never before. Talks of the team greatly improved became evident. Mostly thanks in part to the additions of Ricky Rubio, Lauri Markkanen, and Evan Mobley.
The Lakers on the other hand had been struggling despite adding Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook and bringing back key veterans like Dwight Howard from their last championship win. The Cavs fell 113-101 on Friday, but stopover in Phoenix on Saturday night before one final away game in Charlotte to end their stretch of road games.
With that, let’s look at the worst and best from Friday’s game.
Cavs can’t overcome LeBron James and the Lakers
As always, the bottom is in descending order with the lowest number being the worst and the top is in ascending order with three being the best.
The Bottom Three Performers
- Collin Sexton
- Jarrett Allen
- Cedi Osman
Cedi Osman went from paying 20+ points a game to not even getting in during garbage time. How a guy who was part of the rotation of a fully-healthy Cavaliers squad can go to not even getting garbage time minutes is concerning. The fact he didn’t play at all gets him the lowest spot on the list.
If you’re paid $100 million, you better make a big impact against big teams during big games. It wasn’t just Jarrett Allen taking only three shots or only pulling in nine rebounds, it was largely due to the -23 +/- he posted, being one of the worst defenders in the game. Granted, the Lakers thrive in the mid-range and Allen would be contesting more shots up close than probably against any other team but still. You’re getting $20 million per year, no excuses.
The worst offender from Friday was Collin Sexton. He went just 2-9, with a box +/- of -19, and just nine points. The Lakers cut him out of the game rather effectively. For those who think he isn’t worth $100 million, the fact he made zero impact against a struggling Lakers team may be the most damning evidence.
The Top Three Performers
- Lauri Markkanen
- Ricky Rubio
- Evan Mobley
Getting the first point of the night is Lauri Markkanen, he edged out Darius Garland for two reasons. The first is due to him having his best shooting night yet as a Cavalier and the second is the six turnovers Garland was responsible for. That dinged his standing.
The two-pointer of the night goes to Ricky Rubio, who continues to be a catalyst for the Cavaliers’ offense; scoring 18 points, four assists, six rebounds, and doing it all on pretty solid shooting effeciency.
Lastly is the rookie Evan Mobley, who got three points for the night. He had 23 points, six rebounds, three assists, two steals, and doing it all while shooting over 60% from the floor.
"1. Tie Ricky Rubio (8 points)2. *TIE* Collin Sexton/Jarrett Allen/Evan Mobley (6 points)3. Kevin Love (4 points)4. Lauri Markkanen (3 points)5. Darius Garland (2 points)6. Cedi Osman (1 point)"