Lauri Markkanen and Jarrett Allen return to the Cavs and the Top 3

The Cavs looked great in Nets loss thanks to Lauri Markkanen and Jarrett Allen.

Never has a four-game losing streak felt so good. It sucks that the Cavs went from 9-5 to 9-9 on the season, after their 117-112 loss to the Nets on Monday, but it feels different right now. That feeling could always change, sure, but the Cavaliers took three of the best teams and gave them their best while banged up significantly. With the return of Lauri Markkanen and Jarrett Allen to the lineup, the then three-game losing streak looked like it could be over.

Unfortunately, while the Cavs played The Nets very tough, they couldn’t close out the game. All things said, the Cavaliers have not looked this good in years and they’ve been dealing with significant injuries as of late. You need to see far more efficiency from guys like Ricky Rubio and Darius Garland but the team is still without two of their better players. While Collin Sexton is done for the year,  Evan Mobley will return soon.

So there’s hope. Now, onto the Top 3.

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 Top 3 from the Nets and Cavs clash in Cleveland.

The Bottom Three Performers

  1. Ricky Rubio
  2. Kevin Love
  3. Darius Garland

Four turnovers, 33% from the floor, and a -12 (box +/-) were the big takeaways from Ricky Rubio’s game against the Nets. He’s a great and needed piece, but let’s be honest, one more made shot and one less turnover is the difference between the Cavs winning and losing. Rubio has to cut down on his turnovers and has to be more efficient from the field. He’s never been the most efficient scorer but he has to find a way to improve this year.

This one is baffling, as Love had 12 rebounds in 17 minutes but again, only played 17 minutes. He looked good when he played but he really needed to get more minutes and I’m not sure why he didn’t.

This is controversial because some will see “27 points” and go “WhY dO YoU hAtE DaRiUs”. I don’t. Garland played a good, but not great game. He’s on the lower end of this list for a reason. He did do a lot right. He played solid defense, against mostly the Nets’ third options, and was very good at passing the ball. He also shot 33% from the floor. That’s terrible, just horrible efficiency. The team lost the game because they shot 36% from the floor as a team (vs. the Nets 47%). If Garland is the best player on the team, he better play like it in all facets.

The Top Three Performers

  1. Isaac Okoro
  2. Jarrett Allen
  3. Lauri Markkanen

Isaac Okoro gets one point for two simple reasons. He held James Harden to just 14 points and was able to outscore Harden by one point. For Okoro specifically, 15 points is like 30 for anyone else, it’s a big deal. To hit 15 while locking down Harden? Props, kid. Props.

20 points and 15 rebounds are all you need from Jarrett Allen to win a game. Usually, just not on Monday. Allen did everything you were paying him to do. If the team just hit two or three more shots throughout the game, the Cavaliers would’ve won.

Three points go to Lauri Markkanen who maybe had his most complete game yet as a Cavaliers. While Dean Wade deserves some love for holding Kevin Durant to just 17 points from the field (a feat in its own right), Markkanen deserves the most credit for just being everywhere on the court. Finally back from his layoff, Markkanen arguably never looked better as a Cavalier. He dropped 22 points, eight rebounds and his constant defensive pressure has resulted in a lot of stunted Nets’ possessions. He’s just too long.

Yearly Standing:

  1. Ricky Rubio (22 points)
  2. *TIE* Jarrett Allen/Darius Garland (18 points)
  3. Evan Mobley (12 points)
  4. Cedi Osman(11 points)
  5. Lauri Markkanen (9 points)
  6. Kevin Love (8 points)
  7. Dean Wade (3 points)
  8. *TIE* Isaac Okoro/Dylan Windler (1 point)