Cleveland Cavaliers: Bad Third Quarter Ruins Upset, Snaps Win Streak
Well, that was an abomination. The Cleveland Cavaliers were thumped on Friday night by the Milwaukee Bucks by a score of 117-102.
After a great first half, it felt like the Cavs were in a great spot to win a big game on the road. Then, for the second straight game against the Bucks, the Cavs absolutely fell apart in the third quarter.
Brutal Third Quarter Haunts Cavs
35-10. Cleveland lost the third quarter 35-10. Bad shooting quarters happen, but the Cavs were hardly getting shots up on most possessions. They only managed to put up 19 shots the entire quarter while turning the ball over five times, and committing horrible fouls in the process.
It’s hard to take any positives from this game because the second half was so bad. Donovan Mitchell continued his hot scoring streak with a team-high 29 points. He had the second-highest +/- of any starter for Cleveland, but that’s only due to Jarrett Allen’s hip injury.
Jarrett Allen Hurt Again
All reports are saying the Cavs will be taking it day-to-day with Allen, but hip injuries tend to linger. Hopefully, he’s just sore from his hard fall early in the first, and there's no damage to the hip or area around it. The Cavs have been a whole different team this year without Allen on the court, and that was in full effect once again today.
Evan Mobley and Robin Lopez were in charge of holding it down without Allen and they looked terrible. Mobley couldn’t get an open shot off all night with Giannis Antetoukonmpo and Brook Lopez blocking most of his shots in the paint. Brook’s brother was fine on offense but was abused in the second half on defense. Whoever had the ball was looking to pick on Robin at any chance possible.
JB Bickerstaff Out-Coached?
The worst part of this loss was Cavs head coach JB Bickerstaff getting completely dominated in his second-half adjustments. Robin had a very solid first half defensively against Giannis, but then the Bucks adjusted. Cleveland never answered and left him on an island the whole second half.
I’m not one of those fans calling for Bickerstaff’s head, because he’s coached very well recently, especially with all the injuries to our depth; however, there's been a growing trend of teams making halftime adjustments, and blowing out the Cavs in the third quarter.
Maybe that's on Bickerstaff, maybe it’s on the players getting too complacent, but something has to give.
The whole blame cannot be placed on this roster. This is the second straight year where the front office has not prioritized getting defensive depth from a backup center. It’s time to start calling other GM’s for some low-cost depth pieces, or maybe just giving Moses Brown another call to fill in if Allen is out for any length of time.
Overall, this was a disappointing Cavs game, but this team needs to have a short memory to regroup against Detroit on Sunday.
You cannot let this Bucks game beat you more than once. The Cavs' schedule lightens up here for a little bit, with a long home stand right around the corner. Take care of business, and stay in contention in the East. This team’s too good for games like that to happen again.
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