Status of Cleveland Cavaliers Heading into All-Star Break
The Cavs blew a 17-point lead and found a way to lose a tight one. TJ McConnell had the first triple-double with steals in the NBA in 23 years, and they turned it over 25 times. When you consider both of those things and that you lost Darius Garland in the third quarter, it was going to be hard to sustain a win.
There are still some positives, though. Let’s talk about them.
Collin Sexton: Dime Dropper?
Even though he didn’t have any assists after halftime, Collin Sexton did something against the Pacers that he hadn’t done in 23 months. He dished out 10 of them and made sure to keep teammates involved for the first 24 minutes of the game. Whether it was firing passes to an open Dean Wade or throwing lobs to Jarrett Allen and JaVale McGee, he was rolling. He had 14 points and those 10 dimes in the first half.
This came after the game against Houston, where Sexton dropped eight assists. He has never been known for his assist totals and has drawn (too much) ire from the media. But if anything, the shooting guard has proven these last two games that he a lot more than just a scorer. His passing has gotten better every year, and it’s when he shares the floor with Darius Garland that he’s at his best.
When that’s the case, Collin can be a scorer and also a facilitator to his running mate.
Future Role for Dean Wade?
It took a year and then another 31 games for the Cavs to get a real look at Dean Wade on an NBA floor. He had never gotten many minutes and was always pulled after short stretches. With Love and Nance remaining out, they chose to give him the starting nod. He responded by proving his ability as an effective three-point shooter and rebounder.
Wade is a player that works hard and knows not to take these opportunities for granted. Even though the Cavs lost to Indiana on Wednesday, he scored a career-high 17 points. He knocked down each of the first five threes he put up. This is a player that was a total stud at Kansas State and belongs in the NBA. Cleveland is very forward-heavy, but perhaps there could be a role for Wade moving forward.
Knowing he can shoot as well as he can, perhaps the Cavs can find some spot minutes for the new D Wade.
Figuring Things Out
The Cavs did lose to Indiana, but they also didn’t have Darius Garland for much of the second half. As a result, Damyean Dotson logged a long stretch of minutes in the second half after not playing in the first. His rhythm was way off, aside from a quick layup at the start of the fourth.
But Cleveland had four wins in a row and was a tough injury away from making it five. Give all the credit in the world to TJ McConnell, but Darius doesn’t get hurt, and it is a Cavs win.
Things are looking up. 4-1 in the last five games after being 0-10. Improvement.
The Cavs' next game is March 12 vs. New Orleans.
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