The Cleveland Cavaliers (7-13) rebounded quite nicely after an embarrassing loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night, playing a defensive‐minded game that allowed them to squeeze past the Los Angeles Clippers (13-8) at Quicken Loans Arena. Cleveland held the Clippers to under 85 points, something that we’re used to seeing from the Wine & Gold, in a 88‐82 winning effort. Both teams started out hot, but soon went flat, but it was Los Angeles that struggled the most from the field. After a rough night, Dion Waiters was able to connect on one free throw to put Cleveland up one and then aggressively rebounded his second miss to seal the deal.
Key Play to the Game
Jarrett Jack’s half‐court attempt from 39 feet out helped lessen the six‐point blow that Cleveland took with just 27 seconds remaining in the third quarter, bringing the Cavaliers to within one to start the final quarter of play. It seemed as if this play really fired up the Cavaliers, especially Kyrie Irving, who bounced back from an 0 of 9 night and helped the Cavs open up a double‐digit lead at the halfway point of the final frame. The Cavaliers could have went into the last 12 minutes down four and reeling, but the boost that Jack’s shot gave the team‐‐his only effective play of the night‐‐ propelled Cleveland to victory with a nice momentum boost after last game’s effortless performance against Atlanta. The Cavs outscored the Clips 21-16 in the final quarter, their best defensive frame of the night.
Wine & Gold MVP
The Cavalier bigs dominated at home once again, and this time Tristan Thompson and Andrew Bynum led the way without much help from Wild Thing. The two dominated next to each other (and even Tristan saw some time alone at center), combining for 38 points and 1\9 rebounds, while shooting 53.6 percent from the field. Thompson also recorded his 10th double‐double with a 20/13 performance, good for sixth in the League. TT was the most aggressive Cavalier early on, as he showed no hesitation going up against DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin despite having some tough battles ending in blocked or contested shots. But on the defensive side is where we really saw Cleveland’s front court dominate, forcing the Clippers to shoot 32.2 percent from the field. Jamal Crawford was held to 3 of 12 (27.8 percent), Griffin to 2 of 10 (25 percent) and Chris Paul to 4 of 14 shooting (25 percent), a very uncharacteristic night by the All‐Star point guard. Cleveland’s ability to fight hard in the paint and fight for defensive boards forced LA to try an outside attack, which almost helped them surge past the Cavaliers at the end of the third quarter, forced the Clips in putting up 35 three‐ pointers, making seven of them. So the combo of Thompson and Bynum take the cake in this matchup.
Coach Brown Breakdown
Just like the two past wins against Chicago and Denver at home, Mike Brown is making the most out of his bigs. Being that one of his goals was to transform Cleveland into a defensive‐minded team with his second tenure as the Wine & Gold coach, Andrew Bynum, Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao are making Brown pleased with the way Cleveland has played teams at home. They’re a young team, so winning on the road will come with time, but playing an elite team like the Clippers with a seasoned coach and multiple All‐Stars, it was nice to see the Cavs rebound after taking a beating against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night. Traveling back to Cleveland the very next day for a game after a deflated performance would usually result in a blowout loss, but the Cavs actually had some fight in them Saturday evening. The players are sick of the consistency issues, so if Brown can find some stability with his bigs, then this team can finally start piecing lineups together. Right now, Thompson is the No. 1 guy benefiting from Brown’s lineup changes, and it looks like Bynum is following right behind him. If Varejao can get back into the offensive rhythm he was last season, watch out.
— Cory O’Connor (@CoryO24) December 8, 2013
Dellavedova is turning into that guy at your summer job who gets like 10 hour a week because your boss needs to fill the schedule.
— Chris Manning (@cwmwrites) December 8, 2013
Irving slices through Clippers defense, CP slams ball to ground in frustration. #Cavs push lead to 82-72, 5:01 left.
— Jason Lloyd (@JasonLloydABJ) December 8, 2013
Kyrie looks alive, Cavs are talking on defense. I’m so confused.
— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) December 8, 2013
— Wilson G Handyside (@FuznFancy) December 8, 2013
The Cavaliers will see the New York Knicks (5‐13) at Quicken Loans Arena on Tuesday, which may seem like a game that would result in Cleveland’s second two‐game winning streak of the season (baby steps!). The Knicks are currently coming off of two blowout victories over the Brooklyn Nets and Orlando Magic, holding both teams to 83 points and scoring well over triple digits. It’s been a nice treat seeing the Cavaliers play at home thus far, so let’s cherish it before they travel down to Florida next weekend for matchups with Orlando and Miami. Before the Knicks head to Cleveland, however, they have a game at home against Boston to take care of first. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Q on Tuesday.