The Cleveland Cavaliers continue to hang tough under the direction of head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, and a few things jump out from their recent games.
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The squad has been banged up, and against the Utah Jazz on Monday, they only had seven regular rotation players available, but hung around for much of the way in a 126-113 loss to a considerably better Utah team, which was encouraging.
Granted, the Cavs would go on to lose to the Boston Celtics 112-106 on Wednesday in a game where Boston was without Kemba Walker (reported left knee rehab), Gordon Hayward (reported right knee contusion) and Jaylen Brown (reported right hamstring strain).
Anyhow, there are three things that have jumped out from Cleveland’s recent games, and the first takeaway is pretty darn obvious.
#1: Collin Sexton is playing out of his mind
Collin Sexton in consecutive games has had new career-highs in scoring with 32 points against the Jazz, and 41 points against the C’s.
With what he’s showing as a bucket-getter, it’s clear that the Young Bull should be with the Wine and Gold for a very long time, and though it’s likely not going to be the case, even if that has to eventually be as a sixth man super sub at some point.
His ability to create space off-the-bounce and finish at all three levels, with ever-improved pick-and-roll feel in how to manipulate his primary defenders stands out. He truly has shown the full array in recent games, and post-All-Star break has been on quite a tear, with 25.4 points per game on 62.9 percent true shooting, including a 46.9 percent three-point shooting clip, according to NBA.com.
The Cavaliers better keep this dude around for a long time, folks.
Along with the gaudy scoring, Bickerstaff touched on how Collin is showing he’s making the right plays. Sexton has averaged 4.0 assists per game post-All-Star break, which I will absolutely take, and he had six assists versus Boston.
As Bickerstaff alluded to, Collin is making the right plays, whether that’s related to him as a scorer or facilitator, and that growth has been outstanding to watch.
So, clearly, Sexton is soaring right now, and the dude seems to be as humble as they come. Plus, with his work ethic, he’s just scratching the surface I believe.
Kevin Love has been as much of a cheerleader for Sexton recently as anybody, which has been awesome to see in its own right, too. Love, who has somewhat quietly played some great ball himself and had 26 points, 14 rebounds and five assists on Wednesday, also spoke glowingly postgame about Collin.
This endorsement from Love highlights how the work Collin’s put in is paying off in a huge way, via Basketball Insiders’ Spencer Davies.
Secondly, the next thing that’s jumped out to me from Cleveland’s recent games is in relation to the unselfishness of this group keeping them in games.