Cavs: Sunday vs. DAL was reminder of Collin Sexton’s competitiveness

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton goes for a loose ball. (Photo by Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton goes for a loose ball. (Photo by Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Cleveland Cavaliers have been really banged up recently, and the likes of Larry Nance Jr. (fractured right thumb) and Matthew Dellavedova (neck strain), Taurean Prince (left ankle surgery) and Dylan Windler (left knee surgery) have been sidelined for a stretch here. They are set to be out through the end of the season, which wraps up this week.

It hasn’t aided Cleveland from a competitive standpoint that Darius Garland has missed the last five games (left ankle sprain).

Point being, the Cavaliers are not exactly closing the season out on a high note; that’s not the case for the team overall. There have been positive signs though, as Isaac Okoro’s offense has been coming along, Garland again had his best month as a pro last month, and Dean Wade, for example, has been helping on both ends often.

As KJG’s Amadou Sow alluded to, Collin Sexton made his presence felt as usual this past week, even while the uber-injury-riddled Cavaliers were blown out in those outings in the end result. That was in three of those, and the Phoenix Suns L on Tuesday featured Cleveland being crushed in overtime; albeit Okoro’s career night was noteworthy from that one.

In more so a general sense though, Sexton has still been productive, and I’m not glossing over what he’s been doing. He had been on a tear even before missing three outings with a concussion, and since that return, he’s had 23.7 points, 5.3 assists and 4.2 rebounds in his six games back from that.

Garland being inactive for most of that stretch has likely played into a playmaking splits uptick, but Sexton has still been getting it done even with the squad so banged up and the season winding down. Now, Cleveland has lost 10 straight currently, for the second time this campaign; even so, I’m not crushing Sexton for that.

He’s been making continued strides with his growth throughout this season, and the competitiveness he shows night-in and night-out still is meaningful to me. That was shown in Sunday’s game versus the Dallas Mavericks.

Mavs superstar Luka Doncic was ejected early on in the third quarter after an exchange on a defensive rebound situation for him in which he and Sexton were fighting for a board, and Doncic would end up hitting Sexton in the groin. That resulted in a flagrant 2, and although that was not reportedly intentional, or apparently was not, it’s evident that Sexton won’t back down from anybody.

Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff had some to add on that sort of thing in early April, via Chris Fedor of

Fedor noted how Sexton and former Toronto Raptors guard Norman Powell got into a dustup of sorts in a prior game last month against Toronto in a win, and Kyle Lowry essentially relayed how it’s about respecting the opponent beyond the game. From there, Fedor pointed out how Sexton in Cleveland’s last game at the Raptors, an L, featured Toronto center Chris Boucher snubbing Sexton on a high-five postgame.

Here were those comments from Bickerstaff, via Fedor.

"“With Collin, and I think it’s unique to today’s game, he doesn’t try to befriend everybody,” Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff said in early April. “A lot of these guys are friends from the AAU circuit and agents and all that stuff. Collin goes out there and hoops and he doesn’t care who’s in front of him. He’s not trying to build relationships. He’s trying to go out and compete. And I love that about Collin.”"

Sunday’s Cavs game versus Dallas was a reminder of Sexton being the ultimate competitor.

Sexton didn’t make an issue of that exchange with Doncic, and as Fedor highlighted, just simply brushed it off as a part of basketball, which is typical Collin.

This Sunday outing, well with the thing with Luka really, was just another reminder that Sexton’s going to go out and hoop, and not be worried about the aesthetics/potential relationship-building, as Bickerstaff hit on above via Fedor.

Point being, it’s nice to know that game-in and game-out, Sexton is just focused on competing and not an AAU-type approach, which is somewhat rare in today’s league, as Bickerstaff mentioned above.

That’s not to say Collin wouldn’t play with other notable guys at some point, for what it’s worth, and the Cavaliers need to further build around him, such as nailing their selection in the 2021 NBA Draft.

Moreover, as this Sunday game showed, though, even while it was a forgettable one overall, and the club is sliding, Sexton is going to compete with the best of em, regardless of the Cavs’ injury situation and so many key pieces sidelined.

Needless to say, this Young Bull won’t back down from anybody, and looking onward, that’s encouraging to know as a Cavaliers fan.

The club needs to do what they have to in locking him up long-term this offseason, and that will reportedly appear to play out seemingly before next season.

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If the Cavs can keep building this gradually with another high pick, and perhaps sign a free agent contributor such as Patty Mills or Frank Ntilikina, that’d be well on the right track. It’s nice to know what they have in Sexton hopefully night-to-night moving forward, though.