Cavs News: Bickerstaff sounds off, Allen blocks, LeBron is a young 38

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers. (Photo by Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers. (Photo by Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports) /

The past few games haven’t been too fruitful for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Wine and Gold have dropped their last three contests to the Toronto Raptors last week, and then the Brooklyn Nets on Monday and most recently, the Indiana Pacers on Thursday.

In the loss to the Pacers, the Cavaliers defense was seemingly a step slow from the jump, and adding injury to insult, Darius Garland could reportedly miss time, given that he injured his thumb in the fourth quarter in the game. Later in the quarter, he did return, but his hand was wrapped and he was visibly affected.

We’ll keep an eye out for updates on DG to come. But generally, the Cavs do have to correct some things on the road, in what will be a road-heavy month in January ahead.

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Indiana was able to get a bunch of room from beyond the arc consistently against the Wine and Gold’s defense on Thursday night, en route to Indy canning 21 triples. Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield combined to hit 11, and the Pacers as a team connected on 61.3 percent from three-point range, and downed the Cavs in the process.

As a result, and likely given the Cavaliers’ prior two losses also somewhat involved in the process, J.B. Bickerstaff voiced his frustration postgame, via the local Bally Sports affiliate.

Bickerstaff was on the mark with these comments; the Cavaliers are driven by their defense, and at times, teams have taken it to them on that end. Indy has largely been one of those squads thus far this season, despite Cleveland’s fourth quarter comeback in the first meeting between the two on Dec. 16. Obviously, the road struggles for the Cavs has played into some issues, too, and it’s apparent that the Cavs needed to have more urgency on Thursday.

Sure, the Cavs were thin on available players, but the road troubles have not been anything new. So one could understand where Bickerstaff was coming from following the game.

It may have been a bit lost in translation on Thursday, given Cleveland’s perimeter defensive struggles against the Pacers, however, Jarrett Allen was absolutely a bright spot. Allen helped the Cavaliers have a big run early in the fourth, had 13 points in the closing stanza, and despite the L, was very active on both ends on the interior.

He finished the game with 19 points and 14 rebounds, and in the contest, Allen recorded his 500th career block in the NBA (factoring in his days with the Brooklyn Nets prior to Cleveland, too), fanning an Oshae Brissett layup attempt.

Allen’s rim protection and continual defensive improvements in making strides to be a switchable defensive big against a number of perimeter players have led to him being truly invaluable for the Wine and Gold on that end.

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Cavs fans and the NBA world as a whole had to be in awe of LeBron James’ powers on Friday night. The Cavalier legend had 47 points (on 18-of-27 shooting), to go with 10 rebounds and nine assists for his current squad in the Los Angeles Lakers in a W over the Atlanta Hawks on the road. His 16 fourth quarter points drove home the victory as well.

Clint Capela was not in action, but it was still yet another ridiculous performance from James on his 38th birthday. That statline, and what he’s done throughout this season, regardless of L.A.’s team incompetence, still is unbelievable.

The dude is in Year 20, and is doing what he does. That’s GOAT stuff.

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Next up: The Cavaliers close out the 2022 portion of the schedule on Saturday night on the road at the Chicago Bulls in a New Year’s Eve matchup.