Covering the arc was a mix of gambles and decent contests, yet the Nuggets logged 46% of their triples in the first half on a low volume. Cleveland got bold sagging off the corners against a team that connects on 41.3 percent of its tries in the spot. It conceded four of seven baskets in 42 minutes before Malone yanked his guys.
At the top of the key, Cleveland was late and undisciplined in the first half. The first triple it gave up was because of Aaron Gordon catching Max Strus in a mismatch in the post. Evan Mobley went for the steal and couldn’t drop back in time for help, requiring Dean Wade to overcommit from the left side. This exposed the wing for a banger by Michael Porter Jr.
The next hurt the Cavaliers because Strus was railroaded by Joker’s off-ball screen and couldn’t catch Porter at the top. Following that, Darius Garland went under Zeke Nnaji’s pick at the key, getting shot over by Jackson.
Then in the second half, Cleveland allowed just a third of the Champs’ buckets from the top to drop. Wade locked and trailed quickly against Porter, getting inches from his body, forcing a miss. Strus also legally got into M. Porter from 34 feet out when he had to bail out Denver‘s offense. And Niang closed out swiftly against Julian Strawther on a kickout.
In the second half before garbage time, Cleveland held Denver to two of nine 3-point makes.