Keeping up with the Cleveland Cavaliers so far this season

The Cleveland Cavaliers faced off with three of the league's best in the week before Thanksgiving and finished 2-1 without Spida Man. Here are some observations.
Craig Porter Jr., Cleveland Cavaliers
Craig Porter Jr., Cleveland Cavaliers / Jason Miller/GettyImages
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In-Season Tournament in Philly

In Philadelphia, the Cavaliers earned a difficult road win in the In-Season Tournament and demolished the 76ers’ interior defenses for 68 points. This match featured 13 lead changes and 11 ties with overtime.

Allen was the leading scorer in the first half, getting it done on the break and on rim rolls after his handoff. DG and Strus combined for 10 of 17 buckets in that stretch. And CPJ put on an encore with six dimes plus eight points going at Embiid in transition, and hitting a fader in the lane over Nic Batum, who is six inches taller (what?).

Defensively through two quarters, Cleveland allowed just two second-chance points while Embiid was on the floor for nearly 16 minutes and prevented two-thirds of Philly’s triples from falling due to playing tight and quick switching.

Cleveland contained the heavys (Embiid, Tyrese Maxey) to 37.5 percent shooting in the next half, but they took 12 of Philly’s 14 remaining free throws in the fourth quarter despite the Cavaliers attempting more shots in the paint late.

The game was tied at 108 with 16 seconds left in the fourth. Patrick Beverley, of all people, got by Allen, who was in no man’s land between the corner and wing and drove into the post for a 14-foot floater. Timeout Cavaliers.

Off the sideline inbound, Beverley locked and trailed Garland but couldn’t keep up with him when Dean Wade fed the ball to the elbow and fouled him. Next, DG buried two freebies, and TT forced Embiid’s 20-foot miss, sending the duel to OT.

In extra time, DG was cold, missing all four, but Allen and Porter bailed out the Cavs. J.A. went at Embiid again off the handoff and finished two baskets after a quick pass to the dunker spot. Porter, in a minute with change, seized the baseline and met Embiid at the summit for a successful two-foot layup.

With two seconds left, Wade deflected an inbound to Batum over to Allen. The Cavs won 122-119.

Allen got most of the time matched up with Joel Embiid, held him to 50% shooting and forced five turnovers. Tristan Thompson also got fewer than four minutes on the MVP yet permitted one of six baskets to fall. On three possessions against TT, Embiid preferred to pull-up and missed.

This victory pushed Cleveland’s road record to 5-3. Of note, Cleveland was the nastier team in an important game without key guys available, contesting five more tries than Philly and accumulating eight additional screen assists.