Though the team was able to put together their first win following a 6-game losing streak (and losing 9 out of the last 11) against the Lakers, it was nowhere near convincing enough to believe that the Cavs might be able to put together a complete enough game to win against a team like the Clippers. Throw in the fact that Love sat the game out with back-spasms and you have quite an impressive win.
Now, on to the game notes...
- This team has an absolutely fantastic starting unit, but an unfortunately dreadful bench. Without Love playing, the starters of James-Irving-Thompson-Smith-Mosgov ended up outscoring the bench 113-13. Getting Love back and having a healthy Shumpert will hopefully assist with this, but it's still a major area of need going forward
- On a related note, the Clippers released backup point guard Jordan Farmar yesterday, who is rumored to be on the Cavs radar. While Farmar might not be the most exciting prospect, he would be easily obtainable and a more veteran option over the struggling Delly.
- While the bench is struggling, the Cavs rely heavily on James and Irving to carry the load, which they showed that they are more than capable of doing. Irving put up 37 points on 67% shooting and James added 32 on 48% shooting. Not many teams can hope to get that out of even their star players.
- Perhaps the most surprising stat-line of the night was Tristan, who added 24 points and 12 rebounds on a 10/12 shooting night. It seems that Thompson is developing the same chemistry with LeBron that Varejao previously had, which is very promising. TT might end up at least looking like he is worth the contract he'll inevitably get this offseason.
- A less-bright note on the night was that Mozgov was completely decimated inside by the likes of Jordan and Griffin, giving up a combined 21/31 shooting night for 53 points. We all knew that Mozzy wouldn't be a brick wall underneath, but I think we all hoped for a bit better of a showing.
- Chris and I discussed this morning the one topic that will surely come up in all the social media posts today: The Cavs had their best offensive showing of the year without Kevin Love. It's starting to become obvious that Love just isn't clicking with the Cavs yet, and he certainly isn't helping on the defensive side of the floor. If this goes on too much longer, can the Cavs afford to keep Love through the trade deadline? Would it be worth dealing him for a few young role-players that might bring more of a complete game? (example trade scenario, comment as you wish: Link)
- The Cavs managed to finish off a dreadful west coast trip with a couple good wins. Now they get to play 6 of the next 7 at home, with only 4 of the opponents over .500. With 13 games before the all-star break, going on a mini-run would be a perfect "righting of the ship" and would hopefully back the media criticism of the team, and most importantly Blatt. Remember, winning is the solution to all turmoil.
Check back later in the day, as we'll add more notes as more stories come out on the game.