CLEVELAND, Ohio – They say experience is the best teacher. The Cleveland Cavaliers will receive a master class in high level tires over the next few weeks.
That began Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Clippers, who earned the Cavs their fifth loss in their last seven games (121-99).
After the schedule was released, some members of the organization circled this daunting first half stretch as one that would show them how far they have come – and how far they have yet to go. Internally, they have adjusted to it. With playoff talks around town thanks to a quick and fun start and players citing that as a goal, next week’s plus will go a long way in determining how doable that is.
Cleveland’s next nine games, including an upcoming West Coast road trip starting this weekend in Phoenix, are against playoff teams.
Though the Cavs fought half a Wednesday and were three points behind a spirited second-quarter rise at break, they couldn’t keep up with star-studded LA for four quarters. In the NBA there is a clear difference between the elite and the young. The Clippers led by Tyronn Lue sent this harsh reminder.
When Los Angeles came into play with the second-best record in the league, after not losing two straight losses throughout the season, it chose not to rest any of its regulars on the second night of a duel, with both records intact.
After Paul George’s breakout in the second half, the Clippers beat Cleveland 69-50 in the final 24 minutes. George poured 36 points, including 25 in the second half, drilling long-range jumpers over a host of defenders and in front of Cleveland’s Leadership row opposite the home bank. Kawhi Leonard added 24 points to 9-of-14 off the field.
Too much talent. Too much firepower for the Cavs who are struggling to break the 100 point mark while also seeing a defensive loss lately.
Collin Sexton, who wrote early Wednesday morning that the Cavs were “back on the map,” confirmed these words from an individual standpoint, finishing them with 27 points and five assists. His backyard mate Darius Garland added 23 points. Andre Drummond, returning from an absence from a game with a sore lower back, had an inefficient 13 points at the 4-of-13 off the field.
While the Cavs overtook the Clippers inside and won the color battle 58-36, the Clippers had a 48-point advantage from the 3-point range. George hit eight of these triplets, doubling Cleveland’s overall performance.
Time to get your pen and notebook ready. The Cavs go to school. You will soon learn a lot about yourself.
New Cavs Face Masks For Sale: Here, you can purchase Cleveland Cavaliers-themed face covers for coronavirus protection, including a single mask ($ 14.99) and a 3-pack ($ 24.99). All NBA proceeds were donated to charity.
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National Day of Girls and Women in Sports
The Cavs are one of the few teams with an assistant coach. Lindsay Gottlieb was recognized during one of the downtime on Wednesday evening for the National Day of Girls and Women in Sports.
“Lindsay is great,” said Cav’s head coach JB Bickerstaff. “In addition to intelligence and basketball intelligence and being a great person, she also brings calm to the employees. Sometimes I don’t know if you’ve noticed, I can be a little nervous. And she brings me back great, and so do the guys. But give someone who is trustworthy, someone to rely on when times are good or when times are bad. I couldn’t say enough positive things about Lindsay. “
Kevin Love gets closer
Kevin Love, who has been on hiatus since December 27th due to high calf strain, had to complete individual training on Wednesday – a positive sign of his imminent return.
“He moved and looks good,” said Bickerstaff. “He says he feels good. Obviously we’ll be smart as we bring him back. But it’s great to see him on the floor doing basketball activities, and not just in the training room. “
The Cavs will continue their homestand against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night. The tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.