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When the Cavaliers wrapped up their six-game road trip last weekend and returned for a three-game homestand against three of the Eastern Conference’s struggling squads. It seemed like a perfect opportunity to right the ship.
That has not been the case.
The Cavs surrendered another big third quarter, gave up another 40-point performance to Zach LaVine and losing their second contest to Chicago in seven days – dropping the 118-106 decision on Saturday night at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. The loss was Cleveland’s seventh straight overall and 12th in its last 14 outings.
After a solid first half, the issues that have plagued the Cavaliers throughout January re-emerged after intermission. John Beilein’s young squad committed a slew of careless turnovers, was dominated in the paint and was stagnant offensively – with the team’s starting backcourt failing to hand out a single assist through the first three quarters.
And then there was LaVine – who tallied 27 of his 42 points in the second half of last week’s matchup in Chicago and piled up 27 more in the first half of the rematch on Saturday night. On the evening, the sixth-year man from UCLA finished with 44 points – going 16-of-30 from the floor, including 5-of-12 from deep and 7-of-8 from the stripe, adding a team-high 10 boards and game-high eight assists.
Kevin Love led the Cavaliers with 20 points on an even 8-of-16 shooting, including 4-of-8 from long-range to go with a game-high-tying 11 boards, two assists and a steal.
Larry Nance Jr. doubled-up as well, coming off the bench to tally 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting, adding 11 boards and four assists in the loss.
Cedi Osman pitched in with 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting, adding six assists and a pair of steals. Collin Sexton notched 18 points of his own, going 7-for-15 from the floor to go with three assists and a steal.
Darius Garland added a quiet 13 points on 5-for-12 shooting, including 2-of-5 from beyond the arc.
Alfonzo McKinnie fires a great pass inside to Larry Nance Jr. who forcefully throws down the one handed dunk.
The third quarter has frequently been the source of Cleveland’s woes over the last month or so, and that was the case again on Saturday. After trailing by just two at the break, the Cavaliers simply fell apart after intermission.
The third got off to a decent start, actually, with the Cavaliers scoring on their first three possessions – tying the contest immediately after the break and running out to a five-point lead on Cedi Osman’s floater less than two minutes into the period.
But after both teams battled to tie it at 69-apiece, the Bulls would proceed to close the quarter on a 30-7 run – taking a 23-point edge into the fourth quarter and barely looking back from there.
16.3, 11.0, .647, .400 … Larry Nance Jr.’s scoring and rebounding average – along with his shooting percentage from the floor and from long-distance – over his last three games, registering a double-double in all three contests.
Coach John Beilein, on the Cavs third-quarter issues …
”Just another really bad quarter that we had and we can’t win that way. We had a great crowd, a lot of excitement for a Saturday night game and we didn’t get it done again, that’s all I can say. We’re onto Detroit now and we’ll try like we do with everyone of these, wins and losses, we are trying to fix what we can fix and it’s a process.”
Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and 87.7 La Mega's Rafa Hernandez-Brito.
After wrapping up their three-game homestand, the Wine & Gold get back out on the road for a quick one-game trip to Detroit, taking on Andre Drummond and the Pistons on Monday night.
The following night back here at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse as Zion Williamson make his Cleveland debut when he and the Pelicans roll in. The Cavaliers close out the month of January on Thursday night when they welcome Pascal Siakam and the World Champs, Toronto Raptors to town, then head into the All-Star Break with four of their first five February games here in Cleveland.