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The good news on Friday was that the Cavaliers didn’t suffer the third-quarter blues. The bad news was that they went into it down by 25.
The Wine & Gold got back on the road, but the results weren’t much different than those on the homestand – dropping their ninth straight, a 110-90 decision on Friday night in Dallas.
J.B. Bickerstaff’s shorthanded squad actually outscored Dallas, 53-48, after intermission. But Cleveland also scored just 19 and 18 points in the opening two periods – shooting 31 percent from the floor before the break.
The red-hot Mavericks – now winners of 9 of their last 12 – came into Friday’s contest with some serious postseason implications on the line – locked in a three-way fight with the Lakers and Blazers for what’s turned out to be the coveted 6th seed out West.
The Cavaliers continued to limp towards the finish line and have now dropped three straight double-digit decisions to Dallas – the team they’ll face on Sunday night at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
After having his streak of 20-plus point games snapped at 15 on Wednesday night against Portland, Collin Sexton got right back to business, leading Cleveland with 27 points, going 9-of-18 from the floor and 9-of-11 from the stripe, adding four boards and four assists.
Cedi Osman tallied double-figures in his fifth straight game, following up with 22 points on 8-of-19 shooting, adding five boards and a team-high seven assists.
Isaac Okoro also got back into the double-figure scoring mark after an off-night against the Blazers – finishing with 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting, including 2-of-4 from deep to go with five boards.
Unfortunately, that trio comprised the entire group of Cavaliers in double-figure scoring. The Mavs actually only had three players in double-figures themselves, led by Luka Doncic’s 24-point, eight-rebound evening.
But Rick Carlisle’s bench boasted a 40-12 edge over Cleveland’s second unit, which proved to be one of the biggest differences the game.
Miss any of the action? Find all the highlights and photos in the Game Tracker.
Cedi Osman drives in from midcourt, spins in the paint, and puts up a shot that somehow goes in as he falls to the hardwood.
The Mavericks didn’t need a big first half push to take their insurmountable lead into the locker room – they simply took advantage of a cold-shooting Cavaliers team that went 1-for-9 from long-range in each of the first two quarters.
Dallas took its first double-digit lead of the game with 3:02 remaining in the first quarter and was up 25 at intermission.
The Mavs pushed their lead to as much as 29 in the third quarter before Cleveland used a 17-7 run to briefly get it under 20.
By the Numbers - 13.4 … Cedi Osman’s scoring average in 24 games this year as a starter – with four games of 20-points plus – upping that mark to 17.2ppg (along with 5.4apg) over his last five games.
"We had some good looks, we just didn’t knock them down. I thought we made them take some tough shots, but they’ve got tough shot-makers. Doncic made tough shots, Hardaway can make tough shots. So I think the shots, the field goal percentage was what hurt us the most."
Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and Rafa Hernandez-Brito from Power 89.1.
The Wine & Gold are definitely in the homestretch now – with just five games remaining in the 2020-21 regular season.
On Sunday, the Cavaliers tip off a three-game homestand – the final home contests of the year – welcoming these Mavericks to town. On Monday, it’s a date against the Playoff-hungry Pacers in the second half of the back-to-back. On Wednesday, the Cavs close out their home schedule against the Celtics.
Cleveland closes out the campaign next weekend – facing off against the Wizards in Washington on Friday followed by a visit to Brooklyn in the Sunday finale.