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Too much size. Too much three-point shooting. Too much Luka.
The Mavericks were simply too much for a struggling Cavaliers squad, that returns for a much-needed six-game homestand after seeing their skein stretched to six games – with Luka Doncic and the red-hot Mavericks blowing out Cleveland, 143-101, on Friday night in Dallas.
The Wine & Gold come home from the recent three-gamer licking their wounds – having trailed by at least 26 points in each of the last five outings.
Cleveland came out with some urgency and trailed by only three after one quarter. But the Mavericks outscored the Cavs, 37-16, in the second quarter and went off for 45 in the third – coasting to the finish line in the final period.
The Mavericks took advantage of their length – outscoring Cleveland, 70-44, in the point. Two nights after allowing Miami to drill 19 three-pointers, Dallas went for 20 (on 37 attempts). And arguably the league’s hottest player – Luka Doncic – went for 30-plus in his third straight game, adding a game-high 14 assists.
There were some bright spots for Cleveland offensively.
Rookie Darius Garland had easily the best outing of his young career – leading the Cavaliers with 23 points on 9-for-16 shooting, including 5-of-8 from long-range to go with four assists.
Cedi Osman bounced back from a rough stretch in which he’d failed to notch double-figures in five of six outings – following up with a season-high 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting, going 4-of-6 from deep, adding four boards, three assists and a block.
Sexton somehow finds the basket after going up and under in the first quarter of action on Friday night in Dallas.
The Cavaliers were outscored by just three points in the first quarter and just two in the fourth. Those periods were not the problem.
After a competitive first quarter, the Mavericks proceeded to score the first 11 points of the second, extending their edge to as many as 25 just before intermission.
Things got even rougher in the third quarter – with Dallas shooting 73 percent from the floor, canning eight three-pointers and outscoring the Wine & Gold, 45-29, to essentially seal the deal.
12.3, .416, .400 … Darius Garland’s scoring average, shooting and three-point percentage over the last eight games, notching double-digits in seven of them.
The rookie from Vanderbilt has canned at least two three-pointers in four of his last five outings and leads the Cavaliers with 3.3 assists per game.
Cedi Osman, on the Cavaliers effort on the defensive end …
"We can’t let these teams bully us every time. We just can’t let them do that. We are the ones that are going to have to figure out what’s going on right now. … Defensively, we just have to be tougher. Can’t let them bully us like that. If we are going to have a foul, hard foul. We are going to have to foul. We are going to have to play smarter and we are going to have to play tougher."
Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and 87.7 La Mega's Rafa Hernandez-Brito.
The road-weary Wine & Gold play their fifth game in seven days when they welcome CJ McCollum and the Portland Trailblazers to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Saturday night.
The good news is that Portland’s visit is the first of a six-game homestand that will see Brooklyn, Orlando, Milwaukee, Detroit and (again) Orlando roll through town over the next two weeks.