After losing a double overtime game to the Milwaukee Bucks less than a week ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers hosted the Bucks at home in a primetime game on TNT Thursday night. Thursday nights game however went much differently than the earlier, with the Cavaliers winning 115-100 this time around to improve to 9-3 on the season, and 6-0 at home.
With Mo Williams battling a sore leg suffered against the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday, Matthew Dellavedova got the start at point guard. Dellavedova stepped in flawlessly as he finished with 7 points and a career high 13 assists. Dellavedova moved the ball well and looked to set up his teammates all night long.
LeBron James and Kevin Love lead the team in scoring as has been customary early this season. LeBron finished with 27 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists on 9-13 shooting from the field. Love added a double-double with 22 points and 14 rebounds, shooting 7-15 from the field. Giannis Antetokounmpo had a career day as he lead the Bucks with a career high 33 points on 12-15 shooting and 8-8 from the free throw line. Greg Monroe also contributed with 17 points and 8 rebounds.
With back to back losses against the Milwaukee Bucks and Detroit Pistons in the last week, LeBron expressed his frustration this week, saying how the Cavs are playing “too nice” and should be more hungry, regardless of the injuries they’ve faced this season. He went as far as mentioning how the team that beat them in the NBA Finals last year (Golden State Warriors) are looking much hungrier this season, and that’s not okay.
The Cavaliers came out and executed well, had good ball movement and won the rebounding battle by 21, while also adding 29 assists. The Cavaliers distanced themselves early with a 63-48 lead at halftime. As expected, the Bucks made a run and brought the game within a few points in the fourth quarter, but the Cavs held on late and secured the win.
JR Smith seems to finally have found his shot, as he scored 18 points, shooting 4-8 from three. This is exciting for the Cavs as they will definitely need him this season, and he hasn’t really been shooting well up to this point.
Timofey Mozgov went down with a shoulder injury in the first half and did not return, so Anderson Varejao got some minutes in the second half in place of Mozgov. Varejao made the most of his 11 minutes and showed why he is a true professional, as he was ready to play, scoring 9 points on 4-4 shooting from the field. Three of those being mid- range jump shots.
Varejao hasn’t played much this season as he is only averaging 5 minutes a game over the last month, but as he proved against the Bucks, he deserves to see some more time on the court. The trouble now for David Blatt is trying to find minutes for Varejao, which is difficult with such a deep frontline like the Cavs have. Varejao may however get some more playing time depending on how severe Mozgov’s injury is.
After seeing LeBron express his frustration with his teams’ play lately, a game like this was expected from the Cavaliers. The Cavs managed to get back on track with a win and will try to keep the positive play going as they play the 3rd seeded Atlanta Hawks at home on Saturday. This will be one of the Cavs early tests this season as Atlanta was the number one overall seed in the Eastern conference last season, and made it to the Conference Finals, where they ultimately were swept by the Cavaliers.
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