Cleveland Cavaliers were unable to defeat the Washington Wizards despite Kevin Love’s Return 27 points from Collin Sexton.
After missing 50 games due to a toe surgery, Kevin Love’s return made all the headlines for the Cavaliers’ game against the Wizards Friday night. However, there’s much more to be said about Cleveland’s 119-106 loss to Washington. Love only played the first 6 minutes; he’s fine, it was all part of the plan. Meanwhile, Collin Sexton continues excellent play with 27 points and Clarkson added 24 off the bench. Let’s get into it all.
|PG – Collin Sexton||37||10-18||3-7||4-4||4||3||27|
|SG – Deng Adel||35||2-8||1-5||3-4||0||2||5|
|SF – David Nwaba||29||6-11||2-3||3-4||2||8||17|
|PF – Larry Nance Jr.||33||3-15||1-4||3-4||6||19||10|
|C – Kevin Love||6||1-5||0-3||2-2||1||1||4|
|Brandon Knight – DNP|
Kevin Love’s Return
Kevin Love, as we mentioned, got the start and played the first six minutes. Lobe started out aggressive, getting the ball in the post on the first play and drawing a foul, knocking down both free throws. He went on to miss his next three shots, all three-pointers, before again posting up and making a tough inside shot through contact. He missed an inside fadeaway for his final shot, and then exited the game for the night with four points.
This is all part of the plan with Love. With the Cavaliers being where they are, there’s no reason to rush him back. He played six minutes to try to get some of the feel back of playing in an NBA game. He’ll also be held out of tomorrow’s game against the Pacers as he’s not cleared to play in back-to-backs yet.
Recapping the Rest of the Game
Anyhow, after Love exited, the Wizards, and particularly Bobby Portis, caught fire. The team dropped 41 on the Cavs in the first quarter and lead 41-27 after one. Cleveland managed to stabilize things in the second, tying Washington 25-25 and trailing by 14 at halftime, behind 14 from Sexton.
The Wizards got off to a fast start in the third, quickly taking a 20-point lead. The Cavaliers weren’t done, however. An 18-3 run lead by Jordan Clarkson and the rebounding/passing of Larry Nance Jr. cut the lead to just five. It would go on to be close throughout the rest of the third, with the Wizards extending the lead back to 12 but the Cavs cutting it back to 3. Cleveland was trailing 92-86, heading into the fourth.
The fourth quarter was pretty disappointing for Cavs fans. the Wizards couldn’t pull away, but the Cavaliers couldn’t make that run. The Wizards ended up winning, 119-106, at home.
There were still multiple positives in this game for the Cavaliers. The new addition Marquese Chriss dropped 13 points and 8 rebounds, knocking down 3 of 5 threes on 5/10 shooting overall. He’s only 21 years old and the Cavaliers hope to keep the athletic big man long term. Jordan Clarkson and David Nwaba both had great games, with Clarkson dropping 24 off the bench and Nwaba scoring 17 points and 8 rebounds while playing great defense. And of course, Collin Sexton scored 27 points for the second straight game and continues to attack the hoop.
How has Sexton improved the last two games?
These last two games, Collin has no longer shied away from contact and settled for jump shots. He’s been doing what he did best in college – attack the rim and seek contact. This is a great sign for the Young Bull. So far this year, Sexton has been hesitant at the rim and tried to avoid contract. Now, he’s using his body, scoring through contact, or drawing fouls (where’s he’s been excellent at the charity stripe). His overall aggressive nature in the last two games is what we’ve wanted to see from Collin all year, and now we’re finally getting it, and getting results too. He’s scored 27 points in each of the last two games.
Another thing I saw from Sexton, particularly against the Wizards, is that he’s starting to use his speed. Twice, I saw him take it coast to coast in a blur of speed and beat everyone to the rack. His speed is one of his most valuable assets and if he can do a better job of using it to his advantage, look out. These are all great signs from the Young Bull and he’s starting to develop into what Koby Altman and the Cavaliers’ envisioned when selecting him 8th overall in the 2018 draft.
- Cedi Osman continues to miss time with that ankle injury. He’s unlikely to return tomorrow against the Pacers but will hopefully return very soon and continue his excellent stretch.
- Cavaliers newcomer Brandon Knight, who came over in the Chriss trade, is still rehabbing from surgery but also hopes to return to the lineup very soon.
- John Henson is still out with a wrist injury. There hasn’t been much word on him lately, which means he’ll be out for a little while longer.