With Cleveland falling to Sacramento 120-132, the team doesn’t exactly seem to be where they expected. Here’s a look at the Cavs and Kings November 13, 2023 matchup, the good, bad and looking ahead.
The Cavaliers went with a starting lineup consisting of Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Max Strus and Jarrett Allen.
Donovan Mitchell continues to play well. He finished with a team-high 22 points with five assists and a pair of rebounds. His passing vision, as well as his ability to dish to rock, continue to shine. Although there were a couple times his passes weren’t right on target, it’s the first time this season that a crack in that aspect of his game has shown. He also continues to play extremely hard, hustling on every single play.
Garland is starting to look like his regular self. He finished with 16 points, six assists and three boards. Most importantly, he finished with one turnover. A significant improvement over the 28 turnovers he committed over the six games he’s played this season.
Mobley continues to be a force in the paint, even if he still seems a bit off from his full potential. He finished with another double-double in 16 points, 12 rebounds and two assists. He seems to be maturing into a more aggressive player offensively. Not just in a physical sense, because he is showing some more power this season, but in his approach to scoring. There was a moment where he was driving to the basket and stopped on a dime and pump-faked, baiting the defenders into a block attempt. This opened him up for an easy, open bucket. Rather than using his body to simply overpower the defenders, he’s using more skilled scoring techniques.
Caris Levert is another player who continues to play well and improve. He has maybe, aside from Mitchell, the quickest reaction time on the roster. This has led to some incredibly smooth play this season, of which this game resulted in 21 points and three boards for Levert. Strus also put up a solid line of 19 points, five rebounds and four assists.
For being a defense-first team, this wasn’t the best outing for the Cavs. They trailed entering the second, third and fourth quarters, never feeling like they had control of the game. Sacramento was especially punishing from behind the arc, hitting a season-high twenty threes (with eight in the third quarter alone), and down low. Back door cuts were a killer against Cleveland this game.
Allen, particularly, struggled defensively early on. It looked like Domantas Sabonis was able to have pretty much full control in the paint. He entered halftime with 16 points, going six for eight with 10 in the paint.
While Mitchell and Levert continue to roll, Mobley continues to improve and Garland is slowly bouncing back from injury. Allen struggled this game defensively, as did the team as a unit. Three-pointers and back-door cuts cannot be easy points of attack in the modern era, and the Cavs have to improve this going forward.
Featured photo courtesy of NBA.com
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