Cleveland Cavaliers: Ball movement was the key last night
The Cleveland Cavaliers had the right stuff against the Minnesota Timberwolves last night, and their consistent ball movement was the secret sauce.
I’m not expecting the Cleveland Cavaliers to be this unselfish every single night. They had 37 assists yesterday, and just ten turnovers. This shattered their assist totals from games in their lackluster 7-8 month of January, in which they were playing entirely too much isolation ball.
Kyrie Irving was on another level in this one with a career-high 14 helpers in three quarters. He also had just one turnover, to go along with 14 points. According to Bleacher Report Insights, the Cavs are 8-0 this season when Kyrie has ten or more assists. If the Cavs can get even remotely close to this kind of efficiency from their star point guard, they are going to be a tough out for anybody.
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I understand that Kyrie is looking for himself a large portion of the time, and that’s okay. However, he has gotten to be a better playmaker this season, it’s enabled him to be even more lethal as a shooter on all parts of the floor.
He was only 5 for 18, but his effective field goal percentage is the second-highest of his young career this season at 52.7 percent.
Needless to say, he was plenty fine yesterday, and he got everybody involved. Kyrie has struggled with this in the past, so getting these 14 assists should be a huge confidence booster for him!
Here are his full highlights.
LeBron James also did his part in getting his teammates involved early and often. LBJ had 12 assists and often spurred the ball going around the horn. This eventually led to open driving lanes and kickout threes. Kyle Korver had his best game as a Cav yesterday, and Channing Frye had 18 points in the starting lineup.
Korver showed up and showed out yesterday, as he had 20 points on 8-of-11 from the field. He really gave the Cavs bench a huge lift, and when he is on, it opens up other guys. In addition, role players gain confidence when they see Korver shooting at a high clip. It’s like a jolt of energy injected into the team.
It was a well-rounded effort, as I alluded to with the 37 assists. When you see your star players being the catalyst for others, it’s infectious. Kay Felder and Jordan McRae got some valuable minutes as well, and they did their part in making plays. Felder had nine points, three helpers, and a steal in 17 minutes. The Cavs still need another playmaker, but it’s a positive sign if Felder can give Kyrie some rest at times.
I’m not going to overreact to one win over a team that is not currently in the playoff picture, but yesterday was a glimpse of what the Cavs can do if they move without the ball and play unselfish. Hopefully they can keep some of that style of play regardless of how the Kevin Love-Carmelo Anthony situation plays out.