Takeaway Sandwich: Cleveland Cavaliers Overpower Shorthanded Grizzles
Dec 13, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith (5) reacts missing a three-point shot attempt in the third quarter against the Memphis Grizzlies at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
The Cleveland Cavaliers overpowered the shorthanded Memphis Grizzles 103-86 as they earn their eighteenth win of the season.
The Cleveland Cavaliers started out of the game hot as they scored 32 in the first quarter on one of the NBA’s best defensive teams. This Grizzles team came into tonight having the leagues best defensive rating.
But it should not be overlooked that they missed three keys pieces in Chandler Parsons, Mike Conley, and Marc Gasol. Gasol and Conley have been the heartbeat for the Memphis Grizzles for quite some time, and they missed their two stars big time.
Some credit must be given to the Cleveland Cavaliers and J.R. Smith who found his range tonight, well in the first half at least. JR’s 17 points in the first half matched his season-high, but he was not even the star of the night.
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Kevin Love’s 29 points and 13 rebounds proved to be the night’s best stat line, and he continues to help the Cavaliers put their faith in their all-star power forward.
Often times NBA fans find nothing wrong with the Cavaliers, but in these takeaways we will point out two negatives and one positive from their seventeen point victory.
Dec 13, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph (50) drives against Cleveland Cavaliers forward Channing Frye (8) in the second quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
The Memphis Grizzles played at their pace.
The Cleveland Cavaliers and Memphis Grizzles play two completely different styles of basketball. “The Grind House” is extremely accurate when describing this team.
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The Grizzles are ranked 28th in PACE which is the factor of how fast or slow a team plays, and the Griz won this battle. As both teams combined for 14 fast break points, Memphis was able to control the game even though they were losing for the majority of it. The Grizzles saw their big man Zach Randolph lead the way with 18 points on an efficient 9-15 from the floor.
The pace for the Cavaliers especially when Kyrie Irving is on the floor matters. The team is at their best in the transition since they are able to find their sharpshooters after drawing the defense into the lane.
Along with controlling the pace, the Grizzles are also best in the NBA at controlling the paint- defensively. They give up just 36.8 points in the paint per game and continued that as they gave us just 36 to the Cavs.
The Memphis Grizzles did what they planned to do on both sides of the ball, but they just did not have the firepower to keep up with the red-hot Cavaliers.
Dec 13, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) and forward Kevin Love (0) celebrate in the third quarter against the Memphis Grizzlies at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Everything is clicking in Cleveland.
Cavaliers stats- 45.7% from the field, 38.7% from downtown, and 23 free throw attempts
Grizzles stats- 40.7% from the field, 18.2% from downtown, and 15 free throw attempts
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The Cleveland Cavaliers came, saw, and conquered this depleted time like they were suppose to. The Cavs were clicking on all cylinders as they saw a twelve point lead at the end of the first quarter.
Along with that, the Cavaliers should take pride in their ability to spread the floor, and the lethal threat that their three point shooting brings. The Cavaliers played right into the schemes of Memphis, but they did not need the paint to light it up.
JR Smith personally tore up the Griz with six threes, but he scored just six points after an erupting first half. Along with JR, Kevin Love put up three triples. As the team travels to Memphis to play tomorrow, it will be interesting to see if JR can continue his streak without this big three teammate- James, Iriving, and Love who will all be out for rest.
Defensively, the Cleveland Cavaliers were able to shut down every Grizzle besides Zach Randolph, who bullied his way down low. But we must keep in mind that the Memphis Grizzles are one of the six team to average less than 100 points which is absurd in the new-day NBA.
86 points in about right though. I was personally pleased with the defensive energy and performance from this team, but like previously stated, we must keep in mind the Griz were without their three most lethal offensive weapons.
The Cavaliers did several other excellent things tonight, but with this team, perfection is usually asked. With that said, we will take a look at our last takeaway point.
Dec 13, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen (9) drives to the basket against Cleveland Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert (4) in the second quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
A Slight Collapse
Although the Cleveland Cavaliers played an all-ready solid game, they did give up a little run that gave Memphis hope to end the second quarter. As the Cavaliers were ready to blow this game up, the Cavaliers second unit led the Griz end the half on a 7-0 run.
Along with combined 30 point third quarter that was split 15-15, the Grizzles help there own for about 20 minutes of this game. Without the first quarter eruption, this game could have gone completely different, and it will be completely different tonight when these teams face off again.
Poor offensive for both teams defined the third quarter, but the Cavaliers quickly figured it out as they scored 30 in the ensuing quarter. This team is capable of being the best offensive team in the league, but it starts with proving they can grind on the best defense in the league.
The Cavaliers will face this team again tonight, but this time in Cleveland and without their big three. The Grizzles will also be depleted. Regardless, this would still be a big win if the Cavaliers second unit can beat the NBA’s best defense.