Three observations from the Cavs' 104-88 loss to Bulls

The Cavaliers fall to 9-39 on the season

James Rapien
January 21, 2019 - 4:14 pm
Jan 21, 2019; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton (2) taps the ball to forward Jaron Blossomgame (4) in the second quarter against the dChicago Bulls at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

© David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – The Bulls left no doubt on Monday afternoon, beating the Cavaliers 104-88. Chicago led from start to finish, in a matchup of the two worst teams in the NBA.

The Cavaliers were without Larry Nance Jr. and Tristan Thompson. They started 0-8 from the field and didn't score in the first three minutes of action. 

These two teams may have similar records, but the Bulls had more talent on the floor. They controlled the game and led by double digits for most of the second half. 

Here are three postgame observations from the Cavaliers’ loss:

Of Course They’re Tired – The Cavaliers looked sluggish to start the game. Head coach Larry Drew said the team didn’t get to Cleveland until 4:30 on Sunday morning. There’s nothing like getting home from a 13-day road trip and having to deal with a snowstorm. Drew said multiple cars got stuck in the snow going home from the airport. It’s a tough ask for this shorthanded team to be energized for an afternoon game 30 hours later.

“I’m not going to use that as an excuse or as a crutch,” Drew said. “Early I could see that they didn’t have their legs. They couldn’t get it going. I don’t know how much I will contribute that to road fatigue, but clearly we didn’t have the energy.”

Drew said what he is supposed to say, but that doesn’t mean it’s accurate. The Cavaliers have to be tired. They’re playing shorthanded. They don’t have the talent that their opponents have – especially without Nance, Thompson and Love.

Young Bull Flashes – Collin Sexton played well, finishing with 18 points in 29 minutes. He scored the Cavaliers’ first eight points. People have been critical of the rookie, but he’s been given an impossible task. How many 20-year-old rookies would be able to thrive with this team? His rookie season has been a roller coaster. The best player on his team went down four games into the season, which instantly put more responsibility on Sexton.

He has his flaws defensively. He isn’t going to rack up double-digit assists on a nightly basis. Some are too focused on what he can’t do. Sexton is a young, athletic player who can score in bunches. It’s easy to say he’s an unwilling passer because of his assist numbers, but that could change if the talent around him was better. The Cavaliers shot 35.6 percent from the field on Monday. Their lack of shooters impacts Sexton’s assists numbers more than most realize. The ‘Young Bull’ has plenty of promise and he showed flashes of it against the Bulls.  

The Trade Deadline – The most interesting thing about this team is what happens at the trade deadline. It isn’t what happens on the court Wednesday in Boston or wondering when Kevin Love will return from injury? How many moves will they make? Who will be on the team after February 7? Can they continue to pile up future assets to help aid the rebuild? David Griffin certainly thinks so.

Up Next – The Cavaliers travel to Boston to play the Celtics on Wednesday night, before returning home on Friday to play Miami.