Game slowing down for Cavs, Sexton

Cavaliers total three turnovers in loss to Lakers

Kyle Lewandowski
November 22, 2018 - 1:16 am
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) — On a night where the Cavaliers were not the main story in Cleveland they scratched and clawed until the final buzzer to try and spoil LeBron James' homecoming in his second uniform that wasn't wine and gold.

LeBron took over in the final quarter when he scored 11 points to cap off a 109-105 victory for the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Cavaliers were coming off consecutive two losses where they failed to compete in a way that kept the game competitve but tonight was different. They showed fight all night against LeBron and the Lakers.

It could have been the best player in franchise history returning as a visitor for the first time since delivering the city its first championship in over 60 years. It certainly brought energy to an arena that has lacked it so far this season.

“I felt like the fans, they showed up, which was big," Collin Sexton said. "We never had that crowd. That’s what kept us rolling and motivated us to try and pull the game out.”

There was certainly a different atmosphere in The Q tonight, much to be expected with the return of LeBron, but that wasn't the only difference.

The Cavaliers entered the half with zero turnovers. Zero. That is a number that jumps off the page no matter the team, no matter the opponent.

"I thought we did a good job just keeping it simple, making the simple play," head coach Larry Drew said. "I don’t think we had a turnover at halftime and that was probably one of the better games that I’ve been associated with where turnovers were that limited. You can keep the game simple and you can make the simple play and it keeps you in a great position and I thought we were in a great position from start to finish as far as being able to come out with a [win.]”

While the Cavaliers came up short of their third win on the season, they finished the game with just three turnovers. That number shows the team is learning how to play together, where one another will be at on certain plays, at certain times.

For rookie point guard Collin Sexton, it means the game is slowing down for him every time he takes the court.

"I feel like my decision making is improving, making sure I make the right pass, not trying to thread the needle and make a turnover, and that’s with watching film," Sexton said. "Once you get into a rhythm and once your playing as many games as I’ve been playing it starts to slow down and your able to sit back and visualize the whole court and where your teammates should be."

Sexton's shot wasn't falling on Wednesday night. The rookie shot 5 of 17 on his way to 12 points. The next step in his development is learing how to make his presence felt on the court even on nights when the ball won't go through the hoop.

“It’s just a matter of him watching film and seeing how he can impact the game without scoring," Drew said. "Good point guards are able to do that, they can impact the game in other areas and he has the ability to do that. I really want him to understand that whether he’s having a good game or a bad game that won’t be predicated on how many points he scores, but if he can do other things, do some good things defensively, if he can make the right plays, get a few rebounds, come up with a few steals. Those are the kind of things that help a ball club win. It shouldn’t be whether he’s making shots or how many points he scored. Good point guards, when their shots not falling, they find other ways to impact the game and I personally feel like he can grow into that type of player."

The good thing is the 19-year-old out of Alabama has made noticable strides in just 16 games in the league. Coming off the bench to begin the season you could see Sexton trying to play at a speed he wasn't ready to yet. It was almost like not even he knew where his next move was going to be until it was made. Now, by his own admission and the coach's, he's improving every day, watching the film, and learning on the fly at a rate even Larry Drew is impressed by.

“He’s learning at a rapid rate and that is such a good sign," Drew said. "A game like tonight, I thought he’d be really juiced up and throwing the ball all over the place and trying a lot of high-risk things but he played with a lot of composure, he made simple plays, he make the right play. I said it before, he’s just going to get better and better.”

Sexton's development is crucial in the path the Cavaliers have to take in order to get back to competitive basketball and so far, the rookie has been up to the challenge.