Cavs, Nance working on ball movement and finding roles in offense

Wine and Gold look to rebound Sunday after a rough 2nd quarter led to loss vs. Pacers

Jake Kauffman
November 02, 2019 - 4:36 pm
Cleveland Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. (22) celebrates a three pointer during the first half against the Indiana Pacers at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

© Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

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The Cavaliers have shown flashes that they fully grasped John Beilein's new offensive system as they sit at 2-3 following Friday night's loss in Indianapolis. The second quarter was not one of those flashes as the Wine and Gold were woeful when it came to ball movement and shot selection on their way to scoring only 11 points and Beilein knows that has to change before tipoff Sunday against the Mavericks and Luka Doncic.

“We had 4 useful passes in a 12 minute period so today we were just trying to get them to drive with balance and find open people, move the ball without dribbling and see how much fun it is to play when they play that way," said Beilein. "We’ve sided with the offense cause if you play better offense, you’ll play better defense.”

The Cavs couldn't recover Friday and it'll be tough Sunday with another lackadaisical offensive effort against a Mavs team that gave former Cav LeBron James all he could handle in a hard-fought OT loss Friday night against the Lakers. Beilein says the problem isn't necessarily looking for the assist but the plays leading to the assists and baskets.

“That is a pass that leads to a basket or like a hockey style assist," says Coach. "I think right now one of the great things we have is everybody wants to make a play, they’re not afraid to make a play but it’s been either an assist or a shot instead of just that one pass that leads to a pass that just gets the ball moving. It’s everywhere, it affects your defense, obviously your offense but your defense even more because people are just standing there watching people dribble.”

Ball movement wasn't an issue to start for the Wine and Gold but it came to a screeching halt in that second quarter and Larry Nance Jr knows it's not always easy to pick it back up.

“Even after halftime it’s just tough cause anytime bad shots are taken or the ball’s not moving unfortunately it’s just what happens, the defense suffers, guys get frustrated and then it just snowballs. We have to learn how to win with those quarters and eliminate bad possessions.” 

Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson and Collin Sexton have looked at home in Beilein's pass happy offense but several Cavaliers are still looking to settle into their role including Nance and Beilein wants the second generation Cavalier to get more aggressive on O.

“I think that (Kevin's) done fine, I think what’s happened though is defensively they’re still playing him like a 4," said Beilein. "And on defense, we’re trying to put him on a guy to keep him close enough to rebound a lot and use those strengths. The bigger issue is they’re playing way off Larry and Larry can shoot, Larry needs to shoot.” 

Nance is being patient though and thinks he'll develop into what the Cavaliers' offense needs moving forward, starting Sunday against the Mavericks.

“A strength to this team is our front court, Kevin and Tristan have been absolute monsters and I’m still one of those guys that’s trying to figure it out whether it’s where my shots are coming from or how to impact the game from the wing, I’m 5 games into that so the more we play, the more comfortable I’ll be and the more I’ll be able to impact," said Nance. "With Coach saying we need to shoot more, Double T will take care of that himself, he’s already shown a few 20 point games. For me I just have to take a more aggressive mindset."

Tipoff is Sunday at 7:30 from Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse against Dallas. 

The Cavaliers were without Matthew Dellavedova Friday against the Pacers for personal reasons and no timetable has been given for Delly's return to the team.