Exhausted Cavaliers aim to regain past form against Rockets
A testament to the grueling nature of an 82-game season, the Cleveland Cavaliers have seemingly stalled following a roaring start that caught the rest of the league’s attention.
The Grind appears to have caught up with the Cavaliers, continuing his three-game road trip with a game against the Houston Rockets on Thursday.
After losing 105-103 to the New York Knicks on Tuesday, the Cavaliers slipped to 6-6 in January. In the offseason, three-time All-Star Donovan Mitchell joined a dominant roster, and the Cavaliers immediately took a dividend. The Cavaliers’ amalgamation of frontcourt size and backcourt dynamism led to instant success over his first two months of the regular season.
This month, Cleveland is 15th in Offensive Ratings (115.9) and 11th overall with a Net Rating of 2.1 in January. Even the Cavaliers’ defensive rating (113.8 this month) is down.
“We have to do a better job to keep what’s going well,” said Cavaliers coach JB Bickerstaff. “I think we got away with it.”
To get back into form, you need to deliberately focus on the ends of the court. Optimal health also helps, as Cleveland is dealing with its share of nagging injuries that have marred progress.
Mitchell returned from a three-game injury hiatus and scored 24 points, eight rebounds and eight assists on 15-of-24 shooting missed against the Knicks. Mitchell experienced cramps in both legs in addition to tightness in his groin while rolling onto the court in his last offensive possession for the Cavaliers, and a left groin strain issue that kept him out late Tuesday. rekindled.
Mitchell has since declared himself “okay” and is listed as questionable on Thursday. It is of paramount importance to recapture the progress that has brought about the promise.
Meanwhile, the Rockets, who have one of the youngest rosters in the league with 10 players under the age of 22, appear prone to pushing pace and scoring during the transition by design. And in the first half of Wednesday’s 108-103 loss against the Washington Wizards, the Rockets scored his eight fastbreaks to build a commanding 19-point lead.
However, the Rockets rank 28th in fastbreak points with 11.2 and 16th in pace, with 100.08 possessions per 48 minutes. In the second half against the Wizards, the offense stalled, with Houston shooting 38.5% of his while he only scored 4 points in transition.
For a team with such high turnover, running for the sake of running comes with additional risks. Still, given the Rockets’ youthfulness and abundance of athletes in their rotation, more frequent runs seem to provide a path for Houston to create an easier offense (109.1).
“We want them to run more,” Rockets manager Steven Cyrus said. “We want to be a better transition offensive team. I want you to play a little faster.”
–Field level media
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