Thursday, December 30, 2021

Cavaliers lose to New Orleans and lose Rubio

 The Cleveland Cavaliers appeared to be on their way to an easy victory over the New Orleans Pelicans Tuesday night at the Smoothie King Center in the Big Easy before what appeared to be a crowd that would appear to have filled a large high school gym, leading by nineteen points at the end of the first period.

By the end of the game, the sparse Louisiana crowd had seen the Pelicans rally past the Cavaliers for a surprising 108-104 triumph but Cleveland had lost more than a single game as point guard Ricky Rubio was lost for the season with a torn ACL.

Cleveland was led by Rubio, who was injured in the fourth quarter, who just missed a triple-double in his final game with 27 points, 13 rebounds, and nine assists, Kevin Love with 24 points off the bench, and Evan Mobley's 22 points in his first game back from Covid protocol,

Cleveland travels to Washington tonight to tackle the Wizards.


1) The Cavaliers are the talk of the league with their early play (20-14) but with the backcourt losses of Collin Sexton and now Rubio to season-ending knee injuries, can the Cavaliers sustain this level of play for the rest of the season?

2) Cleveland has back-to-back games against Washington and Atlanta and with Darius Garland in Covid protocol along with Rubio's injury, the Cavaliers are down to Kevin Pangos as a pure point guard.

3) While Pangos alone wouldn't provide a lot of confidence, the Cavaliers aren't likely to receive help other than someone from the G League as a depth player unless they are willing to trade for a veteran and can they afford to do that as far a price goes?

4) The Cavaliers hit nine three-pointers in the first period.

They would hit five over the remaining three quarters.

5) Jarrett Allen missed the game due to Covid protocols and with Darius Garland out, the Cavaliers are shorthanded, but the interesting part will be the play upon their return.

After the return of Allen and Garland, all of the Cavaliers mainstays will have spent their time on the Covid list, except maybe Isaac Okoro (and I'm not sure on him) and we will see how the core players play as they try to sustain a strong start without Sexton and Rubio.

6) New Orleans may be struggling (13-22) but it still was enough to make me wonder about the viability of long-term NBA basketball in New Orleans.

Yes, Zion Williamson is injured (as he often seems to be) but the attendance was announced as 15,835 and I would be amazed if there were half of that total actually in the arena.

The Smoothie King Center looked like it was one-third full at most.

7) I watched the game on the Pelicans feed and their play-by-play man, Joel Meyers, missed the game due to Covid, which left the commentary without a pure play-by-play person.

Bally Sports New Orleans used court reporter Jen Hale, the Pelicans court reporter who also works for Fox on their NFL broadcasts, as the loose PBP person but Hale didn't really call the game as to offer observations and set up commentators David Wesley and Antonio Daniels for their thoughts during the game.

It didn't feel like a conventional commentary but more along the lines of two former players shooting the breeze as the game was played with Hale making the easy passes in the transition as a good point guard would.

I rather enjoyed the evening with the Pelicans, other than losing the game that is! 

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