They say box scores don’t tell the whole story. Behind The Box Score is a new series where from time to time we will attempt to look behind the box score and tell more of the complete story of what happened in the game.
With their 109-100 victory on Friday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers have won five of their last six and find themselves riding their first (of many???) three-game win streak of the season. If the playoffs started today, your 9-13 Cavs would sneak in as the eight seed in the (L)Eastern Conference.
I wasn’t so sure the Cavs would win their third consecutive game. The Cavs entered the night just 1-10 on the road and I never know if they’ll show up against (other) bad teams.
Friday’s game began in much the same way that most Cavalier road games have started: poorly. Cleveland came out listless and trailed by as many as 14 points (26-12) in the first quarter. The offense looked clunky and you couldn’t help but wonder if the Cavs’ road woes would continue. But the Cavs got a nice second quarter boost from Anthony Bennett (six whole points!) and they closed the half on a 10-4 run and went into halftime trailing by just a point, 51-50.
Kyrie Irving scored 10 of his game high 31 in the third period to keep the Cavs afloat and they entered the fourth trailing 76-73. Then Dion Waiters went off. Waiters scored Cleveland’s first 14 points of the fourth period and his onslaught (including two assists) gave the Cavs the cushion they needed to close the game. It was a great to see both Kyrie and Dion have solid games on the same night (even if it was still a bit “my turn, your turn”) and the Cavs closed out a win on the road.
Five of six. The Cleveland Cavaliers have won five of six.
Onto the numbers!
2 – Orlando’s Andrew Nicholson received a flagrant-2 with 0:10 left game when he shoved Anderson Varejao out-of-bounds after Andy made a (wide open) layup to beat the press. The Orlando bigs Nicholson and Nikola Vucevic have burned the Cavs in the past, but they seemed frustrated on Friday night. Both committed stupid penalties down the stretch, but none more dumb that Nicholson’s late game shove. Varejao went down clutching his knee and the Cavs and Magic players soon found themselves in a small scrum (in a surprise to no one, Dion Waiters made sure Nicholson knew that he had Andy’s back).
14 – Anderson Varejao finished with 10 points, 14 boards countless little hustle plays. It was vintage Varejao. Andy’s name has been mentioned in trade rumors and this was the type of performance we’ll miss if the Brazilian big man gets dealt. But I won’t lie, the minute Andy went down clutching his knee, my first thought was “are you kidding, he won’t make it to the deadline again?!”. Varejao was at his best when it counted; he had a put-back with just under a minute to put the Cavs up 103-96 and followed it with a strip of Vucevic on the ensuing play to basically seal the victory.
10 – The Cavs average roughly 16 turnovers a game and they only coughed the ball up ten times versus the Magic (and by my unofficial count, five of those TO’s were in the ugly first quarter). When the Cavs can get out of their own way, the offense doesn’t look completely awful.
16 – Matthew Dellavedova was a +16 in his 19 minutes of court time. His defense was annoyingly effective, per usual, and he provided just enough offense (9 points, 2-3 3pt FG) to give the Cavs a much needed boost on both ends of the floor.
26 – Orlando rookie Victor Oladipo had 26 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals, 3 blocks and 2 turnovers in 37 minutes. I got nothing else. 26-5-4-4-3. *sigh*
8 and 9 – The Cavs got just eight total points and nine rebounds combined from their starting front court. Tristan Thompson had 6 points and 7 boards in 28 minutes, Bynum finished with 2 and 2 in 18 minutes and Alonzo Gee gave the Cavs a big fat zero in 11 minutes. The good news is, everyone should be well rested for LeBron and the Heat on Saturday night.
76 – On the flip side, the Cavalier guards went off. 76 of the Cavaliers 109 points were scored by the backcourt. Kyrie had 31, Dion had 21, CJ Miles had 10, Dellavedova had 9 and Jarrett Jack had 5.
The Cavs finish up their Florida trip on Saturday night when they face the Heat in Miami.
Photo copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)