Nuggets vs. Cavs Behind The Boxscore: Rebounding and D lead Cavs to two straight wins

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.

btbsnuggetsAre things starting to turn around? The Cavaliers won back to back games for the first time this season as they used their three days off to find some toughness and defensive tenacity as they topped the weary Nuggets 98-88 in The Q.  The Cavaliers improved to 6-12 on the season, and that puts them back on the track to getting back on the right side of the playoff picture.

Frontcourt comes up big – The Cavaliers got multiple key contributions from their big men this evening. It was headlined by Tristan Thompson, who posted a career-high 21 rebounds in 34 minutes. Nine of those came on the offensive end, and Thompson added 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting. Anderson Varejao looked like his 2012 self pre-injury with a 18 point, 13 rebound effort as Andy mixed in a nice variety of mid-range jumpers and gyroscope moves under the hoop. Andrew Bynum, who had completely changed the way the Cavs think on offense when he’s in there, posted 14 points and 7 boards in 20 minutes. He took a jaw-dropping 15 shots in those 20 minutes, hitting just 6 of them. Again, some of it’s Bynum getting that touch back as he got good position against J.J. Hickson and Timofey Mozgov. Overall, though, getting 49 points and 41 rebounds from this trio was huge as the Cavs used their size advantage.

36 and 32% – The defense really stepped things up in the second half, allowing just 36 points (15 in the fourth) and 32% shooting. Kyrie Irving had a hand in holding Ty Lawson to 1-of-11 shooting. The Nuggets are one of the better up-tempo, fastbreak teams in the league, and holding them to 88 points and only 12 fastbreak points is a major accomplishment. The wine and gold blocked their most shots in nearly a decade with 13 (3 each from Thompson, Jarrett Jack, and Varejao).

Physical but under control – The Cavaliers collected just 10 (TEN!!) personal fouls for the entire game. You wouldn’t know it from the way they scrapped underneath the basket and defended the rim. Things got heated on several occasions as there were technicals, a flagrant foul, and plenty of 50-50 balls up for grabs. Andrew Bynum collected the flagrant one for fouling J.J. Hickson. Nate Robinson and Andre Miller each grabbed technical fouls with Miller getting frustrated with Anthony Bennett and shoving him underneath the bucket.

12 – That’s the number of turnovers that the Cavalier had tonight. For them, that’s a phenomenal number, and no player had more than 3 to his name (Kyrie Irving). That, coupled with the 20 offensive rebounds, helped the Cavaliers survive just 41% shooting and win the game.



  • typo

    3 – times that I saw Waiters actively pouting. Very disappointing to see him so unhappy during a great team win. I don’t see how he can be here long term.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Great to see the Cavs close out an opponent! Too many times this season we’ve seen the Cavs go into the 4th quarter with a nice lead and then squander it. Hopefully this will be the start of a new trend.

    It was also nice to see Kyrie Irving hitting some jumpers! Andy looked more like himself. Thompson has learned how to play next to Bynum… he grabbed several offensive rebounds off of Bynum’s misses, and there was nothing circumstantial about it. Lots of good stuff in this game.

  • thenoclist

    yes! we are back on the track to getting back!

  • Lunch

    Hmmm, it appears the official WFNY Cavs panic button is malfunctioning. If you want, I can fix it with my rocket launcher. Hehe!!

    A quick little fact: This season, it took the Cavs 18 games just to win 6 of them. last season, it took 29 games.

    So why should I be worried about the Cavs?

  • Kj Coral

    Really? Well, no one scored on him tonight (go watch the tape), lead the team in assists and was 2nd in plus/minus tonight. I sure hope he’s here long term…

  • Kildawg

    Good news for the Cavs is that the East (especially the Atlantic division) is horrible. Figures that the Cavs are in the tough division in the East, but Chicago is hurting without Rose.

  • typo

    Just telling you what I saw. He doesn’t seem to like his teammates, and he seems unhappy. At least to me.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    I think that’s just his personality. From what I saw, most of his pouting was related to the referees’ non-calls. I don’t think he and Jarrett Jack like each other… sometimes you can tell by which players give daps to each other after the first of two free throws. Dion seems to hit everybody but Jack. I noticed Earl Clark hit everybody but Anthony Bennett wasn’t interested. However, just because players don’t prefer each other socially doesn’t mean they can’t play well together on the court. Most of Dion’s best 5-man groupings include Jarrett Jack.

  • mgbode

    also, this season the 8th seed in the East might only require a .400 win%

  • mgbode

    I am taking full credit. First full Cavs game I have watching in awhile and Tristan showed up in full force. Apparently, he needs me watching to show off the player he can be. I will gladly accept payments to watch specific games moving forward.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Or they need to play other teams like themselves who despite the headline are defensively lax. It was good however to see Thompson finally show up and have a monster game. Now hopefully he doesn’t go back to 9 pts and 9 rebs again.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I like the trade idea of Waiters and Bennett to Philly for Turner and I forgot who else.

  • mgbode

    it was Richardson’s bad contract.

    that deal sounds enticing, but I don’t think I’d pull the trigger. it would require us to sign Evan long-term and there is still a possibility that this is an aberration stretch for him (looking at his overall numbers) and even in this great stretch, he’s terrible shooting from the outside (which you want your wing players to do).

    so, we’d tie up our cap and flexibility for future moves and potentially vastly overpay for 2 wing players. it’d make us a better team this season, but I think it could really hurt us moving forward.

  • mgbode

    and it’s a good thing that divisions mean very little in the NBA.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Ah yes it was Richardson I like Turner probably not as much as his agent does but still a lot more then Waiters. I know Bennett just needs time but patience is down to a strand with these Cleveland franchises. The Indians have done practically nothing after last winter (I was afraid of this sort of thing) but the Cavaliers will have even less excuses this coming summer. I’m just hoping they finally use some of this so-called financial flexibility finally instead of relying on another lottery selection.

  • Jack

    Jarrett Jack is an absolute blackhole. How could anyone like him? I think it’s important that he continues to jack up midrange jumpshots and never look to Fat Tony (ever). Ugh. What a backfire that signing has been…

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Yeah I haven’t been terribly happy with Jarrett Jack’s play either. He’s typically a bad shooter in November and heats up as the season goes along, but his inability to create plays for others is what kills me. I’d rather see Dion with the ball even though he doesn’t really look for other people either unless he gets in trouble.

  • Kj Coral

    That is a terrible trade. Good god!

  • Kj Coral

    Well, I don’t think “reading” a players game face is all that useful in analysis. Call me crazy…