Rapid Reacts GM3: The King was Here

Cleveland Cavaliers 107 FinalRecap | Box Score 100 Philadelphia 76ers
Robert Covington, SF 22 MIN | 1-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | -25 +/-After his prolonged abscence, we’ll chalk this up to”Cov” being rusty and move on…

Nerlens Noel, C 33 MIN | 7-13 FG | 0-2 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK | 4 TO | 14 PTS | -13 +/-I really like the aggressive mind frame Noel has taken on offense through the first week of the season. He is forcing defenses to guard him in the 12-15 foot range and that is opening up the floor for everyone. Obviously his one-man fastbreak gone wrong was off the charts on the unintentional comedy scale.

Jahlil Okafor, C 27 MIN | 11-21 FG | 2-3 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 24 PTS | -15 +/-Okafor had his polished post game on display last night as he became the fourth Sixers rookie to score at least 20 points in two of his first three games. He simply abused Tristan Thompson and Mozgov struggled to guard Jah as well. To he honest, I thought he should have gotten more touches last night.

Isaiah Canaan, PG 31 MIN | 2-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | -19 +/-I am not and never have been a fan of Canaan as the starting point guard, but I am not sure McConnell is ready for that role yet. Canaan showed again last night that he can score with ease, but he never makes the extra pass and cannot get the ball into the post.  With only 5 assists in 3 games it might time to give someone else a crack at the job.

Nik Stauskas, SG 29 MIN | 4-10 FG | 4-4 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 15 PTS | -16 +/-“Sauce Castillo” asserted himself early last night and the result was 5 quick points in the 1st Q. But he did not attempt a FG in the 2nd Q. In the second half he put up 10 points, but the 3-ball was not falling for #11. Still, last night he showed flashes of the handles we saw during his play with Team Canada this summer, so that is encouraging.


Richaun Holmes, PF 11 MIN | 1-1 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +16 +/-The Rookie’s lone bucket came during garabage time, but I like his fighting spirit in the closing minutes of the game. I didn’t know that Holmes had 3-point range on his jumper.

Christian Wood, PF 5 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +11 +/-See above…

Jerami Grant, SF 23 MIN | 3-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | +6 +/-I’d like to see Grant be more aggresive to the rim than he was last night, but I get the sense that he is having trouble finding his role on this team.

T.J. McConnell, PG 23 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 12 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +12 +/-It sounds so cliche to say about a white, under sized point man, but this kid is a floor general with great court vision. If you’re open, TJ will get you the rock. His ability to enter the ball into the post cannot be over looked. I also thought the drive to the rim he had in the late 4th Q showed some moxy. If his head turning play keeps up, at some point starting this rookie may have to be discussed.

Hollis Thompson, SG 31 MIN | 3-7 FG | 5-6 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | +16 +/-I am sure all you Hollis lovers out there are feeling good about your boy aftre last night. But c’mon…5 of HT’s points came in the closing minutes of the game and his 3-point shooting was awful last night. My favorite play of the night was when he bricked a 3PA from the wing and the Cavs grabbed the rebound and broke out. Hollis failed to hustle back on defense and the result was a monster alley-oop flush by LeBron (from Delly).

JaKarr Sampson, SG 4 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -8 +/-JaKarr tied Canaan in the rebound department with only 2 mins of action…

Brett Brown
I love that Brown is not looking for any more moral victories for this team. In the post game Brown was asked about his young team’s solid play in the 1st half even though they couldn’t sustain it and eventually lost the game. After his usual coach speak about how they can take some thing saway from this loss, Brown commented, “”It is more difficult for me to remain positive in year three.”

Six Things We Saw Last Night…

1)  The 76ers opened this contest with a lot of energy and spunk as they took the action right to the heavily favored Cavs.  Okafor, Noel and Stauskas combined for 21 points in the 1st Q.  The Sixers closed the 1st quarter on a 21-3 run that produced a 32-18 lead and their solid 1st Q play had the crowd down at the Center on its feet.

2)  Despite the fact that LeBron and Kevin Love started to assert their will on this game in the 2nd Q and that the Cavs ended the stanza with a 10-2 run of their own, the Sixers hung in during this rough patch, got a few key baskets from Okafor and still led by 5 points at halftime.  That’s something they can build on as a team.

3)  The Cavs opened up the 3rd Q with an 18-6 run that put the Sixers in a 68-60 hole as 5 different Cavs took turns doing the damage during this stretch.  The Cavs led by 10 after three Q’s and you could feel this game slipping away from the Sixers.

4)  “The first half we did a good job of balancing the post and pace,” Brown said. “It’s a great learning lesson for young players to understand that the third period when you come out of locker rooms, you can go one way or the other. I think we need to jump into the game at the start of third periods.”

5)  According to my notes, the Sixers trailed 90-77 with 8 minutes remaining in the game and were still giving the Cavs a run for their money.  Until…Cleveland simply exploded with a 13-2 run and iced this game.  The Sixers were 0-5 from the field during that stretch and had three shots blocked.

6)  The 76ers defense is not good, especially on the perimeter.  Every opponent they have faced in this early part of the season has found space to get wide open looks from deep.  Additionally they struggle with transition defense like a 7th grade CYO team.  Last night was just another example of the poor defensive play as the Cavs scored 28 FB points; shot 51% from the field and 36% from three.


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