The Cavs, after starting the season 0-2, beat one of the hottest teams, the Atlanta Hawks, in their previous game. They did it without Darius Garland, point guard and one of the clearest promises of the future to hold on to in the squad. Ricky Rubio took over from the start (he had already done it the day before), who embroidered it before Trae Young and company. In fact, his start to the season was magnificent, showing that at 31 he is in the prime of his career. This morning Garland has returned from injury, has regained his place in the starting five and the Spaniard has returned to the bench to be a substitute, just as the season began. But the real news is that Ricky has played the worst of the four games going so far and yet the Cavs have won.
And not just anyone. They have prevailed over the MVP Jokic and Denver Nuggets. Chance? Anecdote? The only certain thing is that what we have seen so far leaves us with the feeling of a team with a strange composition for these times: it comes out with two and a half centers (Markannen of three, Allen and Mobley). A set that does not always fuel well in attack but is starting to work like clockwork in defense. Today he left the Nuggets at 87 points, with a 9/38 shooting of 3 and 22 losses. “I don’t know what we have to do better, but we have to improve something because we are going to lose a lot of games if we play like this. There are many things that are wrong when you play a game like this,” Jokic said at the end of the match. The Serbian (24 points and 19 rebounds) was at his level. The rest, little or nothing.
It is the first loss for a team that is still waiting for the return of Jamal Murray. He still has a month left, but in the meantime he could be seen yesterday practicing shots to the basket before the match. Until he returns and depending on what conditions, the Nuggets hold on to Jokic well surrounded by squires. Or so it seemed until today. Fifthing Will Barton (5/9 shooting), the rest of the team was totally off the mark. Merit undoubtedly of the rival, who knew how to stop their feet. Jarret Allen stood out in this regard, an essential player right now in the team. “I told Jarret that he had an A on his card and that now his mother and father hope that he will go back with another. It has been an outstanding defensive effort,” explained his coach, JB Bickerstaff. The pivot finished with a double-double, the second in a row, of 21 points and 16 rebounds with an almost perfect 9/10 in shooting from the field.
And, as we said at the beginning, Ricky did not have his best day. 25 minutes from the bench, 7 points with a 2/10 shooting and, yes, his ration of daily assists. 8 this time for the fifth highest assistant so far in the league. Campazzo, who played 18 minutes, bothered him as much as he could, to the point of ending both facing each other, head to head, in the third quarter after a rather ugly action by the Argentine, who deliberately pulled his knee to hit the Spanish when he was about to jump to shoot a triple. The play, very unsportsmanlike and dangerous because Ricky’s leg was still resting on the ground at the moment of impact, did nothing but boost the Cleveland team. 2 minutes after the brawl, the Nuggets tied the game 70-56 seconds from the end of the third period. From there came the local disaster, with Kevin Love, another substitute for the Cavs, greening old laurels (22 points).