The Cavaliers hosted fellow Central Division opponent Milwaukee Bucks tonight. The Cavs started off fighting hard against the current best team in the Eastern Conference, but fell off the second quarter began. The Cavaliers found themselves down 67-47 at the half. The Cavs were able to cut into the lead in the second half, and showed a lot of resiliency down the stretch, but ultimately came up short.
In the final minute of play the Cavs turned the ball over, got out rebounded, and out played, which lead to a 119-110 defeat. Even though the Cavs came up short, the Cavs had a lot of positive takeaways, as they shot 50% from 3 and had 32 assists. The Bucks hard more size and played with better pace, which helped them get this victory on the road. The Cavs tonight showed they can fight hard to come back, they just have some trouble closing out the game.
The big picture from tonight is that we are a young team with a coach who still isn’t far removed from coaching in the NCAA, and we played very well against a very talented and well coached team as they have the reigning MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the reigning coach of the year, Mike Budenholzer. As Time rolls on and we get more experience, we’ll be able to to close out these games, and stop these big leads from building.
The 2019 NCAA basketball season is underway, and the Zips are locked in. They sit at 4-2, with their two losses coming from West Virginia, and the number two ranked team in the nation, the Louisville Cardinals. Their first four wins of the seasons have been stand out as well, winning on average by 20 points. With all of this in mind, I decided to catch up with Akron’s starting guard, Loren Christian Jackson.
When I asked, Jackson what he attributes this early success to, he told me, “team comradery, we’re a close group of guys and we hang out a lot, [we make] sure we’re doing something together as a whole team and not just different cliques.”
When asked how he feels about playing big time schools, such as Louisville and West Virginia, he told me he enjoys the challenge saying, “if you don’t enjoy playing teams like that, it’d be kind of weird. You want to play the best of the best and see where your team is at. So, playing teams like that, it gives us something to fall back on, knowing we can play with these teams, and we can beat these teams.”
Jackson is not originally from Ohio, he’s been around the country. He was born in Chicago, went to high school in Florida, and spent some time at Long Beach State in California, before coming to Akron. When talking about what drew him to Akron, he said, “the coaching staff. As soon as I put my name into the transfer portal they were calling my dad, they were calling me, and they brought me in. When I got onto campus, I liked it and it felt at home.”
Last year the Zips fell short of the NCAA tournament, going 17-16, 8-10 in the MAC. This year, the Zips have one goal in mind, “we want to win it all,” Jackson said. “That’s been our main focus, just taking it one game at a time. Right now we’re working and focusing on Friday against Merrimack and are trying to live in the present and not in the future.”
One thing that both Zips fans and players know alike is the rivalry with Kent State. As of now, the Golden Flashes sit atop the MAC East with a record of 5-1. Even though its early, I had to get Jackson’s reaction to possibly playing Kent for the MAC East title. He told me, “playing in [the game] last year, that was a real fun game, regardless [of ranking], but I just see it as another game. It’s a fun game, but I just see it as another game.”
College athletes get very little free time, and when they do, most use it to rest up and get ready for their next game. Jackson informed me that whenever he can find some free time, he, “loves to play video games. I play video games all the time. I watch basketball, watch football. [I] do normal student stuff, make sure I do my homework, and hang out with my friends.
Jackson is a redshirt junior, which means he has another year to play after this one. My final question was about what he thinks he might want to do after he graduates where he told me, “I’m going to try to play as long as I can, try to adventure a bit professionally, wherever that might take me. After that, I’m going to try to take over my dad’s sports academy that he has in Florida, Victory Rock Prep, and I’m going to try to expand it and things like that.”
The Akron Zips continue their quest to win it all tomorrow at the JAR, where they will take on Merrimack. Jackson hopes to see you all there saying, “I hope all the fans come to the game and support us. We’re playing a different style of basketball this year, it’s a lot more fun to watch, and I hope everyone comes out and supports.”
The Cleveland Cavaliers were able to get back into the win column against the Portland Trail Blazers despite the return of Damian Lillard. Though Lillard sparked a late surge in the fourth the Cavs held on to a 110-104 victory.
The first quarter was a bit slow for both teams and it ended in a 19-19 tie. The Cavs shot just 36 percent while the Trail Blazers shot even less at 30 percent. The Cavs advantage seemed to be the number of opportunities they had in the paint going 5 of 13 opposed to the Trail Blazers going 4 of 8. Neither team had success from the 3-point line. Tristan Thompson had a strong start with his 8 points, and his teammate Collin Sexton had an aggressive start with 6 points. For the Trail Blazers, CJ McCollum started with 6 points, as Dame was scoreless.
The story of the second quarter was the bench for both sides. Anthony Tolliver finished the half with 9 points for the Trail Blazers, and Clarkson had 9 points in the second quarter alone. Tristan continued his success finishing the quarter with 13 points. Dame stayed quiet finishing the half with 4 points, but was successful as a facilitator with 5 assists. Key factors for the Cavs were going 10 of 11 from the line, and dominating the glass with 8 more team rebounds than the Trail Blazers.
The third quarter had continued success from the same group of guys in CJ McCollum, Tristan Thompson, and Colin Sexton. Jordan Clarkson continued to be a big factor off the bench staying a perfect 3 for 3 from the 3-point line. Damian Lillard stayed quite as well adding only 3 more points to his total. The game became far more interesting in this quarter with a lot more back and forth scoring from both sides.
The fourth quarter did not disappoint as it had the most points from both sides. Damian Lillard woke up, and made things a little less comfortable for the Cavs. He finished the game going 4 of 9 from the 3-point line, and looked in regular Dame form down the stretch. But the Cavs were too much, and the Trail Blazers caught fire too late. Jordan Clarkson looked to be the MVP of the game by matching his scoring total of 14 in the fourth quarter alone. He finished the game with 28 points and went a perfect 6 of 6 from the 3-point line. Tristan Thompson was right there with him with his 25 points, and went a surprising 7 of 7 from the line.
The Cavs showed they were locked in by buckling down at the free throw line and dominating the boards. They now have a 5-11 record, and will look to carry this momentum in their back to back vs the Brooklyn Nets at home.
The story of the game began early on with the Cleveland Cavaliers taking on the Philadelphia 76ers. The first quarter was highlighted by the Sixers going 11/13 in the paint area lead by Center Joel Embiid. He had eight points in about seven and a half minutes of play. The Cavs went just 6/15 from the paint area, and were led by Darius Miles, who had a strong start with six points. The quarter ended with a Sixers 33-22 lead.
The Sixers kicked it into high gear in the second quarter to finish off the half. Embiid finished off with 14 points to go along with Tobias Harris 12 points. Tristan Thompson led the way for the Cavs with 10 points and matched Kevin Love’s rebound total with five. The Sixers lead by as much as 29 with their big second quarter.
In the third quarter the Sixers stretched out their largest lead to 31 points. However, the Cavs still fought and were outscored by just two points for the quarter. The Sixers bench player Furkan Korkmaz had a breakout quarter adding nine points to total 13 at the end of the quarter. Tobias Harris led with 19 points at the end of the quarter. Colin Sexton added five more points as he sought to be more aggressive.
The Cavs brought a lot more energy in the fourth quarter; they got the lead under 20, but it was very short lived. They outscored the Sixers in the quarter, but it was already far too late. The game ended with the Sixers shooting nearly 55 percent, and the Cavs shooting a mere 38 percent from the field. The Sixers inside presence also lead to them stretching the floor to go 9/23 from the three point line.
The most separation for the Sixers came from in the paint, and having 33 assists opposed to the Cavs 14. But the Cavs fought hard on the glass with 42 compared to the Sixers 44. The Cavs did dominate the offensive glass with 11 rebounds to the Sixers 4. The turnovers were around the same as well. The final quarter ended 114-95 as the young Cavs just didn’t have enough to compete with one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.
The Cavaliers hosted the Miami Heat tonight from Rocket Mortgage Field House in their first home game since November 5 in a losing effort against the Boston Celtics. In their return to Cleveland the Cavaliers had another losing effort as they were defeated by the Heat by a score of 108-97.
The Cavs started off the game sloppy allowing the Heat easy baskets, and poor shot selection and turnovers on offense. They started the second quarter strong, but lost the momentum and allowed Miami to gain a 24 point lead heading into half time, as the cavs trailed 68-44.
The Cavs were outplayed by the Heat from the opening tip to the final buzzer, as the Heat moved the ball well, which allowed them to execute their offense at a high level, while the Cavs performed poorly, apart from a few runs, including one that cut the lead down to 10, which ultimately didn’t help them in the end. The Cavs offense became stagnant during much of the game, to go along with 18 turnovers in the game. The Cavs shot 42% from the field, including 25% from 3 point distance, compared to to the Heat shot 54% from the field and 40% from 3.
Despite the sloppy play for most of the game, the Cavs were able to keep it close at times. If the Cavs can learn to run their offense better and clean up their turnovers, this team can have the ability to head into the fourth quarter with leads and the ability to close out these games successfully.
After the game Coach Beilein said that the Cavs played with a lot of energy in the second half, but just need more energy to close out these games.