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News, Scores, Teams, Stories & More on Northeast OH Sports on cleveland.com

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    The Cleveland Cavaliers opened the 2019 portion of their schedule with a 117-92 loss against the Miami Heat, extending their losing skid to a season-long seven games.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- New year. Same result. 

    The Cleveland Cavaliers opened the 2019 portion of their schedule with a 117-92 loss against the Miami Heat, extending their losing skid to a season-long seven games. 

    The Cavs entered the night with renewed hope. The new year marked the exciting return of Tristan Thompson and Rodney Hood -- two guys the Cavs dearly missed during this shaky stretch. But not even those two -- combined with Patrick McCaw's arrival -- were enough to break Cleveland out of its current funk. 

    Thompson, who came back from a 10-game absence because of a sprained foot, helped the Cavs get off to a rapid start.

    In his first seven minutes, Thompson brought his usual energy and provided a needed offensive lift. He scored eight points in the first quarter, pushing the Cavs out to an 18-14 advantage before taking a breather. 

    That's when the Cavs began to crumble. 

    They scored five points to finish the first quarter and those offensive woes carried over to the second, as the Heat switched to their zone defense early.

    Just like the first meeting of the season between the two teams, the Cavs had few answers for attacking it. They hoisted bad shots, failed to move the ball, got little dribble penetration and turned the ball over five times. The Cavs finished the lousy quarter with just 20 points on 6-of-17 (35.2 percent) shooting.

    As bad as the offense looked, the league's last-ranked defense was even worse.

    Their season-long Achilles heel, the Cavs gave up 36 second-quarter points, allowing the Heat to make 13 of their 18 shots, including 6-of-8 from 3-point range. 

    Miami busted the game open and never looked back, leading by as many as 25 and cruising a second straight double-digit win against Cleveland. 

    On the night, the Heat shot 51.2 percent and 51.6 percent from 3-point range. Miami also won the physical battle inside, pulling down 47 rebounds to Cleveland's 22, winning the points-in-the-paint battle 44-26 and finishing with 12 more second-chance points. 

    Hood scored 13 points in his first game since Dec. 21. Rookie Collin Sexton added 12 points to go with four assists -- all of which came in the first quarter. Thompson finished with 14 points, two rebounds and one assist. 

    The Cavs had been looking forward to this night -- getting closer to full strength. Yes, they are still without key rotation player David Nwaba and All-Star Kevin Love. Ante Zizic, whose role is unclear when he returns, is also still sidelined. But Cleveland had 12 players on Wednesday, their most in a little more than a week.

    Evidently it's going to take more than just renewed health to snap this losing streak. 

    Quiet debut

    Patrick McCaw played his first game of the season, checking in with 57.9 seconds left in the first quarter and missing his first 3-point attempt.

    After officially signing with the Cavs and practicing Monday afternoon, McCaw scored two points and dished out one assist in 15 minutes.

    Head coach Larry Drew said he's going to work McCaw in slowly. The 23-year-old, who was holding out with the Warriors before the Cavs plucked him away, is still on a minutes restriction. But as McCaw gets more acclimated, he will get more of an opportunity. 

    Welcome back

    Former Cavalier Dion Waiters played his first game in more than a calendar year because of left ankle surgery.

    It's fitting that his comeback officially started Wednesday in Cleveland, where Waiters played for two full seasons before getting traded in a midseason shakeup during the 2014-15 season. 

    Waiters made his first three shots. He finished with seven points in 10 minutes. 

    Up next

    The Cavs will continue their homestand against the Utah Jazz on Friday night. 


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    The topic of many of those chats: How to make Sexton more of a complete point guard.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Matthew Dellavedova knows exactly why he's with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    "My job is to come in and help run the second unit and make sure the second unit is playing well, but also help Collin (Sexton) as much as I can and just try to help him grow as much as I can," Dellavedova told cleveland.com Wednesday night following the Cavs' 117-92 loss against the Miami Heat. "It's a great opportunity to continue working on my leadership. It's been great so far."

    The Cavs knew Dellavedova would test Sexton in practice, push him the way Dellavedova used to with Kyrie Irving. Those sessions made Irving and Dellavedova better players. The stories are legendary, with teammates having to intervene at times.

    There haven't been any of those heated moments between Dellavedova and Sexton, two extremely competitive players that were eager for those behind-the-scenes matchups. Heck, the Cavs have barely practiced because of the recent compact schedule. But Dellavedova has still found plenty of other ways to help groom Cleveland's building block, including film sessions on off days and teaching moments during timeouts.

    The topic of many of those chats: How to make Sexton more of a complete point guard.

    "That's probably the next step," Dellavedova told cleveland.com. "I think just finding ways to get other guys involved. Whether that's through a play call or something like that or say if we score on a play then him recognizing to run the same play again or you know, hit the next option. Just trying to get him to I guess manipulate the game a little bit."

    Sexton entered the night ranked last among starting point guards in assists, averaging 2.7. In his lone year in college, Alabama needed him to be a scorer, so he finished his career with just 3.6 assists per night.

    It's clearly an area where he needs to grow, especially considering he ranks second on the team in usage. 

    "I feel like I've improved tremendously, especially with my passing," Sexton said. "I've been making right reads and seeing them actually. That just comes from watching film. Delly, we watch film together and he's been helping me a whole lot with that."

    Dellavedova said he is constantly in Sexton's ear, talking to him while trying to relay tactics and strategies. The two often discuss how to best attack the pick and roll, what Sexton should do when opponents continue to go under screens and the importance of moving onto the next option when the first isn't available.

    Sexton typically plays with an attack mentality. That's why Dellavedova has also been trying to help Sexton with the usefulness of changing speeds.

    Before practice, the two are together. During practice and after they are as well.

    "I've played a lot of games so I feel like I've seen a lot of defenses," Dellavedova said. "He's got a different skill set to me in that he's really quick and explosive, but I've been around guards that have been that so I know some things that are effective that he can try to use so just try to give him some different things like that."

    On Wednesday night, Sexton started to take another positive step before stumbling.

    He dished out four assists in the first quarter -- at the center of Cleveland's quick start. Sexton was scoreless early, missing both of his shots. And yet, he still made an impact, creating opportunities for his teammates. 

    It's the same way the rookie played in the fourth quarter against Memphis and the most recent matchup against Atlanta -- two games Dellavedova believed Sexton was at his best in controlling the game and running the offense.

    Sometimes that can be a challenge for rookies. That's why head coach Larry Drew has preached patience with Sexton. It's why Drew often provides reassurances even when Sexton accomplishes the smallest of feats.

    Dellavedova remembers the early challenges of life in the NBA. Players were bigger, more developed physically. He was seeing complex defenses for the first time. It's all stuff Sexton has discussed in recent weeks. 

    "I mean, every night you are playing against the best so I think that's the toughest part," Dellavedova said. "You're playing against the best in the world and he's got a lot of responsibility, but he has to look at it as a great opportunity to learn as much as he can and I think he's doing a good job. He works really hard. He watches game tape. He listens. I think he's got a great chance to continue to grow and get better."

    Sexton's latest lesson came in the final three quarters against Miami. Following a quick start, Sexton failed to record an assist in the remaining 42 minutes. Part of that was Cleveland's inability to make shots. The other part of it was Miami's troublesome zone defense that completely wrecked the Cavs offense for the second time in a week.

    Sexton, who has at least three assists in each of the last seven games and is averaging 4.0 over that stretch, deserves some blame as well.

    He finished with 12 points and shot another poor percentage -- the 10th consecutive game he's been below 50 percent from the field. But as Drew has said repeatedly, those numbers don't define Sexton's night. It's the little nuances that the Cavs are focused on. 

    "I thought the second half, I thought he was in more of an attack mentality," Drew said. "Nothing wrong with that. The only problem with that is you have to make good decisions out of that. A few times he was trying to get to the rim and trying to finish over the big guys that weren't very smart decisions. He's going to have games where things are going well and then he hits a bump in the road and he has to learn how to pull himself out of those types of situations.

    "He understands he has a ways to go. These last couple of ball games he has shown terrific signs. I told him that. He's starting to make other people better. That is the true essence of a good point guard."


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    Brown and OBJ are two of the best receivers in the NFL, but they are also two of the most volatile.

    Wideouts have always been the divas of the NFL, but rarely worth the trouble if they go off the deep end. Brown requested a trade after allegedly clashing with head coach Mike Tomlin and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, but has been one of the best wideouts in the NFL for the last six years. Equally maddening and talented is Beckham Jr.. whose big mouth consistently makes headlines. Who would you rather have? 

    PERSPECTIVES

    Antonio Brown has been in the news lately for clashing with Tomlin and Roethlisberger and is demanding a trade, but if that kind of trouble comes with a guaranteed 100 catches and 1,200 yards, so be it.

    Beckham might talk a big game, but he still has a lot to prove. Whereas Brown has been arguably the best wide receiver in the league for the last six seasons -- without getting into fights with kicking netsgoing on vacation before a playoff game, etc.

    Brown hasn't dipped below 1,284 receiving yards or 100 receptions the last six years. If anyone is worth a diva streak here or there, it's Brown.

    No receiver caught 200 balls and gained 3,000 yards faster than Beckham. He probably would have added a fourth straight 1,000-yard season last year if he didn't get hurt. In only 12 games in 2018, he gained over 1,000 yards on 77 catches. Beckham has shown speed and athleticism rarely seen in the NFL. And he has a knack for passing the ball too. 

    Youth is also on his side as Beckham is four years young than Brown. For all of his antics, OBJ is worth the headache.

    Giants have no O without OBJ

    The Tylt is focused on debates and conversations around news, current events and pop culture. We provide our community with the opportunity to share their opinions and vote on topics that matter most to them. We actively engage the community and present meaningful data on the debates and conversations as they progress. The Tylt is a place where your opinion counts, literally. The Tylt is an Advance Local Media, LLC property. Join us on Twitter @TheTylt, on Instagram @TheTylt or on Facebook, we'd love to hear what you have to say.

     

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    In three weeks that will officially change. But neither that reality nor the Cavaliers' commitment to Love this off-season has prevented Love's name from popping up in trade rumors.

    INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star Kevin Love cannot be traded. Not yet anyway.

    In three weeks that will officially change. But neither that reality nor the Cavaliers' commitment to Love this off-season has prevented his name from popping up in trade rumors.

    It's nothing new for Love, who constantly jokes about the number of times he has been fake-traded since joining the Cavs in the summer of 2014. 

    The latest chatter comes from Marc Stein of the New York Times. He wrote on Tuesday about the Denver Nuggets having a "longstanding fondness" for Love. 

    "Would I be surprised?" Drew asked when the conversation of Cleveland trading Love came up following Thursday's practice. "As far as trades are concerned, I understand the nature of this business. Anybody can be traded. I've been in this league long enough where I've seen that happen. I think any deal that makes sense for any team, sure, they'll be willing to pull the trigger. But that's just the nature of our business.

    "Around this time is always an exciting time because you start hearing names floating around, all the possibilities and the probables and the what-ifs and 99 percent of the time none of it happens. Trade deadline time is always, as a player you get a little antsy. When I played, I got a little antsy because there was always the possibility. That's just how the business is, that deadline, people get excited, things start floating around and that's just how it is."

    Sources reiterated to cleveland.com recently that trading Love is not high on the Cavaliers' list of priorities. The front office has not had deep discussions about that. Even in the midst of this losing season, dropping to the worst record in the NBA, the Cavs' vision hasn't changed.

    Ultimately, they view Love as a cornerstone of the post-LeBron James era. They signed him to a four-year extension this off-season in part to protect their asset. But they also wanted him to be with them during this strenuous rebuild, understanding how difficult it is to acquire an All-Star, especially in a city that hasn't historically been a hotbed for free agents. 

    It wasn't about going all-in on the 2018-19 season and then quickly reversing course either. It was about having Love already in place when rookie Collin Sexton becomes a more-developed sophomore and the new building block arrives via the 2019 NBA Draft.

    Tristan Thompson, who is in the midst of a career year, and Larry Nance Jr. are under contract for next season. Nance received a lucrative extension this season. All of those players are considered important to the team's future. That's their vision. 

    Then again, this is the NBA. The Cavs could get blown away with a Love offer from a desperate team, as other executives clearly consider Love as a potential difference-maker who could be plucked off a rebuilding team. 

    If that happens, the Cavs would, no doubt, give it some thought. They may still rebuff, but they would consider it. 

    Still, they have other trade candidates that are more likely to be dealt, including Alec Burks and his enticing expiring contract. Perhaps even Rodney Hood, who has veto power over a deal, but could be an intriguing option for a team looking at a short-term fix. Jordan Clarkson's scoring potential off the bench could be intriguing. 

    The other wild card in this speculation is Love's health. He recently returned to the court for some shooting, which Drew considers a great sign.

    Love also met with his doctor for a follow-up and the Cavs are awaiting the results of that visit. 

    "We haven't had him all year," Drew said. "Let's face it, he's our main guy. He's our go-to guy. He's the guy we're going to put the ball in his hands at the end of the game. He does so much because he has that, being a guy his size he can step up to the 3-point line. You can post him. He gets to the foul line. We haven't had that all year. Getting him back, it will be a great welcome. Hopefully it will be sooner than later."

    Love had cartilage removed and fluid drained from the base of the big toe on his left foot by Dr. Martin O'Malley at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York on Nov. 2. At that time, the Cavs said he would be re-evaluated after about six weeks.

    Love first mentioned mid-January as his targeted return date in an interview with The Athletic a while back. When speaking to cleveland.com recently, he mentioned that nothing had changed on that front.

    Wednesday -- when Love wasn't at the arena with his teammates -- marked two months after his surgery date. Even if he gets good news on that front, there are plenty of steps still ahead before he officially returns. 

    The Cavs could certainly use him, as their loss to Miami was their seventh straight defeat. 

    "Our guys are ready for him to come back," Drew said. "We miss him dearly. He's our main guy, he's our go-to guy. We're missing a lot of points, we're missing a lot of rebounds in our lineup. Whenever it's time for him to come back, we're going to be ready.

    "Right now we're anxious to get him back. We're not going to rush him back. When he's deemed, when he's ready to play, when he's been totally cleared by medical, when he's been out there practicing and moving around and being bumped around, when he clears that and they deem him ready to come back and play, we'll be ready to have him back. But until then, we'll just have to wait until he's ready."


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    Love underwent surgery to remove cartilage and drain fluid from the base of the big toe on his left foot on Nov. 2. At that time, the Cavs said he would be re-evaluated after about six weeks.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- After Kevin Love's visit with Dr. Martin O'Malley at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City on Wednesday, there is still no timeline for Love's return even though he has been cleared for select on-court basketball activities.

    Love underwent surgery to remove cartilage and drain fluid from the base of the big toe on his left foot on Nov. 2. At that time, the Cavs said he would be re-evaluated after about six weeks.

    That follow-up consultation went well and Love continues to make progress. The power forward, who recently began shooting on the court, will now be able to ramp up therapy, strength and conditioning and basketball activities.

    The Cavs want to see how his foot responds to increased activity before they determine when Love can officially return. 

    Love has told The Athletic that mid-January is his target. League sources would not say whether Love's timeline is still realistic after the latest report from doctors. 

    Love originally sustained the injury in the preseason opener against the Boston Celtics. He gutted through the first four games of the regular season before getting shut down and opting for the surgery. 

    "We haven't had him all year," head coach Larry drew said Thursday afternoon. "Let's face it, he's our main guy. He's our go-to guy. He's the guy we're going to put the ball in his hands at the end of the game. He does so much because he has that, being a guy his size he can step up to the 3-point line. You can post him. He gets to the foul line. We haven't had that all year. Getting him back, it will be a great welcome. Hopefully it will be sooner than later."


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    The Cleveland Cavaliers (8-30) will continue their four-game homestand against the Utah Jazz (18-20) on Friday night.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Cleveland Cavaliers (8-30) will continue their four-game homestand against the Utah Jazz (18-20) on Friday night. 

    When: 7:30 p.m.

    Where: Quicken Loans Arena

    TV: FoxSports Ohio 

    Radio: WTAM 1100 AM; WMMS 100.7 FM, La Mega 87.7 FM.

    Online: FoxSports Go apps

    Last meeting: The Cavs lost to the Jazz in Utah 104-101 on Dec. 30, 2017. 

    Cavs minute: The Cavs have lost a season-high seven consecutive games. In those losses, the Cavs are averaging just 97.4 points while giving up 112.7 points. ... Since 2004-05, Cleveland holds a 12-2 record at The Q versus Utah. ... The Cavs have also won each of the last six games at home against the Jazz, their second-longest active home winning streak against a single opponent. ... The Cavs shot 84.6 percent from the free throw line on Wednesday against Miami. Cleveland has shot at least 80 percent from the stripe on 18 occasions this season, including three of the last four outings. ... Tristan Thompson returned from a 10-game absence on Wednesday night. He is slated to tie Brad Daugherty (548) for the ninth-most games played in franchise history against the Jazz on Friday. ... Rodney hood also returned on Wednesday, reaching double figures in scoring for the 25th time this season.

    Jazz minute: Center Rudy Gobert has 31 double-doubles on the season, which ranks second in the NBA behind just Philadelphia's Joel Embiid. ... Gobert leads the NBA in dunks with 147. ... Donovan Mitchell leads all sophomores in scoring this season, averaging 20.1 points. ... Joe Ingles currently ranks third all-time in Jazz history for 3-pointers made with 558. ... Ricky Rubio, listed as questionable for the game, has led the Jazz in assists 25 times this season. ... Former Cavalier Jae Crowder scored a career-high 30 points in Utah's most recent game. 

    Probable starters:

    Cavs

    F Cedi Osman

    F Larry Nance Jr.

    C Tristan Thompson

    G Rodney Hood

    G Collin Sexton

    Jazz

    F Joe Ingles

    F Derrick Favors

    C Rudy Gobert

    G Donovan Mitchell 

    G Ricky Rubio


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    Domestic violence charges against Foster were dropped.

    Washington linebacker Reuben Foster had his domestic violence charges dropped, clearing the way for his return to the playing field. Even though the charges were dropped, many feel he should be given the same punishment Ezekiel Elliott earned. Others feel his inclusion on the Commissioner's Exempt List shouldn't warrant that long of a suspension, especially if the charges were dropped. What do you think? 

    PERSPECTIVES

    After being charged with domestic violence, Foster was released on Nov. 25, claimed by Washington on Nov. 27, and placed on the Commissioner's Exempt List on the same day, effectively suspending him for the last five weeks of the season. 

    While the domestic violence charge has been dropped, many people feel Foster should be officially suspended next season. Should Foster be banned for six games, like Ezekiel Elliott was when his abuse allegations came to light?

    Like the legal system, the NFL operates on precedent. Elliott was given a six-game ban for domestic abuse allegations a year before he was drafted in the league. Foster has had two domestic violence incidents while in the league. Being on the Commissioner's Exempt List shouldn't excuse him from deserved punishment. Foster should be suspended six games.

    When will the punishment end? Foster had the charges dropped and has never been proven guilty of anything. He shouldn't be punished further when he's already sat out games on the Commissioner's Exempt List. Suspending him for six games would be overkill.

    The Tylt is focused on debates and conversations around news, current events and pop culture. We provide our community with the opportunity to share their opinions and vote on topics that matter most to them. We actively engage the community and present meaningful data on the debates and conversations as they progress. The Tylt is a place where your opinion counts, literally. The Tylt is an Advance Local Media, LLC property. Join us on Twitter @TheTylt, on Instagram @TheTylt or on Facebook, we'd love to hear what you have to say.

     

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    Unlike San Antonio Spurs swingman DeMar DeRozan, who wanted to put the entire Toronto Raptors franchise into the basket in his first meeting against them on Thursday night, Hood and Burks don't have any animosity toward the Jazz.

    INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- For the first time since being traded from Utah to Cleveland, Rodney Hood and Alec Burks will play against their old team on Friday night. 

    But unlike DeMar DeRozan, who wanted to put the entire Toronto Raptors franchise into the basket in his much-anticipated first meeting against them on Thursday night, Hood and Burks don't have any animosity toward the Jazz. 

    "It's all positive because it feels like it's been so long since I've been there," Hood said following Friday's shootaround. "I know getting traded and moving, it can sometimes seem negative, but I think about all the good times I had playing when I was in Utah and playing with those guys and starting with my rookie year, being with AB, until now.

    "Just because something ends doesn't mean it has to be negative. Just change. Those guys are good, I'm doing good and we wish each other the best."

    Hood played his first three and a half years in Utah. At the time of his trade, he was averaging a career-best 16.8 points. He admits getting traded at last year's deadline was tough initially. From a basketball standpoint, Utah was all Hood knew. It's the organization that first gave him a chance. It's where he married his wife and had his first child.

    While he's going to try to approach Friday's game the same as any other, there are obvious emotions that come with the first meeting against Utah. 

    "Try to go out and get a win. Play as hard as possible," Hood said. "Know they're a good team but it will be good to see some familiar faces. Guys I consider my family. It will be good to talk a little trash. Just have fun with the game but try to get a win also."

    Burks spent more than seven years in Utah before arriving in a trade for Kyle Korver on Nov. 28.

    That night, Burks was on the court in Brooklyn getting ready for Utah's matchup against the Nets. He was "shocked" by the trade, getting the news from Jazz head coach Quin Snyder and general manager Dennis Lindsey and seeing the reaction on social media. 

    "There's a couple teammates I want to score on, just because I know them," Burks said. "That's just because of the personal relationships I have with my old teammates. But I don't have no vengeance against nobody like that. I'm not mad at nothin'."

    Burks and Hood both stay in touch with old teammates. Burks has been talking with Jae Crowder, Donovan Mitchell, Royce O'Neale, Ekpe Udoh, Dante Exum and Joe Ingles, among others. The pair of Cavaliers are still in a group text message that features plenty of trash talk, which has, of course, picked up recently. 

    "Two versus two in the group chat now," Burks said with a smile.

    Hood wouldn't reveal what's been said. But there is one common name that keeps coming up, the guy both are looking forward to meeting at the rim: Rudy Gobert. 

    "That's one of the people that I want to score on," Burks said. "He's on the list."

    "I'm dunking Rudy," Hood said while chuckling. "I'm sure he will be excited to try to ... me and AB used to go at him every day in practice and he used to block our shots sometimes.

    "A lot of those guys over there are like family. I want to bust their ass, but it's all fun and games."


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    The Utah Jazz pounded the Cavaliers, 117-91, extending Cleveland's losing streak to a season-long eight games.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Rodney Hood and Alec Burks downplayed the first meeting against their old team on Friday night, repeatedly saying a win was the only thing that truly mattered. Well, that and dunking on Jazz center Rudy Gobert. 

    Hood and Burks accomplished neither. 

    In a game that felt like a reunion -- filled with jokes, hugs, get-togethers during stoppages and trash talk -- it was their former teammates who got the last laugh on Friday night and will likely be flooding the group text inbox with a few more digs this weekend.

    The Utah Jazz pounded the Cavaliers, 117-91, extending Cleveland's losing streak to a season-long eight games. 

    Hood's revenge game got off to a strong start. The swingman, who played his first 3.5 seasons with the Jazz before being traded to Cleveland on deadline day last February, was the first player to reach double figures for either team. He scored 12 points in the first half.

    But Hood's performance took a nasty turn in the wrong direction during the second half, as he went scoreless, only taking one shot. The rest of the Cavaliers followed. 

    In a game they led at halftime, the Cavs were outscored 69-42 in the final 24 minutes. 

    Hood and Burks weren't the only guys playing against their old team. Kyle Korver and Jae Crowder, once with Cleveland and now in Utah together, made their return to The Q. Crowder, who was sent to Utah in exchange for Hood last season, erupted for 13 of his 16 points during a brilliant second half. 

    Korver, dealt for Burks on Nov. 28, received a warm welcome when he first checked in at the 7:03 mark of the first quarter. Nearly five minutes later, in the middle of the timeout, the Cavs posted a thank you message on the big board while Korver waved to the crowd. 

    "For their team he's a great pickup, with the rest of their talent," head coach Larry Drew said of Korver prior to the game. "I know he wants to come in here and if nothing else light us up."

    Korver didn't really do that. But he did make his customary impact. Providing floor spacing and outside shooting, Korver came off the Jazz bench and poured in 10 points on 2-of-6 from the field and 1-of-4 from 3-point range. He made all five of his free throws. Utah outscored Cleveland by 14 points with Korver on the floor.

    Korver was one of eight Utah players in double figures. Sophomore Donovan Mitchell led the way, scoring 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting. 

    Burks led the way for Cleveland -- a small reason to smile on an otherwise miserable night that started with so much promise and excitement. He tallied 17 points on 6-of-13 from the field and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.

    Hood and Burks said the jawing with old friends before the game was all in good fun. The game, on the other hand, was anything but.

    Forgettable birthday

    Cavs rookie Collin Sexton turned 20 on Friday. But it wasn't the birthday celebration he wanted.

    Sexton struggled with his shot once again. He finished with 13 points on 3-of-13 from the field to go with three assists. Sexton got into early foul trouble, which seemed to disrupt his rhythm. He also struggled to finish around the basket, as Gobert's size proved to be a problem. 

    Cedi Osman comes alive

    After going scoreless in the first half, Cedi Osman erupted for eight points in the third quarter. Osman was much more aggressive, attacking the basket repeatedly. His burst helped the Cavs hold off an early-quarter surge from the Jazz before Utah busted the game open late in the third quarter and kept pouring it on in the fourth.

    Osman finished with eight points on 3-of-9 shooting. 

    Up next

    The Cavs will play the second game of a back-to-back against the New Orleans Pelicans Saturday night. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. 


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    Drew had some things to say. He also had plenty he needed to hear.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Larry Drew gathered his players in the locker room for a much-needed team meeting following Friday night's loss.

    Drew had some things to say. Mostly, there was plenty he needed to hear.

    "I don't want to disclose what I said, but we did have a good discussion amongst the group," Drew said following Cleveland's eighth consecutive loss. "I really wanted to hear from them more than they heard from me. Just kind of get what they were thinking and looking at how we have been playing, particularly second halves.

    "This has been a pattern. We can go back a few games and see where we've actually played some good halves, some very competitive halves, then we come out in the second half and we just completely lay an egg. I've got to get my finger on it."

    During this eight-game losing skid, the Cavs' play in the second half has been repulsive.

    They have won the second half just twice, once against Memphis and then versus Atlanta -- their two most competitive games during this ugly stretch.

    In eight second halves, Cleveland has been outscored 488-389, an average of 12.4 points. They are giving up 61.0 points while scoring just 48.6. Their offensive rating is a crummy 102.4, with a defensive rating of 129.4.

    "I believe defense comes first. With everything," Larry Nance Jr. said. "I believe it's a defensive thing leading to offense. When they're scoring, scoring, scoring, I mean, I don't know how many times they scored in a row tonight, but it was a lot. That's got to hurt. Right now, we are at a point where it's not hurting us enough to make a change."

    Utah added to those hideous totals Friday night. The Cavs led by one at the end of the first half. They were moving the ball on offense and generating quality looks. They were competing on the defensive end, holding the Jazz to 46.2 percent from the field and 29.4 percent from 3-point range. The Cavs also forced eight turnovers.

    Then they collapsed. Again. 

    The final autopsy of the last 24 minutes: Utah 69, Cleveland 42. The Jazz shot 55.8 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc.

    "I think it's a desire to want to defend. I think it's a desire to want to care," Tristan Thompson said. "I think Longo (Mike Longabardi) does a good job with the principles and the schemes because they work. If you do it the right way, you put teams in tough situations. You have to care and want to do it for 48 minutes, not one half."

    All of that frustration led to the postgame meeting. According to Drew, the tone of the meeting was "pretty somber." But it wasn't heated.

    It didn't turn physical like the Grizzlies' recent team meeting. No one player specifically got called out. It wasn't about finger-pointing or passing blame. It was about team-wide accountability. It was a chance to talk about what everyone needed to do before this streak can end. 

    According to Thompson, one of the team leaders, the chat was productive. Numerous players shared their opinions of what's gone wrong. 

    "I think it was constructive," Thompson said. "I think guys were respectable and just gave their ideas and we were adults about it.

    "It's fine to talk about stuff behind closed doors and air stuff out. At the end of the day we spend more time with each other than our own family. So if we're a family, then we gotta speak up."

    Collin Sexton was one of the few that didn't speak up. Instead, he took it all in and liked what he heard.

    "We've just got to be honest with each other, don't sugarcoat anything," Sexton said. "We've just got to make improvements, we can't go back in the wrong direction. We've got to go forward, we have to start picking it up. Towards the end of the season, we don't want to leave the season just winning a few games. We've got to try and pick it up and win some more."

    Most of the players spoke about a lack of energy in the second half. Sometimes it's poor offense leading to shaky defense, which zaps their spunk.

    Other times it's defensive breakdowns that lead to a lack of trust, a build-up of testiness and dirty looks. 

    "If my man scores or if you get beat, it's about, 'My bad. That's not happening again.' It's about manning up," Nance said. "All comes back to that. It's about manning up, accountability and doing your job."

    So are the issues correctable?

    "I think so. I think they're very correctable. I heard 'em loud and I hear 'em clear and I totally agree with a lot of the things that they were saying," Drew said. "But sometimes those type meetings have to take place, especially when you're in a slump. I'm glad they were very open and were not afraid to step on any toes. I thought it was good to hear from them. Now it's just a matter of rolling up our sleeves and taking action and I will be committed to doing that."

    The Cavs have the league's worst record. Losing has become routine during this rebuild.

    Thompson admitted that at this point players are resigned to what this season has become. The Cavs don't have the talent to keep up most nights and that's, no doubt, playing a part in the second-half woes.

    While sophomore sensation Donovan Mitchell was putting his mark on the game, the Cavs' first-half leading scorer Rodney Hood was disappearing. When Kyle Korver and Jae Crowder, a pair of former Cavaliers, were hitting outside shots, the Cavs were tossing bricks. 

    Eventually who you are will show by the end of 48 minutes. After a strong start Friday night, the Cavs reverted back to being a lousy eight-win team with the worst defense in the history of the league. No, that's not hyperbole.

    The Cavs' defensive rating is 115.7. No team has ever finished worse. Only eight of their opponents this season have failed to crack the 100-point mark. That's who they are. As Thompson said, winning takes a "damn-near-perfect" game.

    But nobody in the organization will accept a lack of effort. That's been happening too much lately.

    The Cavs have lost by more than 20 points in four of the last eight. Their average margin of defeat during this losing skid is 16.6 points. That's unacceptable. Everybody in that locker room Friday knows it.

    "We're not learning from our losses," Nance said. "That's probably what we needed. We needed to sit down and talk about it and have different guys voices be heard and opinions be heard. I think the right guys spoke up."

    Now, the next question: Will anything change Saturday night against New Orleans?

    "These young guys, I've been around for a long time so I think I know how this s--- goes," he said. "I think at the end of the day you have to look in the mirror and say how can I be better for this team? How can I be an asset to this team to help us be successful?"

    Nance echoed those sentiments. He said he will do his best to make Friday's team meeting a positive. 

    "I plan on it," Nance said. "I can control one guy. I will be ready. I hope everybody goes home, looks themselves in the mirror and asks themselves and thinks of what they can do better to bring it tomorrow."


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    The Cleveland Cavaliers (8-31) continue their homestand against the New Orleans Pelicans (17-22) on Saturday night.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Cleveland Cavaliers (8-31) continue their homestand against the New Orleans Pelicans (17-22) on Saturday night. 

    When: 8 p.m.

    Where: Quicken Loans Arena

    TV: FoxSports Ohio 

    Radio: WTAM 1100 AM; WMMS 100.7 FM, La Mega 87.7 FM.

    Online: FoxSports Go apps

    Last meeting: The Cavs beat the Pelicans 107-102 at The Q on March 30. 

    Cavs minute: The Cavs have lost eight consecutive games. The average margin of defeat in this skid is 16.6. ... Tristan Thompson will pass Brad Daugherty (548) for the ninth-most games played. ... Jordan Clarkson, the NBA's third-leading bench scorer, tallied 12 points during Friday's loss. ... The Cavs shot 11-of-21 from 3-point range in the loss against the Jazz. It was their second-best mark from beyond the arc this season and the fourth time shooting at least 50 percent. ... The Cavs have shot 90 percent or better from the free throw line in nine games this season, which ties their franchise single-season best established last season.

    Pelicans minute: Jrue Holiday is one of three players in the NBA averaging at least 20.5 points and 8.5 assists per game. ... E'Twaun Moore is averaging 18.0 points on 51.2 percent shooting and 61.5 percent from 3-point range over the last three games. ... Anthony Davis ranks second in the NBA in blocks, third in points, fourth in rebounds and 10th in steals. Davis is the only player in the league averaging at least 28 points and 12 rebounds. He has also recorded six 40-point game this season. ... Since being inserted in the starting lineup on Dec. 3, Julius Randle is averaging 24.1 points and 9.7 rebounds. ... New Orleans is currently riding an eight-game home winning streak against Cleveland dating back to 2011. ... New Orleans is 3-7 over the last 10 games -- a stretch that coincides with Nikola Mirotic being sidelined with an ankle injury. Mirotic will not play Saturday night. 

    Probable starters:

    Cavs

    F Cedi Osman

    F Larry Nance Jr. 

    C Tristan Thompson

    G Rodney Hood

    G Collin Sexton

    Pelicans

    F E'Twaun Moore

    F Julius Randle

    C Anthony Davis

    G Elfrid Payton

    G Jrue Holiday


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    Both Rodney Hood (Achilles) and Matthew Dellavedova (foot sprain) have been ruled out.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Cleveland Cavaliers will be without two members of their backcourt on Saturday night against the New Orleans Pelicans. 

    Both Rodney Hood and Matthew Dellavedova have been ruled out. 

    Hood, who returned from a four-game absence against the Utah Jazz Friday night, will miss another game because of Achilles soreness. After scoring 12 points in the first half last night, Hood took just one shot in the second half, as head coach Larry Drew felt the injury was bothering him. 

    Dellavedova will miss his second consecutive game with a left foot sprain. The injury happened Monday against Miami and Dellavedova gutted through the remainder of the game before being held out Friday night.

    Hood, who has started every game in which he has played, is averaging 12.9 points on 45 percent from the field in 28.0 minutes. 


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    On Saturday, it was Drew's turn to send a message. He didn't wait until postgame. It wasn't about delivering any kind of speech or having another lengthy conversation.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Guess the team meeting didn't work.

    Less than 24 hours after holding a closed-door meeting to address their ongoing second-half woes, the Cleveland Cavaliers' chances of pulling an upset against the New Orleans Pelicans were derailed by those same problems. 

    The Pelicans blew out the Cavs 133-98 on Saturday night. 

    One night earlier, Drew wanted to hear from his team. He gave them a chance to offer up solutions and a majority of players spoke freely.

    On Saturday, it was Drew's turn to send a message. He didn't wait until postgame. It wasn't about delivering any kind of speech or having another lengthy conversation.

    His point was made at the 8:18 mark of the third quarter.

    The Cavs entered the half trailing by nine points. The third quarter was their chance to show that the get-together was productive. It was also their first crack at proving the numerous issues -- bad body language, a lack of trust on defense, no energy, horrible me-first offense -- identified in that team meeting were indeed correctable.

    Instead, the Pelicans exposed all of those bad habits and buried the Cavs in the first few minutes of the third quarter. 

    "To me it was kind of a familiar story," Drew said following the loss. "I thought the start of the third quarter we were just flat. No energy, we looked slow, we just didn't come out with a sense of urgency. We missed some shots early, but our movement was not very good."

    New Orleans opened the half on a 12-0 run, forcing Drew to yank four of his five starters. Only Larry Nance Jr. stayed in the game at that point. He likely would've been pulled along with Collin Sexton, Alec Burks, Cedi Osman and Tristan Thompson, but the Cavs entered the game with just nine healthy bodies. 

    The Pelicans' surge made it to 15 straight before the Cavs finally stopped the bleeding. 

    Drew vowed to do anything to reverse this nasty trend. He promised to make players earn their minutes. That bulk substitution early in the half was the first time he turned those words into action. 

    "I was just a little upset I couldn't take all five out and put five new ones in there, I only had four guys on the bench," Drew said. "The message was very simple. Those guys were not playing well. Frankly, I had seen enough at that point."

    Behind two-way player Jalen Jones, who scored 11 points in the quarter, the new group played with more bounce, diving on the floor for loose balls and approaching each possession with more purpose.

    After the starters went 0-of-6 from the field with three turnovers in a scoreless three-plus minutes to open the second half, the Cavs' reserves tallied 20 points over the final eight. By that time, the hole was too deep, the game was essentially over and fans were sprinting out of the arena. The ones that stayed until the end showered the players with boos as the buzzer sounded and they failed to reach the 100-point mark, keeping the faithful from getting free chicken nuggets. 

    Jordan Clarkson tallied a team-high 23 points. Sexton added 15. Jones also reached double figures, going for 15 off the bench. 

    Drew was anxious to see his team's response after Friday night's meeting. He wanted to see some second-half changes. Unfortunately for him, it was even worse. The Cavs were outscored 72-46 by the Pelicans in the second half. 

    Identifying the problem is a fine step. Fixing it is what matters. The Cavs clearly haven't done that. They have now been outscored by 125 points in the second half during this nine-game losing streak.

    "Definitely tests your character, see what you're made of," Thompson said. "Everyone's got to look the mirror, like I've been saying. What do they value in this game, what matters, what's their approach? Is there any care or love and desire for the game? If you love the game and you care about being a competitor you're going to hate times like this. You're going to have sleepless nights and it's going to mess with you."

    Playing shorthanded

    The Cavs played with just nine guys once again, as both Matthew Dellavedova (ankle) and Rodney Hood (Achilles) were ruled out prior to tipoff.

    Two-way player Jaron Blossomgame had his jersey hanging in his locker stall. But he did not join the team Saturday night. Blossomgame played for the G League's Canton Charge on Friday and could join the Charge on the road Monday. 

    With a pair of backcourt players sidelined, Burks went back into the starting lineup. He tallied eight points on 2-of-9 shooting to go with six assists in 35 minutes.

    Up next

    The Cavs will wrap up their four-game homestand on Tuesday night against the Indiana Pacers.


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    "I'm going to probably have to do something different with my lineup," Drew admitted following the Cavaliers' 133-98 loss against the New Orleans Pelicans. Watch video

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- After Friday's team meeting failed to yield the desired results, head coach Larry Drew's quest to snap this futile streak has led him down a different path.

    He's contemplating lineup changes.

    "I'm going to probably have to do something different with my lineup," Drew admitted following the Cavaliers' 133-98 loss against the New Orleans Pelicans Saturday. "That lineup is not a very energized lineup right now. They show flashes of it but they can't sustain it, so I may have to make some adjustments."

    Once again, the Cavs came unhinged early in the third quarter. After the Pelicans opened the second half on a 12-0 run, Drew yanked four of his five starters. He would've pulled Larry Nance Jr. as well, but the Cavs entered the game with just nine healthy players so he stayed in there. 

    Saturday's starting group was nearly identical to Friday, a night that ended with a team meeting to discuss the problematic second half. The only difference: Alec Burks in Rodney Hood's spot, as the usual starter missed yet another game because of a sore Achilles.

    The end result was similar, with the Cavs searching for answers following a ninth straight loss and the fifth in a row at home by 20 points or more. 

    While the third quarter has been Cleveland's primary issue during this appalling stretch, Drew said the starting lineup is most likely to change. Against New Orleans, that group --- rookie Collin Sexton, Cedi Osman, Tristan Thompson, Nance and Burks -- was to blame for Cleveland's sloppy second-half start.

    That means any one of those guys could be a candidate to move to the bench.

    "In this type situation you have to search until you can find it," Drew said. "I don't know if changing the lineup will do it. We can't continue to go at this rate. I refuse to. I think it's important that these guys understand that one, it's just not acceptable and two, I'm not going to accept it and let this continue at this pace. I've got to try something different, I've got to do something different to see if we can get some positive results."

    Here's the problem: He doesn't have many options.

    JR Smith is exiled. Kevin Love is out. Ante Zizic has missed five games in a row with an achy knee. John Henson still has a cast on his wrist. Jaron Blossomgame is with the Canton Charge of the G League. Matthew Dellavedova was in street clothes for the second straight night. Patrick McCaw is trying to get up to speed after missing all of training camp, the preseason and the first few months before the Cavs signed him away from Golden State. 

    Tough-minded David Nwaba, who gave the starting lineup a jolt and blended well with the other four, is still sidelined because of a sprained ankle.

    Healthy, he would likely be starting. Drew loves him in that role. But that's not possible until he's cleared to play again.

    In the last two games, Drew has used his two-big pairing to matchup better with Utah and New Orleans. He had no choice really, going with both Thompson and Nance despite what it meant to the rest of the rotation. Heading into Tuesday's game against Indiana, that's likely to change. After all, the Pacers use Thaddeus Young alongside 7-footer Myles Turner, which would make it tough for the Cavs to play Thompson and Nance together. 

    So Nance could be a prime candidate to move back to the second unit.

    Drew also hinted at Jordan Clarkson as a possible starter. Clarkson scored a game-high 23 points. He has come off the bench in every game this season.

    "Sure, he's a candidate," Drew said of Clarkson moving into the starting lineup. "The way he played, the way he shot the basketball, the way he got to the basket."

    If it's energy Drew is looking for, Clarkson can certainly bring that, just as he did when he was asked to check in early in the third quarter.

    "When you feel the team is down I'm trying to get the ball, push the ball and trying to make plays for my teammates," Clarkson said. "Get to the rim, do what a bench player is supposed to do. Bring the energy and do my job to score and make plays."

    Two-way player Jalen Jones was another who stepped up when the rest of the team was sinking. He scored 15 points, including 11 in the third quarter. Drew said Jones will get consideration.

    "The one thing I really like about that kid, I really respect about that kid, is that he plays hard," Drew said. "I don't care what the score is, he gets in the game and lays it on the line. We just need more people playing like that, playing with that type of energy, that type of intensity and playing that hard every possession."

    If Jones and Clarkson go in then two players have to come out. If Hood recovers in time then he may also go back with the starters. In that scenario, three of Saturday's five would be moved to the bench.

    Nance? Burks? What about Osman and Sexton?

    In the first three-plus minutes of the third quarter, Osman missed a shot, committed a turnover and fouled E'Twaun Moore, leading to an And-1.

    According to ESPN's Real Plus-Minus, which measures a player's estimated on-court impact on team performance in net point differential per 100 offensive and defensive possessions, Osman ranks 468th out of 472 NBA players. That's the second-worst RPM on the team, ahead of only Sexton. That specific metric points to Osman being the league's third-least productive starter. 

    Internally, members of the organization have wondered whether Osman is truly a backup, if he would be better coming off the bench where he could play more of his minutes against reserves -- a role where his flaws may be masked.

    Even though Sexton has struggled mightily during this losing streak and the advanced stats aren't kind to him, it's hard to pull him from the starting lineup.

    One, this season is largely about his development. Playing through struggles and learning from them is part of that. Drew believes Sexton -- and the other young players -- need to take those steps. Two, Dellavedova is currently hurt. 

    Still, if Drew backs up his words following another embarrassing home loss, the Cavs will have a different look Tuesday night.

    "That's experimenting. At the end of the day, you lose by 40 two games in a row, you might as well make a change and switch things up," Thompson said. "It's worth a shot. You gotta try somethin' to change the flow and the energy of the game."


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    According to sources, the Cavs didn't see enough from McCaw in a limited time to justify guaranteeing his contract for the remainder of the season.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Cleveland Cavaliers are planning to waive swingman Patrick McCaw before his contract becomes guaranteed, league sources told cleveland.com. 

    The Cavs signed McCaw to a non-guaranteed two-year offer sheet on Dec. 28 and officially joined the team on Dec. 31, which gave them about a week to evaluate him before making a final decision on his future. The deadline for McCaw and other players on non-guaranteed deals is Monday. This decision will once again give the Cavs an open roster spot. 

    According to sources, the Cavs didn't see enough from McCaw in a limited time to justify guaranteeing his contract for the remainder of the season.

    In three games, McCaw averaged 1.7 points on 22 percent shooting and 25 percent from 3-point range in 17.7 minutes.

    McCaw -- who missed all of training camp, preseason and the first few months of the regular season while being away from the Golden State Warriors -- unsurprisingly looked rusty and out of place in his three appearances. 

    Cleveland still has some interest in signing McCaw to a lesser deal as an unrestricted free agent. However, McCaw would have to clear waivers first and The Undefeated's Marc Spears reported that there's an "outside chance" some team claims him. The Cavs are also looking for another ball handler and will prioritize that. 

    At the time the Cavs inked McCaw to an offer sheet, they were looking for healthy bodies. Sources told cleveland.com the Cavs scoured the G League and considered giving one of those players a 10-day contract before opting to sign McCaw, believing he had more talent, experience and upside than anyone the Cavs could sign to a 10-day deal.

    The Cavs structured McCaw's offer sheet in a way that made it problematic for the Warriors to match while also giving them financial flexibility and an out. According to sources, there was no prior arrangement between McCaw's agent and the Cavaliers to eventually allow McCaw to become an unrestricted free agent. 

    "We wanted to take a real look at him and see if he could help," a source told cleveland.com. 

    Shams Charania of The Athletic was the first to report the Cavs plan to waive McCaw. 


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    Payne, the 14th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, was waived by the Chicago Bulls on Thursday. He cleared waivers, became an unrestricted free agent and the Cavs signed him Sunday evening.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed point guard Cameron Payne to a 10-day contract, a league source told cleveland.com. 

    To make room for Payne, the Cavs waived swingman Patrick McCaw before his contract became guaranteed for the remainder of the season on Monday. 

    Payne, the 14th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, was waived by the Chicago Bulls on Thursday. He cleared waivers, became an unrestricted free agent and the Cavs signed him Sunday evening. 

    According to a source, the Cavs, who have numerous wings on the roster already, felt they needed an extra ball handler.

    Backup point guard Matthew Dellavedova has missed two straight games because of a sore foot and his status for Tuesday's game against the Indiana Pacers is still unclear. Dellavedova also battled multiple injuries, including a severe ankle sprain, during his time in Milwaukee.

    Rookie Collin Sexton has logged at least 30 minutes in five of the last seven games and is struggling at both ends during Cleveland's nine-game losing skid. Payne will help take some of the responsibility and pressure off Sexton, who was part of the starting group benched early in the third quarter of Saturday's blowout loss against the New Orleans Pelicans.  

    At the time the Cavs signed Patrick McCaw to an offer sheet, they first scoured the G League and waiver wire for players that could be inked to 10-day deals. They ultimately decided that no one available at the time had the same NBA experience, talent and upside as McCaw.

    Payne, of course, wasn't available then, getting released by the Bulls after they acquired MarShon Brooks and Wayne Selden Jr. in a recent trade with Memphis. 

    Payne played 31 games with the Bulls this season, averaging 5.7 points to go with 2.7 assists. He was released after the Bulls.

    He holds career averages of 5.8 points and 2.5 assists in 15.8 minutes. 


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    Love, who mentioned a mid-January return to The Athletic, had surgery to remove cartilage and have fluid drained from the base of the big toe on his left foot by Dr. Martin O'Malley at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York on Nov. 2. At that time, the Cavs said he would be re-evaluated after about six weeks.

    INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Kevin Love still doesn't have a clear timeline for a return following a recent visit with his doctor, but admitted the mid-January mark that he once mentioned isn't realistic.

    "I don't know," Love said Monday at Cleveland Clinic Courts. "It's really tough for me to say because I don't know how my foot is going to respond. I didn't know what the doctor was going to say in New York, but I think just if I'm feeling good and I progress well than hopefully it will be sooner rather than later. I just don't know when it's going to be."

    Love, who mentioned a mid-January return to The Athletic, had surgery to remove cartilage and have fluid drained from the base of the big toe on his left foot by Dr. Martin O'Malley at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York on Nov. 2. At that time, the Cavs said he would be re-evaluated after about six weeks.

    On Thursday, one day after Love's follow-up in New York, the Cavs said he would be able to increase his therapy, adding a few more select basketball activities. 

    Love has started shooting. He's been able to be up on his toes a bit, but no running as of yet. On Monday, Love said he was able to do some very light work off the court, including exercise on the anti-gravity treadmill. Other than that, it's been slow and steady, especially given the tricky nature of foot injuries for bigs. 

    "I think just kind of go with the symptoms," Love said. "Like if I'm feeling anything we'll just kind of keep it at that pace, just a progression from here. But I think I'll get more of an idea of that over the next couple weeks and then from there there will be even more progression and get out on the court. I don't know when I'll be able to go one on one, two on two, three on three, but I think that's all part of the next few weeks I'd say."

    When Love inked a four-year, $120 million extension with the Cavaliers this summer, committing his future to the team and becoming the face of the franchise, he didn't sign up for this. 

    The injury-riddled Cavs have the league's worst record and a rebuild has been more painful than anticipated. He's watched teammates that he made Finals trips with get sent away. He's had to sit on the sidelines during lengthy losing streaks and massive blowouts. 

    For Love, he was in a good place entering training camp, ready to become the leader of the post-LeBron James era.

    Then everything changed in the preseason opener, as he suffered a painful foot injury that lingered into the regular season and eventually required surgery after the fourth game. 

    Despite all of that, including this injury that has kept him from reaching his goal of playing in all 82 games and sidelined him longer than he initially thought, Love has no plans to shut it down this season. 

    "That's never really been the thought process -- at least for me," Love said. "I know going out there, I want to play. I want to be out there with those guys. I feel like I would be letting my teammates down and letting LD (Larry Drew) and the coaching staff down if I didn't get out there and play and get out there and play as soon as I could so long as I'm healthy.

    "I would just hope to come back whether it be right before All-Star break, after All-Star break just things to start trending in the right direction and give the fans and this organization some hope for better times that are going to be here."

    It appears Love's return will coincide with the NBA trade deadline, which is Feb. 7. By rule, he can't officially be traded until Jan. 24 -- six months after signing his new deal. But his name has once again surfaced in trade rumors

    On Monday, he reiterated his desire to stay in Cleveland. 

    "I would love to be here," Love said. "Would just love to get through a whole season healthy just because I've had nagging things that have taken time and been a little bit unlucky, but I would like to play ball here."


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    The Cleveland Cavaliers (8-32) will wrap up their four-game homestand against the Indiana Pacers (26-13) on Tuesday night.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Cleveland Cavaliers (8-32) will wrap up their four-game homestand against the Indiana Pacers (26-13) on Tuesday night.

    When: 7 p.m.

    Where: Quicken Loans Arena

    TV: FoxSports Ohio 

    Radio: WTAM 1100 AM; WMMS 100.7 FM, La Mega 87.7 FM.

    Online: FoxSports Go apps

    Last meeting: The Cavs beat the Pacers 92-91 on Dec. 18 -- the only game the Cavs have won in the last 12. 

    Cavs minute: This is the third of four games between the two teams this season, with the final matchup coming in Indianapolis on February 9. ... The Cavs have lost a season-high nine straight games, including losses by 20 or more points on five occasions. ... Larry Nance Jr., who had the game-winning basket on Dec. 18, has recorded double-doubles in both games against Indiana this season. ... Tristan Thompson (393) is five blocks away from passing Anderson Varejao and Brad Daugherty for ninth place in blocks in franchise history. ... Jordan Clarkson has scored in double figures in 35 of 39 appearances this season, including 12 performances scoring at least 20 points.

    Pacers minute: The Pacers have won 13 of their last 16 games. ... They had their six-game winning streak snapped by the Toronto Raptors on Sunday. ... Domantas Sabonis has a team-leading 18 double-doubles this season, including all five starts. ... Bojan Bogdanovic ranks sixth in the NBA in 3-point percentage this season, hitting 45 percent from deep. He has also scored double figures in 30 straight games. ... Myles Turner has recorded at least one block in all but one appearance this season and leads the NBA with a career-high 2.78 blocks per game. ... Indiana is 20-6 against Eastern Conference opponents this season. ... There have been 21 games in which at least six Pacers have scored in double figures -- the most in the NBA.

    Probable starters:

    Cavs

    F Jalen Jones

    F Cedi Osman

    C Tristan Thompson

    G Alec Burks

    G Collin Sexton

    Pacers

    F Bojan Bogdanovic

    F Thaddeus Young

    C Myles Turner

    G Victor Oladipo

    G Darren Collison 


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    Wrestling star Kenny Omega announced he's leaving New Japan Pro Wrestling and the WWE is one of his preferred destinations. Watch video

    Wrestling star Kenny Omega announced he's leaving New Japan Pro Wrestling and the WWE is one of his preferred destinations. Many want Omega to head to the WWE, where his talents will be appreciated on a more global scale. Others think Omega would be restricted by the company, which has not done a great job promoting new talent. What do you think?

    PERSPECTIVES

    If Kenny Omega wants to become a global wrestler, there is no better place than the WWE. No matter what the company's reputation is, its popularity is unquestioned. 

    Omega has a chance to mix it up with the best in the business if he partners with Vince McMahon. Imagine Omega in the ring with the likes of AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura or Daniel Bryant. If Omega wants to be the best, he needs to go to the WWE.

    Freedom is a commodity in pro wrestling and Omega has plenty of it. However, if he heads to the WWE, he may find himself limited in what he can and can't do. The WWE is unforgiving when it comes to its storylines. It's their way or the highway. 

    Even Omega is scared he would be rendered useless if he signed with the company. If he values his freedom, he should stay away from the WWE.

    Kenny Omega on Whether He Will Go to WWE: 'I Don't Want to Be a Robot'

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    On Tuesday morning, he was able to get on the court for some light shooting work following the team's shootaround. Watch video

    INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- After a recent visit with his doctor in New York, Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star Kevin Love was given clearance to ramp up his recovery methods, including the addition of "select basketball activities."

    Love admitted he hasn't been able to start running yet. He also mentioned being weeks away from a return. But on Tuesday morning, he was able to get on the court for some light shooting following the team's session. 

    A continuation of what he's been able to do recently, Love started and ended with free throws. In between, Love took passes from one of the Cavs assistant coaches, slowly stepping inside the 3-point line for jumpers and then drifting back behind the arc for deeper outside shots. He started at the corner and worked his way around. 

    It's all part of the recovery. After each day of work, Love will see how his foot responds before he can fully gauge his progress. 

    "I think just kind of go with the symptoms," Love said Monday. "Like if I'm feeling anything we'll just kind of keep it at that pace, just a progression from here. But I think I'll get more of an idea of that over the next couple weeks and then from there there will be even more progression and get out on the court. I don't know when I'll be able to go one on one, two on two, three on three, but I think that's all part of the next few weeks, I'd say."


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