“We have to keep working. We know that we believe in us, and we have to keep believing.”
5 quick takeaways from tonight’s win:
1 – Hot Hand Luke
Luke Ridnour continued his hot shooting of late. He hit his patented runners, and his patented dribble baseline 15-footers. In all, he had 21 points on 9-14 shooting. Luke is shooting 59% over his last five games. He was big when it mattered most tonight, scoring 13 in the 4th Quarter including a dagger trey with 1:43 to play.
2 – Mickael Gelabale: A Role Player’s Role Player
Gelabale took 4 shots. He made 3 of them. They were all from downtown. He finds the corners of the floor where 3′s tend to go in at a high rate. He plays defense, and he tips loose balls and grabs a few rebounds. On a team that trots out 2 or 3 point guards at a time, it’s nice to have a wing with length that can make shots and defend.
3 – Kyrie & Ricky
The Irving-Rubio matchup was interesting to watch. As has been well documented here, Kyrie has sick handles that he shows off whenever he can. Ricky has some of the quickest hands in the league. (One of the many attributes he shares in common with Jason Kidd.) Tonight it was easy to see that Ricky wanted to steal the rock from Kyrie when he was going back and forth between his legs. He played Irving tough, but had 5 fouls by night’s end. The fouling was just one part of an eventful night for Rubio. He also had 13 points, 10 assists, 5 steals and 7 turnovers. Some of his TO’s were Pek’s fault, who struggled to catch bounce passes — very unlike him, I should add — in the first half. Irving had 20 points and 7 assists, but wasn’t as dominant as he sometimes is. He seemed to score at will when matched up with Ridnour. Ricky and Shved were more effective at keeping Irving out of the lane.
4 – Continued Sloppiness
Had this game gone the other way — and it looked like it might, before Luke’s three-pointer — turnovers would have been to blame. The Wolves had 20 of them, many of the unforced variety. This continues a recent trend on display both last night at Memphis and again at Cleveland.
5 – Pekovic Grinds it Out
Pek had a terrible time with Cleveland’s athletic bigs in the early going, repeatedly getting blocked and missing shots. He was visibly frustrated. So was I. I kind of want to see Pek throw the occasional elbow when he’s getting hacked excessively, which was borderline happening in tonight’s 2nd Quarter. In any case, he kept working. By the end of the game he had 16 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and a respectable performance. Pek had a rough 6 quarters between the Memphis game and tonight’s 1st Half. Maybe he snapped out of a mini-funk.
Jazz up next on Wednesday at Target Center.