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ROLT Trifecta (Recap, Opinion, Live Thread – or, take a seat, Ben)

Hey all. Was great to knock the writing rust off earlier this week. We published a 4500 word content dump on the morning of the NBA Trade Deadline, and I think most of our wishes came true. The Cavs let it ride with the roster that’s the hottest in the NBA, and then came in and used a 21-0 run in the third to win their eighth straight against a Brooklyn squad that was reeling from roster moves and being so very mid.

Recap: Cleveland got out to another hot start in this one, with Spida dropping 13 in the first quarter and a 3-3 from deep stretch from James Dean Wade who set up in the right corner and the right wing for kickout triples. Evan Mobley kicked in a couple buckets over Noah Clowney who was pretty helpless to do anything as Evan’s footwork and touch just continues to get better. Meanwhile, Frobley put a lid on the basket, holding Brooklyn to 7-18 from the inside the arc and kicking off a block party that would continue all game.

Cleveland battled turnovers, malaise, and some ragged guard play to put in a ho-hum second quarter that saw Mikal Bridges go for 12 on 5-7 shooting and dish up a couple servings of hot roasted Niang. In the third, the sparks flew as Ben Simmons took exception to Jarrett Allen being far superior at basketball and pushed Jarrett to the floor. JA Got up, went after him, and the Cavs went on a 21-0 Cavalanche to rip the heart out Brooklyn and swat it into the third row.

The block party was on after that. Spida tied his personal high with three monster blocks, as Cleveland recorded six in the quarter on 13 for the game. It was pretty much academic at that point. The Nets made a couple runs, but nothing to get in a twist about.

Donovan Mitchell may have been talking up Isaac Okoro for all-defense the other day, but Spida was all defense this game. Dude was everywhere with three steals . When he wasn’t blocking shots or stealing the ball, DM was grabbing rebounds and kicking it ahead for layups. Mitchell finished with 27/5/4 and a whopping six stocks, with only a quatro of turnovers to his debit sheet. Meanwhile, Ice had his own trio of blocks.

This one waited too long to go to garbage time, but Gorgeous Georges, Sami-I-am, and the Iceman feasted late to notch 10, six, and five points respectively. With all three struggling to score in the first half, it was nice to see the long-ball drop for them. Fortunately things didn’t get too chippy late either, CPJ got a little run late, and Cleveland escaped unscathed.

It was nice to see the wine and gold put the clamps on when Ben Simmons started actin’ like a foolio, and even nicer that the back-to-back didn’t take too much of a toll. If there’s any concern with this game, it’s that Max Strus’ relatively quiet offensive output continued, with just six points in 21 minutes. But if with four other starters notching at least 14, there’s gonna be nights where some guys will go hungry for shot attempts. The beauty of this team is that there are so many X-Factors. Mitchell gives you a rock solid 25+ a night, and then the Cavs have six other guys who can get you 25+ on any given night. When you have this many good players, people have to sacrifice. The good news is everyone has bought into that sacrifice.

Opinion & Live Thread:  It’s always tough to play up North and Kelly Oynyk is now involved, so let’s hope the Cavs take care of business tonight in Toronto. R.J. Barrett is reportedly a game time decision, but aside from the Gipper (Ty Jerome and his balky ankle), Cleveland looks healthy. That’s all you get for a live thread header.

The Raptors freaking baffle me, man. Toronto’s plan is apparently just to assemble as many Canadians as they can. Kelly Olynyk is joining the Org. that employed both his parents. Last month’s trade for R.J. Barrett looks like a long term “second star” move as Barrett pairs with Scottie Barnes and consistent Cavs’ killer Emanuel Quickley. Meanwhile, the Raps took a straight salary dump move pawning off the Umlaut onto Brooklyn. broke it down for RaptorsHQ.

For a quick recap, the Raptors flipped Otto Porter Jr., Kira Lewis Jr., and a ‘24 first-round pick that will be the least favourable of Thunder/Clippers/Rockets/Jazz to Utah for Kelly Olynyk and Ochai Agbaji.

The Raptors quickly hit the newswire again with another deal, this time, dealing Dennis Schroder and Thad Young for Spencer Dinwiddie’s contract. I say contract, as the Raptors didn’t want any part of Dinwiddie, and he’s hitting the buyout market.

From a basketball standpoint, it doesn’t make a damn bit of sense to me to trade a first for a dude who is 32 and another dude who looks like a bust. But maybe the raps feel like they can turn Ochai into something and Kelly was valued around the league as solid offensive big who can shoot, rebound, and play the four or the five. There’s already talk he’ll likely re-sign in the summer. Also the pick will likely be in the high twenties. Sometimes picks in that spot are less valuable than picks in the low second round cause teams don’t want the guaranteed salary on a cramped roster. But it’s weird when Masai was low key talking tank a few weeks ago.

Meanwhile, Bruce Brown, Gary Trent Jr., and Chris Boucher are all still on the roster, with Brown having been heavily shopped the last few weeks. Two teams later after his 2023 Nuggets championship run, Brown made it pretty clear he didn’t expect to be in Toronto long, after pimping himself to Thibs and the Knicks late last month. Bruce still being in Canada is the most puzzling non-move of the Trade Deadline. Trent and Olynyk are free agents this off-season, in a summer where lots of teams have cap room. Boucher (my ideal third big to pair with Frobley) has a ten million dollar player option the Raps would probably prefer off their books.

Long and short: Toronto is still collecting goons who’ve famously menaced Cavalier health. I hope these moves are as dumb as they look. Grade: Fuck the Raptors.

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