Cavaliers end season with blow out loss to Hornets 124-97  
   BY STONE LEXINGTON
CAVALIERS BEAT WRITER
(CLEVELAND, OH) - At times, it was rough. Others, it was downright painful. Yet, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2018-19 season has come to and end after a 124-97 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. If you don’t recognize that arena name, the venue made the change from Quicken Loans Arena before the game.

Tuesday’s game was the final loss in a season filled with many of them, as the Cavs finished the season with a 19-63 record.

“Obviously, we would have liked to get a couple wins, especially to end the season, but I think it’s very positive,” Cavs power forward Kevin Love said. “We want to look at it as positive going into the offseason that we know when we’re together and we have a full group of guys and we’re playing the game the right way that we’ll give ourselves a shot, especially moving forward. It’s not going to slow up any momentum going into the offseason.”

This upcoming offseason will be one of the most important in Cavaliers history. They’ll have a high lottery pick and are tasked with continuing a rebuild after the departure of LeBron James last summer. All eyes will be on next month’s NBA Draft Lottery to see where the Cavs will be selecting in this summer’s NBA Draft, but what some of the Cavaliers’ young core did this season shouldn’t be overlooked.

Cavs rookie point guard Collin Seton showed a ton of progress throughout the season and finished the season as one of the best rookie’s in the league. Cedi Osman upped his minute total from 11 to 32 and his scoring average from 3.9 points per game to 13.0. Meanwhile Larry Nance Jr. produced the best season of his young five-year career and has shown promise.

“If you look at our young guys in Collin and Jedi and Larry Nance, ask yourself: are these the same guys they were at the start of the season, and I don’t think you can say they are,” Cavs head coach Larry Drew said. “These guys have really taken a huge step as far as their growth is concerned. When you talk about the future, you talk about those three guys and them being a part of the future.

“Getting a year under their belt to where they have developed the way they have developed is a huge step for the organization. They’ve all played very meaningful minutes, they’ve been in crunch time situations, they’ve played against the best night-in-and-night-out and all three of those guys have really taken a huge step in the right direction as far as their growth is concerned.

“They can’t be satisfied, particularly going into the summer.”

What cannot be lost in the Cavs’ 2018-19 season is the comradery the team showed amidst the struggles. There was never any finger-pointing, locker room spats, nor overwhelming drama.

“All of us really love the game, and we did right by the game,” Love said about the Cavs players sticking together through the struggle. “I know that didn’t necessarily show up in the wins column, but we also really love being around each other. I think that’s rare on a team when you’re taking losses and you’re learning on the fly and guys are out, sometimes guys will either try to get their numbers, some guys will have a bad attitude, some guys will want out, but I think a lot of our guys, if not all of them, really enjoy playing together.

“And for the young guys, getting their opportunity to play big minutes, failing sometimes but learning and then having success with it.”

The Cavs young core learned from longtime league member Drew this season, but it’s unclear if he’ll remain the Cavs coach through the summer.

“LD (Larry Drew) had us playing extremely hard throughout,” Love said. “He didn’t let us leave our heads down. We continued to watch film. We continued to work in practice and he had our guys working extremely hard throughout.”

Drew said he’s proud of the way his team fought this season, despite winning less games than planned.

“It takes a certain mental toughness to deal with what we’ve had to deal with this season,” Drew said. “Everybody can’t endure this. Everybody can’t go through this type of experience and not fall apart.

“These guys, they maintained a mental toughness in getting through everything that we’ve had to go through this year from the trades to dealing with all the injuries to bringing all the G-League players up, all the different lineups that we’ve had to switch up; they endured all that and yet they didn’t complain.

“They kept working hard and maintained a professionalism; and as a coach, that’s all you can ask.”
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​POSTED 04/10/2019 01:03
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