Don’t Look Now, The Cavs are 3-0 To Start The Season

Andre Drummond 76ers Cavs Backdrop

  • The Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 118-94 on Sunday.
  • With the win, the Cavs are now 3-0 to start the season.
  • Andre Drummond is averaging 20.2 points and 14.7 rebounds per game this season.

Don’t Look Now, The Cavs are 3-0 To Start The Season

This weekend was Upset Sunday in the NBA. The Dallas Mavericks pounded the previously unbeaten L.A.Clippers 127-73 in the most lopsided loss in Clippers’ franchise history. Then the Charlotte Hornets defeated the seemingly invincible Brooklyn Nets 106-104.

Sunday also saw the New York Knicks maul the Milwaukee Bucks 130-110 and the Indiana Pacers edge the Boston Celtics 108-107. And oh yes, the Golden State Warriors picked up their first win of the season on a last second three-pointer by Damion Lee. Then there were the Cleveland Cavaliers who defeated the highly-touted Philadelphia 76ers 118-94 in Cleveland.

While you can argue that the biggest upset of the day was Charlotte beating Brooklyn, Dallas 51-point win was something for the headlines. But what about these Cleveland Cavaliers who won just 19 total games last season? The Cavs have opened their 2020-21 campaign with a 3-0 mark. Although their first two wins came against Charlotte and Detroit, mauling the Sixers on Sunday was impressive.

Second Night of a Back to Back

Sure, the Sixers played without Joel Embiid on Sunday but the Cavs entered the game playing in the second night of a back to back schedule. Cleveland had opened the season with a 2-0 mark. The last time they won their first two games of the season without LeBron James on their roster was 2001.

Collin Sexton is off to a good start. He became the first Cavs player since LeBron James and Kyrie Irving to score at least 25 games in the first two games of the season. Entering Sunday, Sexton averaged 29.9 points per game in his last 10 games dating back to the previous season. He didn’t put up that many against the Sixers but he scored 22 points on 8-15 shooting in just 29 minutes of playing time.

Sexton and Darius Garland have looked like the backcourt of the future to start the season. The two young stars combined for 49 and 53 points in each of their first two assignments, both wins. On Sunday, Garland finished with 14 points and 7 assists but like Sexton, he played just 29 minutes against the Sixers. If the Cavs are to go places this season, Sexton and Garland must maintain this pace.

Double-Double Machine

Andre Drummond led the Cavaliers on Sunday. With Embiid out, there was no one in a Philadelphia uniform who could contain Drummond from dominating the game. The 27-year old big man finished the game with 24 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and two blocked shots while shooting 11-18 from the floor in just 26 minutes of action.

Drummond notched his third consecutive double-double of the season. He now has a total of 410 double-doubles since his NBA debut in 2013, the most by any NBA player during that span. Karl Anthony Towns’ 326 double-doubles during that period are the closest to Drummond’s total. Sunday’s 24-14 outing was also the 127th 20-10 game of Drummond’s career.

The former 9th overall pick of the 2021 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons led the NBA in rebounds in four out of the last five seasons. With a career-rebounding average of 13.8 boards per contest, Drummond is a walking double-double. The Pistons traded him to Cleveland during last season’s trade deadline and during the offseason, he picked up his $28.7M player option and bypass free agency to return to the Cavs for one more season. It’s still too early but the move is paying off. Drummond is averaging 20.2 points and 14.7 rebounds per game through three games played.

Cavs Have a 3-0 Start

With Drummond’s strong start, the Cleveland Cavaliers are 3-0 to start the season. This is Cleveland’s first 3-0 starts since 2017 back when LBJ was still with the team. But this fast start isn’t really surprising as the Cavs closed out the 2019-20 season with a competitive 5-6 record. With the pieces starting to come together, the Cavs are picking up meaningful wins.

The current Cavs team doesn’t have a superstar and Drummond is the closest they have to one. However, with the excellent play of Sexton and Garland at the backcourt, this team is on top of the East, at least after three games played, and their doing it with Kevin Love going in and out of the lineup due to injury.

The Cavs host the New York Knicks on Tuesday at their Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. The Knicks are 1-2 on the year but are coming off a huge 130-110 upset over the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday. New York will be without rookie Obi Toppin who is out for at least 7-10 days with a strained right calf. Cleveland has won six out of their last 10 meetings against the Knicks, but New York has taken the most recent three head to head encounters between these two teams.

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