Sexton, Beilein Strive to Get Cavaliers (And Ball) Moving

Sam Amico

Collin Sexton knows the Cavaliers can't keep doing the things they're doing. 

He knows they must take better shots than some of the undisciplined heaves they chucked up in Monday's loss to New York.

He knows they have to be wise with the ball and value possessions -- unlike the weekend loss at Chicago, when they tossed away a 19-point lead.

"Try not to force it. If it's not there, don't even pass it," Sexton said of the lessons learned. "Just make the right play."

That can be a challenge in this season of development and first-year coaches and rickety chemistry.

It clearly can be daunting for Sexton in particular.

The second-year guard leads the team in scoring (19.1 ppg), but has gained a reputation among fans as someone who often shoots first, second and seventh -- then maybe considers a pass.

Lately, though, we've seen that start to change. It's been small doses, but it's been something.

"Over the last five games, he's averaging almost four assists a game," Cavs coach John Beilein pointed out.

More specifically, Sexton is averaging 3.4 assists a game over the last five. Some of that may have to do with his comfort level. He is now playing almost entirely off the ball next to rookie point guard Darius Garland. This after Sexton spent his first season running the point.

In that sense, Sexton is almost like a rookie all over again. He shares the backcourt with a rookie and has changed spots himself. He is more of a scoring guard than a true shooting guard, as Sexton's points generally come via pure volume.

He called the move his biggest adjustment of the season. He also shrugged it off.

"It's the NBA," he said. "You have to adjust."

Beilein stressed that the Cavs want Sexton to keep scoring. They just want him to also understand the "fine line" between knowing when to fire away and when to deliver the ball to a teammate.

"He's been very receptive to learning that," Beilein said.

Sexton isn't alone. The Cavs as a unit are either committing too many turnovers or taking too many rushed shots. When they do get it right, they rarely get it right for long.

Sometimes, they can look like a bunch of men who may share a uniform, but have no real sense of where they belong.

"It's spacing. It's maybe trying to do too much," Beilein said. "We also have some sloppiness, things like that. They're all things we have to get through. It's tough enough to win as it is."

Both Sexton and Beilein indicated the Cavs have shown flashes of understanding that the ball must move, and that the extra pass is often the best pass. The goal is to turn those moments into habits they can sustain.

"We're closer than we think sometimes," Beilein said. "But we still have a long way to go."


The Cavs (12-31) host Washington on Thursday, the second game in two nights for the Wizards. The first one went to overtime, where the Wizards fought hard but lost at Miami. ... Translation: Everything is all set up for the Cavs to win. As we've seen time and again this season, that means nothing. ... Cavs center John Henson is probable to return after missing the last two games with a sore lower back. Guard Brandon Knight is listed as out with knee soreness.


Who: Cavaliers vs. Wizards

Tipoff: 7 p.m. ET

Location: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

TV: FOX Sports Ohio

Streaming: NBA League Pass, FOX Sports Go

Line: Cavaliers -1. Over/under is 232.

Comments (1)
No. 1-1

Maybe the ref will start giving him some foul shots when he goes to the basket.