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The View From Pluto: No Need To Sweat Cavs Christmas Day Loss To The Warriors

photo of Cleveland Cavaliers, Cavs, Golden State Warriors

The Cavs’ Christmas Day loss to the Warriors shows they still have some work to do to compete against the defending champs. The Cavs lost 99-92 in the first meeting between the two teams since the NBA Finals.

WKSU commentator Terry Pluto says there were pluses and minuses from Monday’s game for the Cavs.

Plus: The pace
Pluto says he liked that the Cavs slowed down the pace of the game, which kept the Warriors under 100 points. 

"That's how the Cavs need to play Golden State. Quit trying to run with these guys and turn it into a track meet. Golden State likes to play that way because they have a lot of guys talented to do that. The Cavs have some, but I believe they are the second-oldest team in the league."

Minus: The bench
Pluto says the Cavs' bench had a setback on Monday. "The Cavs are averaging like 40 points a game from the bench -- the fifth-best in the league. But on Christmas Day, they shot 6-for-21 from the field. I think a couple of guys were introduced to [this rivalry]. This isn't just any other game on Christmas. These two teams don't like each other."

Plus: Dwyane Wade
Pluto says one exception to the floundering bench was Dwyane Wade. "He went to the foul line; he got some rebounds and got some assists. You could tell Wade was ready for this kind of game."

The missing pieces
Pluto calls the Christmas Day game "a wash" in some respects because two key players were missing.

The Warriors' Steph Curry has been out since Dec. 4 with an ankle injury. He averages 26 points and 6.6 assists per game. The Warriors say he could be back in action this week. 

The Cavs are still waiting for Isaiah Thomas to make his debut. Signed in the off-season as part of the Kyrie Irving trade, Thomas has been sidelined all season while he recovers from a hip injury.

"He's posting videos of himself dunking balls. I guess he's feeling better," Pluto says. "He probably could play now. But the Cavs must make sure he's absolutely ready to return. You can tell that when he gets all set it will kick them up to a higher level. Last year Isaiah averaged 29 points a game for the Celtics. He averaged nine points a game in the fourth quarter. He was one of the top clutch players in the NBA."

Pluto says with Curry and Thomas in the lineup, "We will see a different-looking game." 

The two teams meet again Jan. 15 in Cleveland.

Terry Pluto talks about the Indians' new first baseman, Yonder Alonso, and whether they'll be signing more free agents.

Amanda Rabinowitz is the host of “All Things Considered” on Ideastream Public Media.