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Cavs fall but Larry Nance Jr. rises with vicious dunk

CLEVELAND– In his first five minutes of action in Saturday night’s game against the Denver Nuggets, Larry Nance Jr. got off to a hot start with eight points and three rebounds in five minutes of action.

But his night was about to get even more electric. With 8:16 to go, Nance Jr. crashed the offensive glass on a missed Rodney Hood 3-pointer, splitting three Nuggets defenders in the process. After kicking it out, he got the ball back from Cedi Osman to put the exclamation point on the sequence:

The posterization of Mason Plumlee is something that will no doubt make the Nance Jr. career highlight reel, something that he himself acknowledged after the fact.

“It’s kind of what I’ve been doing since I came into the league and what I enjoy doing,” Nance Jr. said. “That’ll be one that I look at a couple of times tonight.”

Nance ended the game with 14 points, all of which came in his first eight minutes, as well as eight rebounds. In most of the first half, Nance provided something the Cavs desperately needed, especially with plays like the one up above: energy.

When the Cavs brought him in at the trade deadline, it was with the knowledge that he was another versatile young guy who has the ability to run on both defense and offense while giving maximum effort. At least in the first half, it rubbed off on his teammates.

“His energy is definitely infectious,” head coach Tyronn Lue said. “Being able to push the basketball off breaks, defensively flying around, he’s been really good for us. His athleticism is really good.”

In the second half, Nance’s offensive production went down, and he suffered a little scare when he collided legs with Gary Harris and hyperextended his knee. He exited the game and did not return, but said if called upon he would have been able to.

But regardless, Nance isn’t the kind of player that you’re going to get 14 points from every night. But he certainly knows how to capitalize when given offensive opportunities.

“It was fun,” Nance said of his first half. “It was definitely fun. They were leaving me open. So I had to kind of just read what they were doing and make them pay for it.”

Ashley is a former basketball player who covers the Cleveland Cavaliers, Indians and high school sports for NEO Sports Insiders. She also covers the Cavs for SB Nation's Fear The Sword. Ashley is a 2015 graduate of John Carroll University and previously worked in political journalism. You can follow her on Twitter @AshleyBastock42

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