With Cedi Osman and Ante Zizic sitting out Wednesday for rest, it was Collin Sexton’s time to shine, Wednesday afternoon. Shine he did, with a scintillating game: 24 points, seven dimes, four boards, a steal, three turnovers, and +22 in just 25 minutes. Collin was far and away the best player in the game and the Cavs ran out to big leads whenever he was on the floor as he led the Cavs to a wire-to-wire win. His driving game was top notch, and the incremental adjustments he’s made between each game have been impressive. Collin used the glass on his finishes much more effectively, and showed an ability to finish with either hand on both sides of the basket which is rare at any age, but especially his.
Sexton was in complete control of the pick and roll, and started the game off with a beautiful lob to Marcus Lee on a right side p/r where he drew both defenders. Defensively he was aggressive, rotated well, was the Anti-Kyrie when navigating screens. He played with pace the entire game and was able to push the ball while making quick decisions and taking care of the ball. He also used his strength and his twitch to get to the line where he was 7-9. The +22 was legit.
For the Kings, Harry Giles struggled with Marcus Lee’s D as Giles went 3-12 and -23. Justin Jackson scored 25, but it took him 20 points to get there. The only guy who impressed me was Notre Dame’s Zach Auguste who played for Panathinaikos last year. Coming off the bench, Auguste showed nice craft around the basket, tricking the Cavs with a number of reverses around the bucket. Zach had great activity and put up 19 and nine boards in 25 minutes, including a confident three-ball, which he didn’t have in college.
Here’s the player report from CLF:
Player of the game: Collin Sexton
Sexton controlled this game in a masterful fashion for a rookie. He read the game beautifully, making very few errors, and oozed with confidence. I’d be surprised if he plays another minute of summer league. One thing that stood out is the fact that he didn’t shoot many 3s, he looked for his shots, which led to an extremely efficient offensive performance.
Taking advantage of opportunity: Marcus Lee, Jamel Artis
Marcus Lee provided another solid performance in place of Ante Zizic, with 6 points, 4 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 1 steal. He had a glorious dunk off a Sexton alley-oop to start the Cavs off right, and a few highlight blocks. I hope the Cavs’ front office has the wisdom to keep this guy in the fold as a MUCH cheaper, future replacement for Tristan Thompson.
Jamel Artis took advantage of his spot start for Cedi Osman, with 14 points (5-9FGs, 2-3 3pt FGs), 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, and +20 plus/minus. He has a natural shooting stroke, athletic body, and big time college program pedigree (Pittsburgh). He put some good tape on record for scouts.
Bench rookie report: Billy Preston, Dakota Mathias
Preston started the game off rough, losing his matchup against Zach Auguste, a Notre Dame product, but caught fire in the 2nd half with an explosive dunk, and two sweet looking triples. He and Harry Giles got into it in the 2nd half, which led to their ejections, but I love his attitude and the fact he fought through some early bad plays.
Dakota Mathias turned in an improved performance with 5 points on 2-4 FG shooting (1-3 3pt FG), 5 rebounds, and an assist. One could see his quick trigger on his shot today. One thing that has to improve is his defense in order for him to take it to the next level in his game. He got shredded and the Cavs were -11 in his time on the floor.
Most improved performance: Okaro White, Scoochie Smith, Billie Preston
White looked the best he’s had all summer, with 13 points (4-10 FGs, 2-5 3pt FGs), seven rebounds, and one assist, along with a +17 plus/minus. I didn’t see him make negative plays out there, and made a steady contribution. Playing with Sexton also helped.
Smith made some highlight plays today, with a behind the back in transition to Preston for a dunk, and a sweet stepback jumper to end the 3rd quarter. He was also a perfect 4-4 from the field.
Billie Preston showed definite promise to go with his NBA frame as he posted a monster block, a big transition dunk, and a velvet 2-4 shooting stroke from downtown to go along with 10 points and six boards. He came up big in the third with back to back threes, and helped the bench keep control of the game when it looked like it might be slipping away.