The Cavs held the lead for much of the second half, but gave the game away in the 4th quarter. Luke Harangody missed a wide-open 10-footer at the buzzer that would have given the Cavaliers the victory. (Let’s hope I never have to write a sentence like that ever again.) Anyway, it was a preseason game, so it’s not like the result much mattered. On to the bullet points:
— The game was, as is to be expected from a preseason game following an extended lockout, woefully disjointed at times. A lot of ill-advised passes and bad shots. Let’s hope the Cavs—and the league as a whole, really—shake the rust off by the middle of January.
— As a friend of the Jewish people, I’m elated to have an Israeli on the team, especially one who plays as hard as Omri Casspi. Incidentally, Casspi had a terrific game, leading the Cavs with 18 points. He hit open jumpers, ran the floor well, and… attempted to play defense. His activity level was outstanding. I think Casspi, in concert with Andy Varejao (so good to have him back), will be the engine of this team, something we’re going to need while trudging through a brutally compact schedule.
— Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson were unspectacular. Irving didn’t turn the ball over, put up 11 points on 5-12 shooting, and missed a couple easy jumpers. Thompson didn’t make much of an impact on the offensive end, but he rotated well in the post and collected 5 rebounds in 21 minutes.
— A DNP-CD for Skyenga tonight. According to the Plain Dealer’s Twitter account, Byron Scott “has not been happy with [Eyenga]‘s training camp.” I suspect that means Eyenga’s still struggling mightily at the defensive end. Not a good sign for the Congolese guard.
— Are we sure Ryan Hollins is an NBA player? The 7-footer’s stat line looked like this at the end of the night: 22 mins, 4 points on 0-3 shooting, 4 rebounds, and 3 TOs. And he fouled out late in the fourth quarter when he, for no real reason, pulled Greg Monroe to the floor as Monroe was jogging toward the block. Hollins is entitled to have a lousy preseason outing, but he was pretty miserable last season, and if he hasn’t improved at all in the offseason, I don’t see how he can help the Cavs win this year other than providing 6 fouls when Dwight Howard visits the Q.
— Brandon Knight looks like a player who hasn’t quite found his sea legs. You might remember that early in the season at Kentucky last year, he was forcing shots and looked a bit out of his league against elite D-1 college competition. I think he’s going to experience the same thing in the NBA. He looked great for a five-minute spell early in the 4th quarter, but for the most part, he was taking questionable jumpers and turning the ball over with a disconcerting frequency. Regardless, I thought he was the steal of the draft at eight; I’m sure he’ll figure it out eventually.
Anyway, the Cavs open the actual season the day after Christmas against the Raptors, which is an eminently winnable game.