Cleveland fans got their first look at the 2012-13 Cavaliers and I would say results were mixed. At best. The winning squad, Team Gold, shot 40% from the field and 28% from behind the arc. Yeesh. The losing team? They shot 33% from the floor and 27% from downtown.
Sure, you had your requisite Good Things and Bad Things but I’m not sure how much you can take away from this intrasquad scrimmage. I mean, the team with Kyrie Irving lost 54-44 and trailed by as many as 18 points. That doesn’t exactly make sense. The Cavs played a disjointed game, mostly at half speed. How much does one learn from a game that bosts both a running clock and a Luke Walton jump hook?
I kid. Sorta. Dan Gilbert and the Cavs put on a fun show and the Cavalier provided some Saturday afternoon, pre-Ohio State game, entertainment.
Here’s some things that I noticed over the course of this glorified practice.
Kyrie Irving is undoubtedly the best player on the Cavs. Kyrie led everyone with 13 points but he did it on a very pedestrian 5-13 shooting. Kyrie is just faster than everyone else. He makes his decisions a half-a-sec quicker than everyone else. Even though he was playing at half speed, he still blew by his man and got his shot at will.
Dion Waiters had his moments, but not many. Waiters was the game’s second leading scorer, finishing the night with 12 points on 4-9 shooting. I was pumped that he and Irving were on the same team, as Scott previously said they’d be on opposing sides. Waiters had a couple plays where he showed why the Cavs decided to take him with the fourth overall pick. I have all the confidence in the world that Waiters will be able to get to the rim. I like that Scott let the Irving play off of Waiters at times. However, Dion has a bit of Shawn Marion in him, meaning, when he misses a shot, it looks gawd-awful. He had a couple cringe-worthy jumpers on Saturday night.
Gilbert and Co. brought out the big guns. Exhibition season? Pah! Gilbert had the jumbotron up and ready to go, shooting fire and advertising the Horseshoe Casino. The mascots were running around throwing t-shirts and losing their heads1. The atmosphere was pretty good. I will say it was kinda weird when they shot flames during the national anthem. Not to mention that they played a fake (?) gunshot during “bombs bursting in air” which startled the crowd, who murmured throughout the rest of the anthem. I know Gilbert love his bells and whistles, but sometimes simpler is better.
C.J. Miles can play. Miles, along with Omri Casspi, led team Gold (who wore white) with 9 points. While his stats don’t look fantastic (Miles shot just 2-9), he looked in control and competent during the game. Miles made some aggressive moves and knew what he wanted to do with the ball.
The battle to backup Kyrie Irving: I would say that Jeremy Pargo has a slight lead. I thought Pargo made some nice plays attacking the rim, setting up shots for both himself and his teammates (he found Varejao with a nifty backdoor pass). His Gold teammate, Donald Sloan, didn’t really stand out.
Daniel Gibson had a rough night. 1-6 from the floor, 0-3 from behind the arc, 2 rebounds (both offensive). Again, I’m not sure how much you can take away from this game but at this point in his career Boobie needs to fill up the stat sheet in areas other than shot attempts.
Tristan Thompson: underwhelming. For as much work as TT has done in the gym, the results weren’t readily noticeable on Saturday night. He still had a hard time catching the ball in traffic, he still looked awkward on the offensive end and he still was an adventure at the foul line (2 of 4). Thompson had a few touches on the outside and it wasn’t pretty. His jumper still looks flat to me and his handle is suspect.
Alonzo Gee didn’t stand out. At all. His stat line: 0-2 FG, 3 rebounds, 2 assists. Would’ve liked to see more out of him, especially since he was going against C.J. Miles. I watched the whole game and he didn’t cross my mind once. Not good. He needs to be more active.
Skinny Samardo Samuels. I liked what I saw from new look Samardo. He was active (5 boards) and he showed off some solid post moves and even knocked down a jumper. If he can keep his weight down and keep his focus, Samuels could be in store for a big year. Related: this is a contract year for Samardo Samuels.
Tyler Zeller. The most notable thing about Tyler Zeller’s night was that he was the one who addressed the crowd before the game. He thanked everyone for showing up, made sure to mention First Energy a bunch of times and practically sprinted away from that mic. Where’s the veteran leadership, huh? Leaving the public speaking duty to the rookie, eh? Shame on you, Luke Walton. Zeller finished with 3 boards and 2 points (1-1 FG).
The Cavs play their next exhibition game on Monday at 7:00 pm at The Q against Montepaschi Siena, an Italian team from the Euroleague. They’ll face their first NBA opponent, the Milwaukee Bucks, on Tuesday in Canton, at the Memorial Civic Center.
- Sir C.C. went face-first into the rim off a trampoline and his face plant caused his head to fly off. This may have been my highlight of the night [↩]