Wins and Lessons with the Cavs: The East Runs Through Cleveland

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers Head Coach Ty Lue said this season won’t be measured in wins and losses, but rather “wins and lessons.” With that in mind, WFNY is going to follow along with what we learn every week. 

The Cavaliers once again topped the Celtics in preseason action, this time in front of the home crowd, 113 – 102. The win was even more impressive as it came with Kevin Love, Kyle Korver, George Hill, Tristan Thompson, and David Nwaba sat out to rest. For the Celtics, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward sat out the contest.

Everything I said about the kids last time was wrong. I came down hard on Sam Dekker, Ante Zizic, Collin Sexton, and Billy Preston after the first game, but they all came out and played well on Saturday.

Sam Dekker had the play of the night, turning Jason “did you know he’s only 20” Tatum’s knees into rubber with a nice crossover.

(Please turn off your sound and just do the Chris Berman “woopwoopwoopwoopwoop” noise while watching.)

Dekker was active and made his presence felt in many ways.

Ante Zizic led both teams in scoring with 20. His touch around the rim looked great and he showed some shifty post moves.

Collin Sexton had his three ball working again, going two-for-two after a two-for-three showing in the first preseason game. He still settles for a lot of long twos, but his burst was apparent and his jump shot looks great.

Billy Preston looked more comfortable on the court and like a player that has some potential to turn into something interesting this year in Canton.

Channing Frye got a standing ovation. And he was pumped about it. Cleveland fans have really embraced that 2016 Title team and Frye was a major part of that team’s identity. The fans at the Q gave Channing a warm welcome and he showed his appreciation.

C3di. Osman keeps firing up threes, going one-for-four in the first preseason game and one-for-five in the second. His improved form is evident on his jumper, but it isn’t translating from deep. He’s also dribbling into a lot of his attempts rather than launching in catch-and-shoot situations. Hopefully, his added confidence will translate soon.

Running wild. The Cavs have empowered the big men to grab and go to push the pace. We’ve already seen Kevin Love and Larry Nance bring the ball up and try to initiate some early offense. The only player who doesn’t have the green light? Tristan Thompson.

Saturday night’s alright for fighting. I buried the lede here a bit, as the biggest story from this game was the fight between J.R. Smith, Aaron Baynes, and Marcus Smart. Baynes clamped Smith’s arm in an extremely dangerous play reminiscent of Kelly Olynyk and Kevin Love a few short years ago. J.R. retaliated with a push and then Marcus Smart went berserk.

The highlight of the entire fiasco was Smith smiling and laughing as Smart tried to push through teammates and officials.1

The Cavs face off against the Indiana Pacers on Monday and Detroit Pistons on Friday.

  1. If you aren’t following World Wide Wob, he’s your best option for up-to-the-minute NBA highlights and memes. []