This wasn’t a pretty exhibition game for the Cleveland Cavs with the way they played. The Cavaliers defense, especially in the first and third periods, left a lot to be desired.
Kyrie Irving returned after being out for the past three-games, was already in regular season form. Irving finished with 23 points on 8-for-13 shooting in 28 minutes. Irving added three rebounds and five assists while making 3-of-6 3-pointers.
Coach Blatt was very impressed with Irving’s playing. Blatt said “The mere fact he played at the speed he did – and he competed hard defensively – that was a positive sign.”
Kevin Love and Shawn Marion rested and LeBron James didn’t seem to enthusiastic in playing the first half. James put up 12 points, two rebounds and four assists in 26 minutes and didn’t play in the fourth quarter, when Cleveland’s third string almost rallied.
James had one point on 0-for-2 shooting in the first half, his first field goal coming on a pointer with 10:27 left in the third period.
Dion Waiters had a mediocre game. Waiters scored 14 points, four rebounds and three assists in 32 minutes. On the other hand, which wasn’t pretty, he wasn’t 4-for-15 from the field, including 4-for-9 on 3-pointers, and committed four turnovers and five fouls.
Waiters has been the team leader in field goal attempts in every exhibition game.
Tristan Thompson was the most consistent player who scored 17 points on 6-for-8 shooting and 11 rebounds in 30 minutes, the Cavalier’s defense was lacking in the first and third quarters.
The Cavaliers defense was not good in the third quarter, when the Mavericks scored 32 points which gave the Mavericks 69 points over the first and third quarter.
Turnovers were a culprit in the third as the Cavaliers made five quick ones and allowing the Mavericks to get out in transitions.
The Cavaliers finished with 22 turnovers for the nights and cost get them 25 points, the Mavericks 11 only cost them seven points.
The Cavaliers play their Eastern Conference rival, the Chicago Bulls Monday in Columbus, where “The Big Three” of James, Irving and Love are expected to play together.
The Cavaliers have all the pieces to the puzzle to be a championship team, but appear to lack the needed chemistry, while early, Cleveland needs to see Love, James and Irving on the court as much as possible.
While this was only an exhibition game, the Cavaliers can’t relax with the season is about to start, all the players need to play their best.
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