Well..... this is what we needed. After an off-season of what ifs, maybes, can theys, and hopefullys, we finally saw something to look forward to. Yes, it was a pre-season game, I get that, but it feels great to say "Can they dominate like this in the regular season?" as opposed to "Wow I hope this is a fluke". The story isn't really important so let's break down the performances:
Cavaliers Team Perfomance: Pretty great all night. The Bucks backcourt of Brandon Knight and OJ Mayo looked over matched from almost the get go. Cavaliers defenders swarmed, hedged, and rotated pretty beautifully most of the night. On the glass, the length and activity of Tristan Thompson, Anderson Varejao, and Earl Clark dominated the glass. Offensively there was great movement that generated open threes and looks at the rim with ease.
Tristan Thompson: Splendid, and showing the fruits of his labors this off season. Tristan came in looking bulked up, and maybe even a little taller. Against the Bucks front court that includes LARRY SANDERS! he was able to shine. Even completing an alley-oop with one hand, and showing a bit of that righty stroke on free-throws.
Kyrie Irving: Nothing to see here. Kyrie did his normal wizardry, nailing jumpers and finding open teammates. That this seems so normal and not worth discussing is pretty cool. Kyrie put out a VERY strong effort on D, which is something great to look forward to. Lets see if that continues.
Dion Waiters: Still leaning back a bit on some of his jumpers, and taking a few silly ones, Dion showed definite signs of improvement. He attacked the rim inside of the offense, made a few very nice passes to find open jump shooters, and nailed a few spot up jumpers from Kyrie dishes which was awesome. Set the tone early on defense, and looked physically overpowering to OJ Mayo, who is also 6'4.
Anderson Varejao: Same ol Andy. So glad to see you again old friend.
Earl Clark: Not a great showing on offense, his jumper abandoned him this night. Earl played nice defense and was good on the boards, and his length caused major problems for the Bucks.
Anthony Bennett: Obviously out of shape, I was probably happier with his performance than most. He played hard, and was incredibly physical all night. If he spends the season body checking, forearming, and generally smacking around the opponent it will be a great year. Anthony looked like he was pressing early, and never really got his jumper going, but he had a few great dunks and put in a good effort on D.
The Rest: Jarrett Jack came as advertised, and showed his great all around game on offense. CJ Miles was CJ Miles. He didnt stand out on defense, but didn't make any glaring mistakes. His jumper was beautiful, as always, and he got inside a little bit as well. Carrick Felix and Sergey Karasev looked good. Felix played with reckless abandon and Karasev flashed his range a few times. Henry Sims and Kenny Kadji, battling for a roster spot, both played well. Kadji more so, showing explosion and a very high motor, but Sims wasn't bad either if not as exciting.
All in all it was a fun night, and we have a lot to watch for this weekend against Orlando. With how high the energy level was tonight, I'm actually excited to insert Alonzo Gee into the mix and see how he looks. This defense is made for him it seems.