WE WON A PLAYOFF GAME. In their first Summer League playoff game, the Cavs took down the Spurs by a final score of 72-66. Dion Waiters finished with 27 points in the victory.
The Cleveland Cavaliers switched up their starting lineup once again. Some might question the decision to change the starting lineup in the first game of the playoffs, but apparently Jamahl Mosley is a daring kind of guy. In their incredible important game against the San Antonio Spurs, Cleveland opted to start Matthew Dellavedova over Cory Higgins and Justin Harper over Kenny Kadji. Of course, the playoffs don't actually matter and they're just trying to get different guys more playing time.
The start of the game was sloppy for everybody. Yes, I know you are shocked to find out that a game that started at 1 PM in Las Vegas was poorly played.
Dion Waiters came out with his typical aggressive mindset. He got to the basket several times, made a couple nice passes, and hit two jumpers in the first quarter. He also committed a lazy turnover when he tried to split a double team. The good news is that his jumper looked to be finally falling. When he's able to hit jumpers consistently, it makes it much easier for Waiters to get to the rim and score easy baskets. Despite his normal boneheaded heat checks and ill-advised gambles, Waiters basically did whatever he wanted. He scored in a variety of ways and the Spurs couldn't really do anything to stop him. Unfortunately, Waiters does the defense a favor anytime he decides to pull up for a jumper.
I liked what I saw out of Kenny Kadji in the first half. He showed a quicker release on his jump shot and even drained a couple of three pointers. Now, I'm not sure if Kadji has that kind of range consistently in the NBA, but it was nice to see. He was also pretty active, scoring twice off of offensive rebounds.
Carrick Felix was a mixed bag in the first half. He looks pretty great finishing in transition and continues to be a beast on the boards. He gets lost occasionally on defense and hasn't really had this three-pointers fall since the first game in Vegas. Nevertheless, I love Felix's game and I love what he brings to the Cavs.
The hoards of children in the crowd might have been the most entertaining part of the game. They held great signs that had inspirational words such as "Go Team!" and "Play Hard!" They also alternated between rooting for the Spurs and the Cavs. They also all danced to the Harlem Shake at the exact same time. It was borderline creepy.
Tyler Zeller didn't play a ton in this game and when he did, he didn't look great. But I'm not all that concerned about Zeller. He took care of the biggest thing he needed to work on and added weight this offseason. He looks like a real NBA center now, which is good. NBA Summer League isn't really the right setting for a guy like Zeller. The games are dominated by guards and sometimes it's hard for bigs to get involved. Zeller could have been much better, but I don't think it's much reason to worry.
I like Cory Higgins. I have to assume that he's battling Dellavedova for one of those last roster spots as an extra guard. At this point, I'd probably lean towards having Dellavedova because he's more of a pure point guard, but I don't feel strongly about it either way.
Jermaine Taylor once again flashed his solid three point shot. He moves so well on the court and is clearly trying to make the most of his minutes. Unfortunately, he hasn't gotten a ton of playing time. He'll almost certainly get a training camp invitation, it just probably won't be from the Cavs.
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