The Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Chicago Bulls in a preseason game last night. It was a clean, crisp game for the entire night. They were executing on offense and had some stifling defense. It was truly an effort that Byron Scott would be proud of. OH WAIT THAT WAS ONLY THE FIRST HALF. The second half started and then things went HORRIBLY HORRIBLY WRONG.
Cavs leaders: Points: Dion Waiters, 18; Rebounds: Anderson Varejao, 10; Assists: Daniel Gibson, 4
This is the stuff that happened:
Like I said, the first half was really pretty good. They were executing their sets on offense, which was clearly something that Byron Scott focused on in the past couple days of practice. In their game against the Milwaukee Bucks, the offense looked pretty horrible. They were dribbling the air out of the ball and making reckless drives. Last night against the Bulls, they were running the plays that were called and were making the extra pass to get easy buckets. With the help of some nice defensive play (and horrible execution by the Bulls), they cruised to a big lead at the end of the first half.
The thing that stood out the most to me in the first half was the Dion Waiters-Tyler Zeller pick and roll action. Waiters uses screens quite well and penetrates at will. His first step is incredibly quick and he's got this sudden burst that he uses to get where he wants to be. Once he's there, he has the ability to make a pass to the big man or score. Last night, he tended to make the pass instead of trying to attack the rim. Zeller was often the guy on the receiving end and it led to some nice, easy buckets. Waiters also had his jumper going (finally) and poured in 18 points including 4-4 from three point land. Truly a nice bounceback game for Dion. The only thing that he was really missing was his ability to draw contact. He was one of the best guards at getting to the free throw line in college last year, but he didn't have a single attempt last night. I'm not worried about that at all, but it would be nice to see.
Kyrie Irving's box score looks horrendous. He shot 2-15 from the field and had just two assists. But he wasn't that bad. He missed a bunch of shots that he normally makes. We know Kyrie is a stud. Don't worry about one rough preseason game.
Tristan Thompson looked pretty good offensive, although FIVE turnovers is far too many. Again, not concerned. He'll get better. C.J. Miles wasn't as awesome last night as he was against the Bucks. He still looks quick and seems to be a really nice fit in this offensive scheme. I'm pretty stoked that he's here. Alonzo Gee, on the other hand, did not look good. He wasn't able to beat guys and get to the basket and for some reason, he was passing up open jumpers. Take what the defense gives you, Alonzo.
As usual, Luke Harangody led the team in plus-minus -- wait, what? GODY was a perfect 3 for 3 from the field, 1 for 1 from deep, and 2 for 2 from the free throw line. His efforts led to 9 points and the team was +14 in the nine minutes that he was on the court. Prior to the game, Byron Scott said Harangody would play "significant minutes." Apparently, Harangody is so good that he can turn just nine minutes of playing time into SIGNIFICANT MINUTES. THA GOD.
That's pretty much all you need to know, but I'll quickly walk you through how the night went:
The Cavs were smooth in the first half. Dion hit his first three and everything was clicking. Cleveland brought an energy that the Bulls simply couldn't match. They went into the locker room with a 50-29 lead and then they came out for the second half. That's when shit hit the fan. They didn't score for roughly the first 5 minutes of the 3rd quarter -- and frankly they didn't come close. At a certain point, the game just got too ugly for me to bear. It was a Friday night and I'm in college. So I left my beloved PRESEASON CAVS behind.
I got a text from my friend that there was a party somewhere off-campus, so we planned to meet at someone's dorm first and have some juice boxes (because I'm 19, that's all I'm allowed to drink) before we went out. We hung out for a bit until we got the address of the party and set out on our merry way. In the metaphor, this portion of the night represents the Cavaliers' first half. It went smoothly and seemed to be setting up for a pretty solid evening.
We got to the party and it was a fairly typical college experience (for the sake of the metaphor, being at the party represents halftime of the Cavs game). There was a lot of yelling and sweaty people, but everyone was generally in a good mood. It was light-hearted and nobody had any real complaints. Once we stepped out of the house and started heading back to campus, that's when we realized most people had a bit too many juice boxes and were starting to resemble the third-quarter Cavaliers. People were stumbling and bumping into each other. Nobody really knew which way they were going.
We knew that we needed to catch the bus to head back to campus -- this was it: the fourth quarter. It would be a struggle to get to the bus stop on time, but I was confident that we could finish the night without any major catastrophe. We knew the 2 AM bus would be coming soon, so we slightly jogged to the bus stop and were there with a couple of minutes to spare. One girl was wearing unreasonably high heels and was unable to run to bus stop with us. We saw that the bus was approaching and she was still a good 30 or 40 feet away, so she started to jog in her unreasonably high heels. This was obviously a horrible idea, but it was the only way that she would get to the bus on time. She jogged (more like waddled) and you could see it coming a mile away -- the sidewalk was uneven and her heel got caught. She stumbled briefly, waved her arms in attempts to grab onto the nothingness in the air to hold her upright and enjoyed a delicious mouthful of concrete. Somehow, she managed to brush it off like nothing happened, recover, and still win the game, er, get on the bus.
I like to think this was a tribute to the 2012-13 preseason Cleveland Cavaliers.