In an overall sloppy contest, the Cleveland Cavaliers' Summer League game was again paced by their last two No. 1 icks, Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett. Facing off with the Nerlens Noel-led Philadelphia 76ers, Wiggins and Bennett paced the Cavaliers offense and helped staved off a Sixers' comeback as the Cavs won by a final score of 86-77.
Bennett had 14 points on 5-12 shooting to go along with four rebounds. Wiggins, who made the play of the night when a sensational dunk that he followed up with a block of Noel on the next possession, finished with 10 points. Matthew Dellavedova led all Cavaliers with 19 points.
The first half saw the Cavaliers get out to a lead early amidst some frenzied play. Both teams played a little out of control and looked to push the ball up the floor on offense. The Cavs were able to take the lead in large art due to their ability to hit shots. Both teams, however, had trouble keeping possession - a trend that would continue for the entire game. The Cavaliers had 23 total turnovers, while the Sixers had 15.
It was right before the half that Wiggins threw down his dunk. Spinning on the baseline after dribbling towards the paint, Wiggins rose up past a lurking Noel to finish well above the rim. And on the next possession, Wiggins did what Noel failed to, blocking Noel when he rose up for a layup right under the basket.
Bennett had his own highlights. He started off strong, hitting his first shot and running the floor well. Throughout the game, Bennett was excellent at following up missed shots at the rim. He even threw down his own dunk after Wiggins'. At the half, the Cavs led by a score of 48-29.
In the second half, the Sixers committed to running a fill-court press with traps and pressure set-up the moment the Cavs inbounded the ball. This put Dellavedova to the test and while he did better when playing alongside Will Cherry, he struggled to advance the ball and set up the Cavs' offense past half court. This resulted in an number of easy points off turnovers for the 76ers. Overall, in the second half, Cleveland was outscored by Philadelphia 48-38.
Wiggins, who was on the bench to start the fourth quarter, came in with about six minutes to go and helped stabilize the Cavs on both ends. With Cherry in the game as well, the Cavs were able to withstand the Sixers' pressure and control the final few minutes.
The win moved the Cavs to 3-0 so far in Summer League and likely will give them a first round bye in the tournament that caps off play. Their next game, and opponent, should be known in short order.
- Matthew Dellavedova has struggled so far as a lead guard in summer league and tonight was no different. While he shot well and had some nice moments, many of his best plays on offense came when he was playing off the ball and asked to either make a secondary pass or pounce on an opening created by someone else. If anything, summer league reinforced what he knew about Dellavedova. And it probably helps him that the Cavs don't necessarily need a prototypical backup point guard with how the roster is constructed.
- Anthony Bennett again impressed and overall had a good game. Offensively, he's got some hop in his jump shot and is attacking the rim consistently as well. He's still got some growing to defensively, but he continues to look like he'll have some sort of roll that allows him to be effective this upcoming season.
- David Blatt is a very active, intense coach. Even though these summer league games don't mean anything in the big picture, Blatt is up and constantly pointing things out on the court as a coach. For instance, off of timeouts, he followed players out onto the court as long as possible, whispering instructions in their ear as they walked. This is a marked difference from the last two Cavs coaches, Mike Brown and Byron Scott.
- Jack Cooley and Alex Kirk are not going to cut as backup centers at the NBA level, plain and simple. Both were dominated by Noel when they were matched up with him. The Cavs need to add another big to the roster, but I don't think that big is on this roster.
- One potential part of Wiggins' game that has me really excited due to his size and athleticism: Post-ups on smaller shooting guards.