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Final score: Cleveland Cavaliers fall to Atlanta Hawks in Cincinnati, 98-96

The Cavs are back! It wasn't really real basketball

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Preseason basketball is a magical time in which players like Anthony Bennett can become unstoppable scorers. It's a time when LeBron James takes selfies not an hour before the game, or afterwards, but in the middle of an official's timeout. It's a time when the inherent inconsistency of players with different motives trying to play as one consistent and coherent force becomes, well, apparent.

You have your superstars who are trying to get into game shape, who have three weeks before the games matter in earnest, and six months before the games matter in terms of do or die performance. You have your fringe roster guys, trying to earn some guaranteed money. You have your rotation guys, trying to carve out a role, or a bigger role. The outcome of the game matters not.

The Atlanta Hawks 98, your Cleveland Cavaliers 96.

So what can we take from this performance? LeBron James appeared to be interested in playing good basketball for approximately three minutes of game action in the third quarter, but for the most part was feeling out the game and testing things. He dabbled in a bunch of different areas. Eight points on 13 shots is bad, but seven rebounds and five assists and three steals is pretty good.

Timofey Mozgov remains a beast on the pick and roll as long as he gathers the ball off the pass. He's so big, and he's moving, and the Cavs have pieces to make sure no one can slide over and draw a charge - James Jones was spacing things tonight, but that's Kevin Love in the regular season. Mozgov isn't a good passer, but he made the kickout pass once tonight, and it was great. If he can add that to his game, he's even more valuable.

Sasha Kaun and Anderson Varejao, well, you probably saw what you wanted to see. Andy made a few really nice jump shots, but the bench in general struggled to score. Neither played particularly good defense; Dennis Schroeder got to the rim a couple times. But both appear healthy, and both could make a positive impact - I'm just not sure when.

Mo Williams and J.R. Smith showed some good chemistry, finding each other for jump shots and backdoor cuts. It was promising. I'd caution at trying to draw too many more conclusions from this. I honestly have no idea what Kaun and Varejao will be based on tonight.

The Cavs are back at it again tomorrow and we will of course have you covered for that.

OH, Richard Jefferson. He did this. It was pretty cool.

We will have more soon on the battle for the Cavs final roster spots. Austin Daye looked good hitting some open threes, and Quinn Cook got first half minutes. Jared Cunningham appears to have some skills.