After a nine-month, pandemic-induced hiatus, the Cleveland Cavaliers won their first game back on Saturday. And their top-pick was the player who ultimately earned them the win.
With .3 seconds left in a 107-104 win in Cleveland, Cavs rookie Isaac Okoro caught a pass in transition from Damyean Dotson, scored, and was fouled to put the Cavs up 106-104. He also kickstarted the break by forcing a T.J. McConnell miss on the other end and leaking out the moment the ball was grabbed by Dotson
On the night, Okoro played a team-high 33 minutes, scoring 18 points to go with 3 steals, 1 assist and 1 rebound. Defensively, he was aggressive and active all night. And in the fourth quarter, Okoro scored 16 of his 18. Granted, it came largely against backup Pacers. But Okoro handled it all and then some. That’s a very good debut.
Elsewhere, Cedi Osman scored a team-high 23 points to go with 5 rebounds. After a shaky start, he calmed down and settled into the flow of the game. This was the Osman — good shooting, some aggression, some playmaking — Cleveland needs this year off of Okoro and the team’s young guards. Dotson (12 points, 5-6 shooting) and Dante Exum (7 points, 5 assists) provided solid minutes off the bench.
Additionally, Darius Garland looked as if he had a better grasp on the flow of the game and was poised leading the Cavs offense from the point guard spot. He only had 1 assist vs. 5 turnovers, but the tape tells a very different story. He constantly finding guys in a way Cleveland will need him to this year.
Kevin Love and Andre Drummond, meanwhile, both only played in the first half. Love had 6 points in 14 minutes, while Drummond had 2 points and 5 rebounds in 14 minutes. Both rested the second half as scheduled.
The Cavs play the Pacers again on Monday. Tipoff is at 6 p.m. a Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.