Cleveland Cavaliers : Wine And Gold Struggle In Loss To Milwaukee Bucks

By Nick Claussen

Facing off against a team picked by many to be a playoff contender, the Cleveland Cavaliers dropped a preseason match up to the Milwaukee Bucks 97 to 80 Tuesday evening in Canton, Ohio.

The Cavs were led by free agent signee C.J. Miles who scored 18 points, while Kyrie Irving chipped in 16.

This was the first preseason game for the Bucks, while it was the second for the Cavs, who defeated Italian League power Montepaschi Siena on Monday.

And while the final score didn’t look good for the wine and gold, the game stats looked even worse. The Cavs committed 22 turnovers (to just 12 for Milwaukee) and had only 10 fast break points, compared to Milwaukee’s 15. For the Cavs to have success this season, they will need to score a lot on the fast break and will need to force turnovers.

The most glaring stat of the night is the points in the paint, where Milwaukee poured in 48 points compared to just 28 for the Cavs.

The most significant stat of all, though, is that this game was just a preseason game. Head Coach Byron Scott surely wanted to win, but he also wanted to get a good look at different lineup combinations.

Starters tonight were Alonzo Gee, Tristan Thompson, Anderson Varegjao, C.J. Miles and Kyrie Irving. Of that line-up, Miles received the most playing time at just over 22 minutes.

The Cavs played a total of 15 players tonight, and Jon Leuer, Jeremy Pargo and Tyler Zeller each played more than 22 minutes.

Dion Waiters came off the bench for 14 minutes and shot just 1 for 7 but handed out 3 assists. Pargo led the team in assists with 5.

Samardo Samuels and Donald Sloan, the two players who led the Cavs in scoring on Monday, did not even play against the Bucks.

So while the Cavs did not do anything fancy like, say, winning, they did get a lot of different players time on the court as they build toward starting the regular season.

Sure, you might say you’d like your team to do things like win rebounding battle (the Cavs lost it 42-40) or shoot over 40 percent from the field (the Cavs shot 38.5 percent), but if you are a Cleveland fan and you’ve waited decades to win a title in any sport, you’ll take any signs of progress.

And if you want good signs, take a look at Thompson’s 7 rebounds, 1 assist and 4 points, and look at Miles’ 4 of 7 shooting from the three-point arc, along with his 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals and 18 points.

The Cavs are putting together some good pieces here, and the coaching staff is using these games to decide how it best fit it all together.

The regular season is still a long ways away, and there are plenty more preseason games to go. The Cavs next take to the court on Friday in Champaign, Ill., against the Chicago Bulls.


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