The Cleveland Cavaliers finished their preseason schedule with a record of 3-4 , but what can we really learn from these games?
If you just look at the scores, it doesn’t look good, especially with a big loss in the final tune-up before the season starts.
In their last preseason game, the Cavs lost by a score of 100-82 to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday. That game had plenty of statistics that will make Cleveland fans nervous, such as the Cavs losing the rebounding battle 45-39, being outscored in the paint 40-34 and having more turnovers, 17-15.
This was similar to several of their other preseason games and the Cavs finished the seven game schedule averaging 4 fewer rebounds and 6 fewer points than their opponents, along with giving up 2 more turnovers per game.
The final game did provide plenty of good signs for the Wine and Gold, though, such as star point guard Kyrie Irving scoring 20 points and forward Alonzo Gee adding 18 points.
Also, the team’s two first round draft picks, guard Dion Waiters and center/forward Tyler Zeller, both started and played well. Waiters scored 12 points, recorded 2 assists, had 1 steal and did not have any turnovers. Zeller, meanwhile, scored 13 points, pulled down 7 rebounds and had 1 blocked shot.
Head Coach Byron Scott said after the game that he saw a few bright spots during the preseason, but that the team has a lot to work on, especially on the defensive end.
The Cavs also still have to make the final decisions on who will make the roster, and there is a lot to sort out before the season starts on Oct. 30, when the Wine and Gold take on the Washington Wizards. First of all, Scott has to decide how to divide the minutes up on a team that is loaded with young players and has only a few veterans.
With rookies Waiters and Zeller both starting the final preseason game, it will be interesting to see if they are in the starting lineup on Oct. 30 and how many minutes they get in the early part of the season.
Also, the team has to figure out how to get better inside. The Cavs will need to win the rebounding battles some games, and the team will need to be able to score more easy buckets down low. The hope is that Zeller, Varejao and Tristan Thompson will lead the way inside, with several other players also chipping in at times. Zeller, Varejao and Thompson have to perform well if the Cavs are going to have success this year.
That being said, Irving should be the driving force on the team this year. He played well during the preseason and at times looked like the player fans are counting on to lead the team back to its winning ways. That is one of the best signs Cavs fans could hope to see during the preseason and he gives fans hope.
The Cavs did a lot of good things and plenty of poor things during the preseason, and now the team needs to keep improving and progressing. All of the preseason statistics and records are about to be wiped clean. The real season starts very soon and the Cavs have a lot of work to do if they want to be a playoff team this year.