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The Cleveland Cavaliers defeated Coach Blatt’s former team, the Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80 Sunday night at the Q. Kyrie led the Cavs with 16 points, followed by Waiters with 15 points, Thompson with 14 points and 13 rebounds, James with 12 and 4 assists and Kevin Love with 8 points and 11 rebounds. Leading all scorers was Maccabi’s Guard Sylven Landesberg with 23 points. Also a major contributor for the Tel Aviv was Ex-NBA Point Guard Jeremy Pargo with 18 points and 5 assists.
Throughout training camp there has been a lot of speculation for how the Cavs will emphasize defense. Well, today the Cavs held the Tel Aviv to 32.5 % shooting and cut out the second chance opportunities by out rebounding Maccabi 64-36.
Offensively speaking, it was exciting to watch the big three get going in the early minutes of their first preseason contest. LeBron, Kevin and Kyrie scored the first three Cavalier field goals of the game in that order. LeBron nailed his first basket against an opponent as a Cavalier, and in the process opened the flood gates to David Blatt’s high-octane Princeton Offense. Here are the highlights for the Cavaliers’ dominating win in their preseason opener:
The Cavaliers are nothing short of dynamic in the transition game, with a fast-pace offense that will even be elusive to NBA teams; the Wine and Gold out hustled the Tel Aviv in fast break points 20-3.
Unfortunately, there still remains the question of who shall fill in the void of the center position. Tristan Thompson started at center today, and while he was a more effective transition player and rebounder than Varejao, he still struggled sizing up to centers on both ends of the floor:
It will be intriguing to see if Coach Blatt decides to go with the reliable defense of Anderson Varejao going forward with his preseason experiments. One experiment we thought Blatt would try was playing a smaller lineup, with Kevin Love at the center and Shawn Marion or LeBron James moving down to give the Cavs more speed and playmaking. Coach Blatt might consider trying this after seeing the Cavs dominate the glass. The most successful rotation Blatt put together came in the second quarter, where the substitutions of Anderson Varejao and Shawn Marion helped LeBron take a game that was close in the first quarter to the blowout everyone had anticipated. This is a process, however; Coach Blatt will continue experimenting and seeing which players play well together in order to rotate combinations of Cavalier spurts. The good news is, with the tremendous level of depth on the Cavs’ roster, as witnessed tonight, provide Blatt with an ample number of combinations to manipulate.
As rumored, LeBron did take some precautionary limited minutes. He sat out the entire second half, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t going to stop working:
Despite all the questions, this is only one game. Not even – it’s preseason! There’s plenty to learn from, but there were a lot of things to smile about. Cavs Nation’s Writer Jeff Zhang was on the scene, scoring a nice shot of LeBron James knocking one down from deep in the Q:
The Cavs also were able to test their new replay review facility with some Delly magic:
While all odds were with the Cavaliers, the Wine and Gold did have some additional luck that helped them out from time to time. This had more range than Andy’s typical jumpshot:
A win is a win, and the Cavs will surely enjoy it and probably learn even more from it: