The Cleveland Cavaliers looked lively against the Boston Celtics Tuesday night, pulling out a 102-95 victory in their first game of the preseason.
After losing the world’s best player, LeBron James, to the sunny shores of Los Angeles, there have been plenty of doubts about the Cavaliers upcoming season. The questions about the Cavaliers rotation, offensive strategy and defensive woes haven’t been answered, but we got a sneak-peek at what may be ahead in the 2018-19 campaign.
Head coach Ty Lue didn’t surprise many by starting with a lineup of Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, George Hill, Cedi Osman and Rodney Hood. Though fans are most eager to see rookie Collin Sexton in action, there is a good chance Hill will continue to be the starter heading into the regular season.
Though, Sexton did lead the Cavaliers in minutes, logging 23 on the night.
The offense ran primarily through Kevin Love, who showed off his ability to run the floor on multiple occasions in the first quarter as the Cavs raced to an early 11-2 lead. Love paced his team with 17 points in 17 minutes.
We also saw Larry Nance bring the ball up several times, which could be a fascinating development as the season continues. Allowing Sexton to play off the ball on some possessions could take some pressure off of the first-year player to orchestrate the offense, and allow him to develop some of his other skills — primarily his shooting, which is one of his weaknesses.
David Nwaba, a late addition to Cleveland’s roster proved he could earn some minutes this season, scoring 12 points in as many minutes. Which brings up the most interesting thing about this Cavs team: there are at least a dozen players who could realistically play big minutes. The pressure will be on Ty Lue to find out which rotations work, and ride the hot hands. The talent on the team may not be comparable to seasons past, but they have a lot of options if things should go south.
Osman showed his versatility, putting up a statline of 11 points, seven rebounds, and four assists — whether he will be able to energize this team, as he has done in the past, on a nightly basis has yet to be seen.
The Cavaliers have three more preseason games against the Celtics, Pacers and Pistons before they kick-off the regular season against the Toronto Raptors on Oct. 8. Keep an eye on whether Lue begins to favor one lineup combination over another, especially when he turns to his bench.