If you had any concerns about how Kyrie Irving was shooting the ball, they all went away Monday.
The Cavaliers traveled down to Cincinnati to take on the Orlando Magic.
Irving had his best performance of the preseason Monday in front of the greatest NBA players of all time, Cincinnati’s own Oscar Robertson. Irving broke out of his early shooting slump by scoring 22 points in a 114-111-overtime victory. Irving started out hot in the first quarter scoring nine straight points from all over the court. The Cavs forced eight Magic turnovers in the first half and took the early lead of 53-46 at halftime.
Jeremy Pargo got his opportunity early in the game, subbing in for Irving. Pargo will be competing with Donald Sloan for the team’s backup point guard role. Thus far Sloan has received more minutes in the preseason, but neither have emerged as the favorite for the spot.
Although leading at half and up by as many as 14 at one point, the Cavs found themselves playing from behind in the fourth quarter. The two-man game of J.J. Redick and Glen Davis was really difficult for the Cavs to defend. However, they were able to battle back and force the game into overtime.
When overtime began, Magic first year head coach, Jacque Vaughn, kept his starting players on the sidelines and played the whole overtime with bench players.
Omri Casspi took over in the overtime period, scoring seven of his 12 points.
C.J. Miles was in the starting roster and scored 17 points, his highest this preseason. Tyler Zeller looked like he took a huge step forward in his progression, scoring 10 points and grabbing five
Dion Waiters started the night off on the wrong foot when he went 0-of-3 shooting in the first half. He shook off the shaky first-half performance by scoring eight points and dishing out two assists.
The most surprising performance of the night came from Alonzo Gee. Gee, who came off the bench, finished the night with 13 points and his most important bucket of the night came with less than two minutes left in regulation when he drilled a three-pointer.
Offensively the Cavs looked great but struggled tremendously on the defensive end of the court. Having the duo of Redick and Davis pick apart your defense has to be concerning for head coach Byron Scott.
The Cavaliers will travel to Philadelphia on Wednesday to take on the 76ers. Scott has said he intends to treat these final two preseason matchups as real games. I expect Scott to show us some sort of player rotation he plans to play with in the season. The Cavs final preseason scrimmage comes next Tuesday against the Indiana Pacers at Quicken Loans Arena.