Through one quarter, the Cavs were in pretty good shape. Holding onto a 27-17 lead, the Cavs shot the lights out in the first quarter, hitting 11-17 from the field. After that, unfortunately, the Cavs lost their focus and their touch. This preseason game, played at the area of the Canton Charge, ended up as an 18-point loss.
Now, it is the preseason. It’s not really worth discussing the team dynamics of this defeat, especially as the Cavs were missing five of their better players from the lineup. Carrick Felix and Jarrett Jack missed the game with nagging injuries, Tyler Zeller is still out due to his faulty appendix, Anderson Varejao didn’t see the floor, and in one of the more bizarre DNPs of all-time, Sergey Karasev was not with the team because he still needs a work visa. So, the Cavs were missing a nice chunk of what should be their regular rotation. Therefore, let’s focus in on some individual notes from the game:
-Anthony Bennett looked decent on the boards, but somehow inflated his absurd foul total for the preseason to 16 in three games with a foul out. Bennett’s defensive strategy of “MUST HACK EVERYTHING” is becoming an issue that I reeeeeeeally hope doesn’t carry over into the regular season.
-C.J. Miles probably had the best game for the Cavs, finishing with 15 points in 22 minutes of work, and often looking like the Cavs’ best offensive option when Kyrie Irving wasn’t on the floor. Miles was about the only player who could consistently score after the first quarter, and that was nice to see. He’s demonstrated that his shooting rebirth from last season wasn’t a fluke, and is earning his way back into a crowded guard rotation.
-The Cavs’ ball movement was pretty terrible, as evidenced by the 25 turnovers the Cavs had, and the 13 steals for the Bobcats. Dion Waiters was the most frequent offender, but Matt Dellavedova was the most egregious. Dellavedova was very erratic with his passing, dishing 7 assists but also making some very questionable decisions with the ball in his hands throughout the game.
-On the Bobcats side, it must be noted that Kemba Walker looked really good on both ends tonight, finishing with 14 points on 6-14 shooting, 5 assists, and 3 steals. Walker was a struggle for the Cavs to cover all night on the perimeter, and looked really good defensively, where he frustrated Irving and even blocked a mid-range jumper midway through the 3rd quarter from Kyrie. Kemba was the main generator for the Bobcats throughout the game, and his orchestration for the Bobcats proved to be the biggest reason the Bobcats came back so forcefully.
Overall, the takeaways from this game are minimal for the Cavs. A lot of young guys played, Bennett didn’t look any different than he has the rest of the preseason, and Kyrie looked like he was sleepwalking, as you might expect from your stars in games that don’t matter. The Cavs battle Detroit on Thursday, and hopefully will have most of their missing guys back in order to put up more of a fight than they did tonight.