The Cavs bounce back with a win in their second preseason game
The young Cleveland Cavaliers team needed all four quarters but managed to pull off with a close 99-96 preseason win against the Atlanta Hawks, just a day after suffering a horrendous beating at the hands of the Chicago Bulls.
After struggling offensively in their first game this preseason, the youngest projected starting lineup in the league bounced back to score two-thirds of the team’s final tally with head coach J.B. Bickerstaff giving them significantly more minutes in the second night of a back-to-back.
Collin Sexton once again paced the team with 19 markers while backcourt partner Darius Garland added 15 to go with seven assists, leading five Cavaliers who finished in double-figures. Meanwhile, forward Cam Reddish led all scorers with 20 points for the undermanned Atlanta side.
The win reaped a lot more positive points for Cleveland, especially on the defensive end. Playing with much more composure and better, they were able to hold their opponents to under a hundred one night after allowing the Bulls to race to 131.
Cavs should make the most of the preseason
A win is always good to have, but again, it is still where games are pretty much meaningless. The Hawks were also without their best players in Trae Young, Danilo Gallinari, and Bogdan Bogdanovic.
Still, after getting knocked down with that embarrassing defeat the night before, that win should feel good and in turn give more confidence to the young Cavaliers team. They played nowhere near impressive, but at least they are visibly taking steps in the right direction.
The Sexland duo brought the usual, and the rest of the youth movement also stepped up: Jarrett Allen, Isaac Okoro, and Lauri Markkanen each tallied double-figures, and Evan Mobley played more aggressively in his second game in a wine and gold uniform.
Mobley led all players in rebounding after grabbing eight boards to go with two blocked shots. The third overall pick in this year’s draft also displayed a rare show of emotion after a particularly highlight-worthy poster dunk over Jalen Johnson where he proceeded to sort of mean-mug his fellow rook.
While their outside shooting is still suspect, the Cavaliers showed some promise on the break, especially after blocked shots by the towering frontcourt. Speaking of defense, they were also much better tonight, forcing the Hawks to commit 19 turnovers and shoot below 40 percent.
Of course, there are still a lot more adjustments to be done as the coaching staff fine-tunes the rotation for the regular season and the Cavs will have three more preseason games to do that.
The Cavaliers will have a day off as they travel back home to host the Indiana Pacers at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on Friday.