Cavs bench mob gets preseason minutes against the Pacers
One game removed from their first preseason win, the Cleveland Cavaliers gave up a close one to the Indiana Pacers while the coaching staff experimented with lineups, giving the reserves some much-needed floor time.
Despite figuring in the 109-100 loss, the Cavs unit appeared a lot more composed in the preseason home opener, a far cry from the way they played horrendous beating at the hands of the Chicago Bulls a few days ago.
Newcomers Ricky Rubio and Lauri Markkanen combined for 23 points (55 percent shooting) in solid another solid outing, but forgotten swingman Dylan Windler was the star of the show tonight for Cleveland as the starters underwhelmed.
The 26th overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft tallied 12 points, draining 4-of-5 shots from deep while also adding with four rebounds, an assist, and a steal in his first game back for the Cavs. The oft-injured sharpshooter received a lot of burn tonight after riding the bench during the first two preseason games.
Dean Wade and Kevin Pangos each added eight markers from the bench for Cleveland, while fan-favorite big man Tacko Fall made his debut in wine and gold following much clamoring from the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse crowd.
Cavs will continue to use the preseason for lineup adjustments
The worst three-point shooting team in the league will finally get some relief with Windler and Kevin Love back in the rotation, as well as by adding equally deadeye snipers in Markkanen and Pangos.
Veteran Spanish point guard Rubio and another fellow offseason arrival Denzel Valentine are also able shooters. After two stinkers, Cleveland finally shot a pretty decent 41 percent from deep with their designated gunners seeing ample court time.
On the other end, the defense needs much tinkering. The wings had very few answers against Indiana’s Malcolm Brogdon, who torched the Cavs with 27 points off 86 percent shooting from the field. The newly-minted Tower City frontcourt also gave up 25 markers and 19 boards to Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner.
Meanwhile, the Cavs backcourt starting duo of Darius Garland and Collin Sexton were afterthoughts, combining for 19 points and just two assists against nine turnovers in the loss. The coaching staff is expected to continue to use the remaining two preseason games to finalize the 10-man rotation for the regular season.
Cleveland will play another home game on Sunday where they’ll host the Chicago Bulls, before ending their preseason campaign with a rematch against the Pacers on the 15th.