Cavs suffer second preseason loss against the Bulls
After suffering a harrowing defeat at the hands of the Chicago Bulls nearly a week ago, an undermanned Cleveland Cavaliers squad pulled around but came just short, giving up a 102-101 decision as they dropped to 1-3 in the preseason.
Playing without the starting backcourt duo of Darius Garland (illness) and Collin Sexton (shoulder), head coach J.B. Bickerstaff finally followed through with his tease and played three seven-footers together. And somehow, the Tower City lineup proved to be pretty effective.
Lauri Markkanen slotted in at small forward to join presumptive frontcourt starters Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley, alongside Isaac Okoro and Ricky Rubio to open the match. He led the Cavs in scoring with 18 points while shooting 57 percent from the field.
The rookie Mobley played one of his best games in wine and gold, tallying a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds coupled with three blocked shots and two steals, while Allen added 12 markets and eight boards.
After figuring in a much closer contest, Cleveland absorbed their second straight loss at home due to their inability to capitalize on a four-point lead with just under a minute and a half remaining in the game, where the reserves proceeded to get outscored 7-2.
Cavs will continue to use the preseason for lineup adjustments
Despite shooting fairly well in the loss against Indiana, last season’s worst three-point shooting team failed to make even a third of their shot attempts, with Markkanen being the only one to drain more than one.
However, a positive takeaway is oft-injured wing shooter Dylan Windler receiving significant court time for the second straight game. The former 26th overall pick scored nine points to go with four rebounds and four assists as he continues to work his way back.
With their steady play in the preseason, it is becoming increasingly likely that Windler will join veterans Rubio and Kevin Love as the ones to crack the team’s regular rotation, alongside the ‘Sexland’ duo and the players who started against Chicago.
The Cavs are set to have one final test run in their preseason campaign as they face off against the Indiana Pacers on the 15th, giving the coaching staff time to make final rotation tweaks for the regular season.