The Cleveland Cavaliers opened their preseason with an exhibition victory over the Euroleague's Montepaschi Siena by the score of 91-85 on Monday, October 8 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The game was not pretty, but it was a chance for Byron Scott to get a good look at his team before they start facing NBA teams in preseason action.
Samuels had a fantastic game in his 28 minutes off the bench leading the Cavaliers with 14 points and adding 7 rebounds and a blocked shot on the night. He was 6-of-8 from the floor and 2-of-2 from the free-throw line.
Sloan was equally impressive adding 13 points, three rebounds, three steals, and a blocked shot in 27 minutes off the bench. He shot 4-of-7 from the floor and was a perfect 4-of-4 from the stripe.
Bench points will be key if the Cavaliers hope to have a fighting chance at being a playoff team rather than a lottery team at the end of the regular season. There is plenty of talent on the young squad, however they will certainly need to step up their game to land that No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference.
A night of double-figure scorers
Six Cavaliers scored in double-figures on the night led by Samuels with 14 and Sloan with 13 points respectively. Among the starters, Tristan Thompson scored 12 points while C.J. Miles and Kyrie Irving added 10 each. Rookie Dion Waiters added 11 points in just 15 minutes off the bench.
The game was not a true look at the Cavaliers' potential as the starters played roughly 20 minutes each. Only a handful of bench players saw action while most of the outlying players fighting for a roster spot rode the bench. They should see more action as the preseason rolls on.
Team comes together in the second half
"We just did a really good job of executing in the second half, moving the ball, looking for teammates," said Coach Scott. "I think in the first half we had (five) assists and (finished with) 18 for the game… So we just did a better job of sharing the ball. We still have a long way to go as far as sharing the ball and trusting each other."
The Cavaliers looked rough in the first half but as Coach Scott stated, they looked vastly improved come the second half. The young team is quite different than last year's squad with many of the returning players still trying to find their individual roles moving forward. It was their first game of the preseason and they did not look half bad. If nothing else it was a positive way to start the year.
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Paul Rados is an avid Cleveland Cavaliers fan and a Featured Contributor for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @PSRados.
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