The Cavs played their first actual pre-season game on Wednesday and they came out on fire on both ends of the court. Cleveland finished the first quarter of the game with a score of 28-20. The Cavs locked down the Hawks in the first quarter with good defensive stops and shot the lights out. Have I mentioned they did this all without LeBron?
Cleveland was finally able to showcase just how deep their team is. Cleveland was without LeBron James or Isaiah Thomas, LeBron is battling an extremely minor ankle injury while Thomas is still in rehab for his hip injury.
Cleveland ran a smaller lineup out there at one point with Smith, Rose and Wade on the court at the same time.
The problem with the offense when LeBron wasn’t on the court, even when Kyrie Irving was on the court, is it seemed like the players on the court had never played in an organized offense before and they had no direction out there. Wade and Rose will more than likely come off the bench when the team is at full strength and it seems like the team will be in good hands when James is off the court this season. Wade knows how to guide an offense and Rose has played point guard all his life, he turned 29 years old Wednesday but he still seems extremely quick.
Additions Jeff Green and Jae Crowder both looked like they fit in the system extremely well, Crowder ran the floor beautifully when Love threw his patented outlet pass to Wade and Wade dished it to Crowder. Green looks to be an aggressive option for the team on offense.
Wade looks like he hasn’t aged much, the speed isn’t entirely there but his finishing ability at the rim hasn’t changed and he will thrive amazingly with James. Like I said earlier, he will be one of the reasons the Cavs will thrive when James is on the bench.
Beating Golden State may appear impossible to some, but Cleveland had a wonderful off-season no matter how you look at it. Cleveland added depth which will obviously be beneficial once May and June come along. Cleveland was throttled by Golden State last June whenever James needed to take a seat. Cleveland has also been horrible in any game when LeBron doesn’t suit up at all.
Here’s hoping that Cleveland can finally play decent basketball when LeBron is off the court.