In the preseason opener against the Milwaukee Bucks, number one pick Anthony Bennett was all but spectacular, especially on the offensive end, going 2-12 from the field, including 3-8 from the line and 0-3 behind the arc. He did grab 10 boards and showed definite explosiveness, but his shot just looked like it lacked touch.
Bennett looked the exact opposite last night against the Orland Magic.
After starting the game 0-4 and having some questionable moments through most of the game, Bennett started to heat up with 5:39 left in the 4th after converting a nine-footer for his first field goal, which brought the Cavaliers even with Magic. He would then score 12 of the next 14 to lead the Cavaliers to their second preseason victory.
The game was highlighted by a matchup between last year’s first two picks, Anthony Bennett and Victor Oladipo. Oladipo led his team with 18 points in his 18 minutes of play, to go along with eight boards and three assists and a huge put-back jam that had the home crowd in Florida on their feet.
Its natural for a rookie to have nerves in his first preseason game, but Anthony Bennett knew he had to prove himself last night. He seemed to really take his shots in stride, rather than shooting out of rhythm as he seemed to in the preseason opener.
After drafting the 19-year old out of UNLV, we knew we were not getting a huge defensive threat, but his shooting touch, along with his athleticism, was supposed to be one of Bennett’s better traits. And while Bennett has been par on the defensive end in his first two games, last night’s performance showed just what Bennett brings to the Cleveland Cavaliers organization.
Anthony Bennett showed an array of mid-range jumpers and moves, which extended behind the arc and in the post, using his huge frame to bully defender.
Pure size may be Bennett’s best aspect. He uses his tangibles so well, and with that kind of jump-shot, Bennett can become a very dangerous combo-forward.
The Cavaliers are positioned for a great upcoming regular season, and if (when?) Andrew Bynum comes back, they will have a number of offensive threats. Dion Waiters had a decent performance in last night’s game as, scoring 21 in 25 minutes of action, shooting 62% from the field. His opening performance showed some old and new habits. Waiters shot selection was questionable in the opening game against Milwaukee, as it was in his first season, but his defense seemed to have improved dramatically with Mike Brown at the reigns. Last night Waiter’s had a very efficient shooting performance, another bright spot for the young Cleveland Cavalier’s core.
Bennett shines in second preseason game (Photo credit: David Richard-USA Today Sports).