For the record, Gold won 67-57.
The Cavalier organization went all out for their yearly Wine & Gold scrimmage, all of the Dan Gilbert’s bells and whistles were on display. The music was blaring, the cheerleaders and dance teams were up and about, Moondog and Sir C.C. had a skit and the scoreboard shot out some flames. Also, Zydrunas Ilguaskas was in town watching from a suite and got a really nice standing O when he popped up on the jumbotron.
Coach Byron Scott addressed the fans before to start the afternoon, thanking everyone for coming. Scott also made a point to note that there were more people at The Q for a scrimmage than there were in Detroit for the Cavaliers first exhibition game. I believe it (though it was about even).
The Cavs put on a really pleasant afternoon at The Q.
As for the game, I have some observations:
- Kyrie Irving continues to impress. Irving just looks like a point guard. He sees the floor well, he finds space, and he changes his speed very nicely. Kyrie got his shot seemingly whenever he wanted but he also set up his teammates really well. He found Omri Casspi and Christian Eyenga in the open court for dunks and he found Ryan Hollins more than once in the halfcourt (not that Hollins was always ready for the ball…).
- I think Cavs fans will really like Tristan Thompson. The kid is strong. He’s very aggressive on the boards and very active on the defensive end. Offensively, yes, he’s very raw (though a powerful dunker). The Cavs isolated Thompson on the block and the resulting awkward step-back jumpers were not pretty. However, he did blow by Antawn Jamison for a nifty reverse layup, but that may say more about Jamison than Thompson at this point.
- Anderson Varejao took this scrimmage so seriously, he got into it with the refs. Andy was his usual active self, taking charges, rebounding well and finishing around the basket. At one point, Kyrie Irving drew a charge on Andy and Varejao was so displeased (Irving was in the circle) that the next time down the court he simply bear-hugged Kyrie and yelled at the refs (Dave Cowens style), “Now that’s a foul!”. Good times.
- Thompson and Varejao were on the same squad (Wine, for what it’s worth) and I think they’ll be able to share the court once we get to the real games. Yes, neither should touch the basketball more than 10 feet from the rim, but I think they compliment each other quite well defensively. Thompson’s athleticism and ability to play above the rim (especially weakside blocks) goes well with Varejao’s pick and roll defense. Plus, they both are relentless on the glass.
- Ramon Sessions did some new things and classic Ramon Sessions things. Surprisingly, Sessions showed off his jumper, nailing two treys quite confidently. However, he also blew by his defender and biffed some layups (including one air-balled floater). I still think Sessions starts opening night, but I can’t imagine he’ll remain the starter for very long.
- We saw our first glimpses of Boobie, Omri Casspi and Ryan Hollins. Hollins seems about the same; he had some nice moments and followed those up with some bonehead moments. Boobie hit a trey to end the half but he also tried some floaters with varying success. I was really interested to see Casspi but he didn’t do a whole lot. He attacked the basket better than I expected but his jumper was off.
- Me thinks the jumpshots will take awhile to return. With the late start to the season and the shortened training camp, nobody seems to have their legs. Jamison, Parker, Gibson, Casspi… no one’s shot looked particularly good. I can’t wait for the season to start but those early games won’t be pretty.
- Christian Eyenga dunked twice in the open court and well… that was about it. If he did anything else besides the dunks (and one came in the absolute final seconds), I don’t remember it. I love his athleticism but you can watch large sections of games and not realize he’s out on the court.
- I continue to dislike Alonzo Gee. He’s got decent size and speed, but I just don’t like his game. Gee just seems to force things and I don’t usually like whatever it is he’s trying to force.
All in all, it was a very enjoyable afternoon at The Q. There were a lot of young people and families at the game. It was a really nice atmosphere. Plus the Cavs played fairly well, there were enough exciting plays to keep folks interested and, not for nothing, no one got hurt. After the game, the Cavs let kids on the court to play ‘knock out’ with some Cavaliers (Luke Harangody was the first participant knocked out) and eventually shoot some free throws.
The Cavs finish up their exhibition season against the Pistons at 7pm on Tuesday at The Q.