The Cavs got beat again early this morning by the Magic, 100-84, in Macao, China. Or is it Macau? Whatever, the casino town on the South China Sea and are now on their way back home. Here are some thoughts on the game.
--Again, don't pay attention to the final score, the Magic padded it with a huge fourth quarter. The Cavs starters played OK. LeBron didn't shoot much but he passed well and, most interestingly, Mike Brown ran a bunch of post up plays for him and he worked down there well. He may very well have the best season of his career if he keeps this up. Brown is keeping his minutes way down in the preseason, which is good common sense.
--Zydrunas Ilgauskas also played well, he had 12 points and 11 rebounds in just 25 or so minutes. He has also looked like he's in midseason form already. Z spent two months in Europe over the summer and not working on his game much. But with him and his feet, it seems any sort of rest, even if it is a couple days here and there, really does him well. He looks rested and ready.
--Larry Hughes did some good things and was aggressive in getting to the basket. But he was 4-of-12 and missed a bunch of jumpers after he made a couple early. Despite his hard work, if he keeps trying to live on those jumpers it will simply not help.
--The Cavs offense has been so mixed this preseason. Sometimes they have great ball movement and their so-called "drive-and-kick" game looks OK. But it seems like a lot of times they are forcing it because Brown is really pushing them to do it. As a result, they end up getting into bad spots on the floor and turning the ball over in bunches. In addition, LeBron continues to stop the ball on the outside and dribble and everything stops. This is a serious concern for the team, they are less talented offensively right now and if LeBron bucks the system and stops the ball they are again going to have trouble scoring in the halfcourt. This goes above and beyond personnel changes, but it goes to how much confidence LeBron has in his teammates and the system. We'll see how it develops.
--Shannon Brown again looked athletic and played hard. He's going to get minutes and I respect how hard he's working. I just can't quite figure out how he fits in with his skillset yet.
--The Cavs' second team is a total mess offensively. I feel they are going to have to make a move to add some scoring there if Sasha Pavlovic and Anderson Varejao stay unsigned. They have open roster spots. In addition, Devin Brown did not play on Saturday for reasons I am still trying to determine as the Cavs take their 15-hour flight home. Daniel Gibson, who had hurt his hamstring, did play.