COLUMBUS: Final thoughts from a 104-93 win over a really, really bad 76ers team...
* I spent the bulk of the game story on Alonzo Gee because he played his finest game of the preseason and the small forward battle is one of the main storylines of this preseason, but Tristan Thompson’s work on the glass tonight was exemplary. Thompson grabbed 16 rebounds in 27 minutes and outworked the majority of the Sixers’ frontline.
“It’s my job. I’ve got to be active,” Thompson said. “That’s my role on the team is to rebound and keep balls alive and help start the fast break.”
* Only eight players in the league last season averaged a double-double. Thompson was not one of them, but just barely. He averaged 9.4 rebounds after a slow start to the season. “Not averaging a double-double was a disappointment,” he said. “That’s the goal for the season and to win games.”
* Brown heaped high praise on Thompson Sunday for his work ethic and potential as both a rebounder and defender. He declared Thompson had the potential to be one of the league’s best defenders. “I take it as a challenge,” Thompson said. “He sees the potential in me, so I challenge myself to be great. Not just good, be great. So the pressure is on, but I like that coach has the faith in me. Now I have to go out there and don’t let him down.”
* Sixers coach Brett Brown could be Matthew Dellavedova’s agent. Brown, the former head coach of the Australian national team, gushes when he talks about Dellavedova and his ability to play in the NBA despite going undrafted in June.
* “You can see how he flies under the radar and nobody really drafted him because he’s not glamorous, he’s not pretty,” Brown said. “But he’s effective and a helluva teammate. I most definitely feel like there’s a place for him in the NBA. I think the league will recognize that and the fans of Cleveland will see that as well.”
* Brown had to cut Dellavedova from the Australian national team prior to the 2010 World Championship. In fact, he cut him twice. After originally cutting him, he called Delly back because of an injury, then had to let him go again.
“I’ve cut many, many people over my coaching days. That was a painful one,” Brown said. “I still remember sitting there telling him that. It was a very emotional time for him and me to tell someone you’re not going to the World Championships to represent your country. It’s a hard thing and it means something to everybody, and especially the Australian mindset where it’s a small country. They take great pride in wearing the green and gold. That meant something to him as a young player and he was knocked back.”
* Brown challenged Dellavedova to prove him wrong and eventually he did. Not only did Dellavedova make the Olympic roster in 2012, he played so well that Brown was forced to start him at point guard and recreate the role Patty Mills was expected to play. “When you start talking about the character and DNA of people, he ticks the right way,” Brown said. “He’s a country Victorian, true Aussie that is a headbanger. He plays with reckless abandon. There’s a physicality to him and a toughness you fall in love with. He at times might not be pretty, he’s a little bit Neanderthal in how he goes about his business, but he’s for real. I loved coaching him and I’m so proud of the opportunity he’s taken advantage of with Jarrett Jack out. Matt Dellavedova is a winner.”
* Jermaine Taylor has struggled with his shot since his breakout game against the Pistons. Taylor was 1 for 7 shooting Monday and is now 1 for 11 after he had 15 points and three assists against the Pistons. Taylor had six assists against the Sixers, but I just don’t see how he makes this team.
* Henry Sims, however, keeps strengthening his hold on a roster spot. Sims had 14 points and five rebounds (6 of 6 shooting) and came up with a nifty block from the weak side that sprung a transition basket and foul. Sims won’t play a lot (at all?) with the Cavs if everyone is healthy, but there’s something there.
* Sergey Karasev left the game with a sprained ankle. No real update yet on the severity or how long he will be out, but I certainly would expect him to miss Wednesday’s game in Cinncinati.
* Sixers guard Evan Turner certainly enjoyed his return trip to Ohio State. Turner was supposed to play a preseason game here two years ago, but it was wiped out by the lockout. Last year the Sixers played the Cavs during the preseason in Cincinnati.
* Turner invited the entire team to his mother’s house for an enormous team meal Sunday night. Turner said she served chicken, but couldn’t remember everything because he never bothered opening all the dishes.
* Funny pregame moment in locker room when Irving couldn’t find a shirt to wear on the court. He sat patiently at his locker for a while, then threw a playful tantrum when the pregame clock ticked under 60 minutes to tip-off. He’s usually out on the court shooting by the 60-minute mark, but couldn’t find his jersey or a t-shirt to wear. Finally equipment man Mark Cashman flipped Irving a t-shirt and sent him on his way.