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Cleveland Cavaliers

Suns 107, Cavs 105 final thoughts: Time to assess the bench's depth

By Jason Lloyd Published: November 10, 2012
Miles defended
Cavs wing C.J. Miles might find himself on the bench soon following his season-long slump. (AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX: Throughout training camp and much of the preseason, Cavs coach Byron Scott bragged about the depth of this team, about how if one guy isn't getting it done, he can look down the bench and find another option.

Yet less than two weeks into the season, those options have dried up. He typically is only playing about three reserves significant minutes, but Friday's loss to the Suns shortened that to two. C.J. Miles played less than five minutes in the second half -- all in the fourth quarter -- before Scott sat him down. 

Given his recent performances, that's where Miles needs to stay. On the bench. 

Miles looks lost offensively and his confidence is shot. Among his seven misses Friday were two blown layups, a short bunny and four 3-pointers. Asked if Miles' time in the rotation was about over, Scott responded, "something I'm thinking about."

Scott has warned his players he won't be very patient this season with ineffective players. He benched Luke Walton after a couple of games, slashed Donald Sloan's minutes and has essentially ignored Omri Casspi and Jon Leuer. 

Now might be the time to give them another look. Casspi was awful last season, but responded with a nice summer in Israel and looked better in the preseason. At this point, he certainly can't be worse than Miles, who has gone scoreless in two of the first four games on this trip.

Miles has battled a flu bug the last few days, but he's shooting just 17 percent over the last two games (3 of 18) and 23 percent for the season. 

Certainly not all of the Cavs' bench problems fall on Miles. Samardo Samuels had two bad turnovers tonight on a pass and a double dribble, both times eliciting death stares from Scott, the second of which was followed with a slow, agonizing neck roll. Samuels grabbed just two rebounds in 23 minutes.

There is no established timeline for Tyler Zeller's return. It remains plausible Zeller could rejoin the team in Oklahoma City, but that hasn't been discussed yet with Scott. Still, Zeller's return will probably happen sooner rather than later, which will likely end Samuels' brief time in the rotation.

Scott hasn't received consistent production out of anyone beyond Zeller and Daniel Gibson. Now might be the time, however, to dig a little deeper.


Cavs: Kyrie Irving 17 points, 8 assists, 7 turnovers; Dion Waiters 23 points, 12 in fourth quarter; Anderson Varejao 14 points, 10 rebounds; Alonzo Gee 15 points, 7 rebounds. Suns: Goran Dragic 26 points, 4 assists; Shannon Brown 22 points; Sebastian Telfair 13 points; Marcin Gortat 12 points, 8 rebounds.

Key stat

The Suns shot 52 percent and outscored the Cavs 91-68 after the first quarter.

It was over when...

Irving missed the game's final shot at the buzzer. With 5.1 seconds left, Alonzo Gee initially inbounded to Dion Waiters, who was coming off a screen, but the Suns had a foul to give and used it instantly on Waiters. On the reset, Gee inbounded to Irving, who had a clean look at the 3, but missed it.

He said it

"It's just sore man, real sore. ... I've got to play through it. There's no way around it." -- Dion Waiters on his bruised right thigh. Waiters had an x-ray on it after the game, which was negative.

Up next

The Cavs (2-4) play at the Oklahoma City Thunder (4-2) on Sunday.

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