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Cavs 99, Bucks 87: final thoughts

By Jason Lloyd Published: October 9, 2013
Brown, Mike gestures vs Bucks
Mike Brown made his return to the Cavaliers during Tuesday's 99-87 preseason win against the Bucks. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

* When Mike Brown was here the first time, his pregame and postgame press conferences were held in the hallway outside the Cavs’ locker room. Now they’re more formal, down the hall inside the Q and on a podium. Brown laughed when a worker clipped the microphone to his sweater vest pregame. “I used to just stand in front of the curtain,” he joked. “That was more my speed.”

* Indeed, plenty has changed around here since the last time Mike Brown coached the Cavaliers. It was a little surreal looking down the bench and seeing Brown on the sidelines and he conceded prior to the game he felt the same way. I get the feeling it won’t take long for him to fall back in his rhythm.

* Jarrett Jack’s locker is right in between Dion Waiters and Kyrie Irving at both the arena and practice facility. That’s not a coincidence. It only makes sense for Jack to immerse himself with the two young guards since the three of them will be playing so much together, but it’s also so Jack can keep one eye on each of the youngsters.

* Rookie Carrick Felix is older than Irving, Waiters and Tristan Thompson. And Felix is also turning some heads with a strong camp. It could be tricky finding him minutes, but if he defends as well as his reputation, Brown will find ways to get him on the floor.

* I initially thought DeSagana Diop would have an inside track on one of the final roster spots, but Brown didn’t insert him until late in the fourth quarter Tuesday and it was easy to see why. He labored getting up and down the floor. Now I’m skeptical if Diop has a shot at making it.

* Kenny Kadji didn’t play until the second half, but he had 15 points and five rebounds. He got up a Waiters-like 11 shots in 12 ½ minutes.

* Anthony Bennett has struggled mightily in both the Wine & Gold game and Tuesday’s preseason opener. He looks … rattled. He missed all three of his 3-pointers Saturday and badly clanked his first attempt Tuesday off the side of the backboard. Then after he was woefully short on a free throw attempt, C.J. Miles stepped into the lane and tried calming him down. Bennett finished with seven points and an impressive 10 rebounds in 23 minutes, but he shot just 2 of 12 and struggled defensively. Brown made it clear Bennett’s defensive lapses were a big reason why he had to cut through so many timeouts.

* It has been reiterated to me on multiple occasions that this is all new to Bennett. He did very little at UNLV in the way of conditioning and defense. He might be a little overloaded right now, but the raw talent is evident both in the 10 rebounds he grabbed Tuesday and his flat-footed monster dunk over Tristan Thompson on Saturday. “I don’t expect anything from him but give me effort every play,” Brown said of Bennett. “Whatever he does on top of that is gravy. He’s a talented kid with great athleticism. I’d say his skill set is off the charts.”

* Earl Clark was a bit of a disappointment, fouling out in under 17 minutes. I think he’ll be fine and should serve as a good wing defender, but he had more turnovers (two) than baskets (one) in his debut.

* The Cavs had a ridiculous 26 turnovers offensively, but Brown didn't seem overly concerned. He expected a somewhat sloppy offensive effort because of how little time the team has spent on the offensive end. But he was also pleased to see the ball "humming" at times. 

* NBA analyst Chris Webber called the Cavs “the best young talented team in the league” on a conference call Tuesday morning. Fellow analyst Greg Anthony and Webber both agreed this will be a huge season in terms of the Cavs’ development if they are to take the next step from a young team with potential to a legitimate team to fear. “Jarrett Jack was one of best pickups by anybody in the NBA this past offseason,” Anthony said. “He’s the perfect player to compliment what Waiters and Kyrie are able to do.”

* As Irving was ready to start his pregame media availability Tuesday, Jack interrupted because Irving’s mesh bag had trickled over into his personal space. “Could you keep your damn net bag in your locker please?” Jack joked. Irving grabbed it and tossed it in his locker. “Can’t you see I’m doing an interview?” he said. The moment was light-hearted and playful, but it also delivered a subtle message: Jack is going to stay on Irving about the big stuff and the little things. Like the net bags.

 

Stats

Tristan Thompson 17pts, 8rebs, 3asts

Kyrie Irving 14pts, 3asts, 5 turnovers

Dion Waiters 12pts, 4/11 FGs

Kenny Kadji 15pts, 5rebs

C.J. Miles 12pts, 2/4 on 3-pointers

 

Quotable

"That’s our defensive staple. ... It’s pretty simple. You don’t do it, you don't play." -- Tristan Thompson on his renewed effort to defending the pick-and-roll and defense in general

 

Up next

The Cavs (1-0) travel to face the Orlando Magic on Friday.

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