It was only one quarter, and it came in garbage time when the Cavaliers trailed by 30, but given how badly Anthony Bennett has struggled this season, any positive on the basketball court beats what he has endured thus far.
Bennett scored nine points in the fourth quarter of the Cavs’ 126-96 loss at San Antonio on Saturday. He made 4-of-5 shots, cut through the defense for a dunk and grabbed five rebounds. But he also had a staggering five turnovers in his one quarter on the floor.
“I just tried not to think a lot when I was out there,” Bennett said. “I think that’s what helped me. I just tried to go out there and have fun.”
It has been a miserable start for Bennett, who missed 32 of his first 37 shots and recently fell out of Mike Brown’s rotation. One halfway decent quarter when the game was already out of reach certainly won’t be enough to earn his way back, but it’s a start.
“You’re rooting for a guy who’s in Anthony’s situation right now to be able to step up and make shots,” Brown said. “You know he’s capable of doing it. So for him to be able to see the basketball go in a few times is a good thing, especially him trying to show some aggression in getting to the rim and dunking the basketball is a good thing.”
Bennett missed 32 of his first 37 shots as a pro prior to Saturday night. The four baskets he made against the Spurs fell one shy of his total through his first 10 games. He said prior to Friday’s loss at New Orleans he was thinking too much on the court because of so much information that has been thrown at him over the last couple of months.
“I wasn’t worried about making a mistake [against the Spurs] even though we were down by a whole lot,” Bennett said. “We just tried to cut into the lead. Hopefully I can keep this going.”
Hard road ahead
In 14 games this season, the Cavs have been beaten by at least 29 points twice already, and they’re tied for the most losses (10) in the Eastern Conference. It doesn’t get any easier Wednesday, when the two-time defending champion Miami Heat come to Quicken Loans Arena.
“Tough times. We’ve all just got to stick together,” said Kyrie Irving, who is 49-113 with the Cavs. “We’ve got to figure it out. That’s the most important thing right now, just figuring it out game to game and staying optimistic. I’m leading this group. It starts with me. I’m telling guys every day to stay positive, stay locked in.”
Irving said he knew this season was going to be difficult despite the lofty goal of the playoffs.
“Everybody put all these expectations on us, guys kind of get comfortable,” Irving said. “But winning is hard to do in this league every single night. We have to realize that — not only at home but on the road. It’s that much more important for us to have a focus level game to game.”
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Cavs blog at http://www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.