MIAMI: Part of the Cavaliers’ evolution on offense has been an ability to take care of the basketball. Through their first 26 games, the Cavs were tied for last in the league in turnovers, averaging 16 per game.
Entering Sunday’s game at Miami, the Cavs were averaging 12.6 turnovers in their last 29 games — tied for the second-fewest in the league.
“I think a lot of it has to do with the beginning of the season, so many guys are so young and inexperienced you’re going to have those types of mistakes,” coach Byron Scott said. “Even at the halfway point of the season, I thought we started doing a much better job taking care of the ball because we weren’t thinking so much, we’re reacting and playing basketball. Taking care of the ball is a big-time priority. We’ve said that from game one, but the guys have taken that to another level.”
The lack of turnovers has helped the Cavs’ transition defense, since fewer steals means fewer fast breaks. It has also improved offensive efficiency.
The Cavs entered Sunday averaging 107.6 points in nine February games, which, if it holds, would mark their highest-scoring month in 20 years.
“Guys know the right plays to make and the right spots to be on the court,” Shaun Livingston said. “They know if a pick-and-roll happens, where I’ll be. Same with the other guards. If C.J. (Miles) or Wayne (Ellington) is running it, they know the spot to be at and that’s half the battle. It creates the right spot and it opens up the floor. It’s the same as the veteran teams’ play. The Heat, the Spurs, they play off each other, they know how to play and it’s beautiful basketball. And fortunately, they have talent, too.”
More Irving praise
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra got an up-close look at Kyrie Irving during All-Star weekend, but said he has been impressed with him since he entered the league.
“To be that productive for a young player says a lot about his talent, but he also must have a very good work ethic to be able to put all that together,” Spoelstra said. “Not many young players are able to do that, particularly at the toughest position in the league, the point guard position where you have to organize not only your own game but everyone else’s game. He is a heck of a talent.”
Omri Casspi had his appendix removed at Orlando Regional Medical Center late Saturday night after he was admitted for severe abdominal pain. He is expected to return to Cleveland today, although he remains out for the foreseeable future.
There was a report in a Jewish publication over the weekend that Casspi was seeking a buyout of his contract and release by the Cavaliers, but a league source denied that Casspi has asked out of his contract. That could happen, however, once he recovers from the appendectomy.
He said it
Spoelstra on Mike Miller, who returned to the Heat following a sinus and ear infection that impacted his hearing: “He is back with us. He can’t hear anything we are saying, but he is back with us.”
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Cavs blog at https://ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.