CLEVELAND: The Cavaliers seem to be good for one “hole” on offense every season. Last year it was Samardo Samuels, and this year it’s Tristan Thompson.
In 15 games entering Friday night, Thompson has exactly two assists. It puts him in rare company, since only three players in the league (with enough games to qualify) have fewer than three assists — Thompson, Utah Jazz rookie Enes Kanter and Denver Nuggets center Chris Andersen.
“You’ve got those blinders on [that] the horses wear in New York,” Scott told Thompson recently. “Your peripheral vision is not the best.”
Thompson knew his assists total was low, but he was stunned to find out he had only two all year.
“Only two assists? Total? All year? Wow! Oh, geez!” Thompson said, putting his hand on his head in disbelief. “Definitely gotta work on that.”
Samuels conceded last season he had tunnel vision and was determined to get to the basket every time he touched the ball, leading Scott to call him a “hole” instead of a “hub” in the offense.
Thompson insists he faces up to the basket after catching a pass and reads the spacing and cuts before deciding what to do. It just so happens his decision most of the time is to attack the basket. He has been working on a drill in practice the last couple of days to help him with his passing.
“It’s not just rip ’n’ go,” Thompson said with a laugh. “My assists don’t justify that statement, but I’m telling the truth. I’m not lying to you guys.”
Hollins in rotation
At first it was just the matchup. Scott played Ryan Hollins against the Miami Heat because of Hollins’ athleticism, but Scott made it official on Friday: Hollins is in the rotation, and Erden is out for now. Scott likes the energy level that Hollins has played with the last couple of games, and he sets hard screens Wednesday against the Knicks. About the only thing Scott doesn’t like is that the 7-foot Hollins has failed to grab a rebound in 23 minutes against the Knicks and Heat.
Scott wants to see Hollins, Erden or Samuels emerge and claim that backup center job, but that hasn’t happened yet.
“It would be nice,” he said. “But until they do, I’ll keep throwing them in and out.”
Go play in Canton
With Thompson’s ankle healing, the Cavs sent Luke Harangody to Canton so he can get some playing time with the Charge. The Cavs moved Harangody instead of Mychel Thompson, because they still need Thompson for practice to limit Anthony Parker’s minutes in practice. Parker is still dealing with a stiff lower back, and Scott wants to save him for the games.
“Just wanted him to go down there and get some playing time,” Scott said of Harangody. “Go down there and play a few games until we bring him back. He understood exactly why we were going there. Getting down to Canton and just playing is very important.”
Samuels seems to be back in the Cavs’ rotation for now, but Scott would like to see more consistency out of him. Scott said Samuels will play well for two games, then disappear when he’s on the court in the next four.
“He’s like Jekyll and Hyde,” Scott said.
Samuels laughed when told of that assessment and said he hasn’t even been given six consecutive games this season to have two good and four bad. He’s right. He hasn’t played in more than three consecutive games this season.
“That’s a pretty tough assessment,” Samuels said with a chuckle. “I’ve been trying to stay consistent. I understand the thing with Tristan [being a high draft pick] and you have to play him, so I’m just staying ready and when my number gets called, I go in there and do my thing. I know how to play basketball. I prove that every time I get my chance and my minutes.”
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