Cavs Close Preseason in Style
The Wine and Gold closed out the exhibition campaign in impressive fashion, overcoming a fourth-quarter deficit to take their second straight – an 83-77 win over the Bucks on Thursday night in Columbus.
Ramon Sessions completed a standout preseason – tormenting his former team with 10 of his game-high 26 points in the fourth quarter as the Wine and Gold erased a four-point Bucks lead and running away with down the stretch.
Sessions went 10-for-19 from the floor and 6-of-6 from the stripe, adding three boards and a pair of steals. Sessions notched double-figures in all eight of Cleveland’s preseason contests, culminating with Thursday’s big effort.
The Cavaliers needed every bit of Sessions’ 26 points. Earlier on Thursday afternoon, starting point guard Mo Williams returned to Cleveland due to the passing of his father-in-law. And Daniel Gibson – who concluded the preseason leading the squad with a 14.4 ppg mark – was a late scratch due to a neck strain. Boobie’s absence was more a precautionary method than anything.
Cleveland led by a pair, 42-40, at intermission. But Andrew Bogut’s layup early in the third put Milwaukee up by seven. But Anderson Varejao and Anthony Parker hit key buckets and the Cavs trailed by only a point after three. In the fourth quarter, Antawn Jamison’s three-pointer with just over five minutes to play gave the Cavaliers an edge they would not relinquish.
With Mo and Boobie sidelined, Parker not only turned up his scoring efforts, but also ran the team through several stretches. The former Euroleague star was an efficient 6-of-12 from the floor, adding a team-high four assists, five boards and a steal.
“(Parker) played 38 minutes and not one turnover,” praised Coach Byron Scott. “That means you can count on him to do the little things, and he’s one of the guys who knows what we’re doing pretty well.”
The Cavaliers didn’t exactly scorch the nets on Thursday night in the state capital – shooting just 41 percent from the floor, including 20 percent from beyond the arc. But they did manage to go 18-for-19 from the stripe. Both clubs were even rebounding the ball, scoring in the paint and on the fastbreak.
But Cleveland had the final say, forcing Milwaukee into seven fourth-quarter turnovers and limiting them to just a pair of free throws in the period. The Cavaliers had six steals in the fourth quarter alone – two each by Jamario Moon and Anderson Varejao.
“It’s good for our confidence when you can play and win games,” said the Wild Thing. “No matter if it’s regular season or preseason, it feels good to win. We’re going to be ready. We have a long way to go, but we’re going to fight.”
The Bucks featured four starters in double-figures, led by Chris Douglas-Roberts’ 16 points. Former Cav, Drew Gooden, and sophomore guard Brandon Jennings added 11 points apiece.
As the squad turns the page to the regular season, the Cavaliers shot 80 percent or better from the stripe in five of their eight preseason contests and were a perfect 4-0 when holding their opponents below 40 percent shooting. Cleveland finished the preseason 3-0 at neutral sites.
The Cavaliers will travel back to Cleveland for some fine-tuning over the weekend, and on Wednesday night, the aforementioned Eastern Conference Champs come to The Q.