Young Guns Go for the Gold
With just one more preseason game left before the home opener in eight days, Coach Byron Scott wanted to get his club – both the Wine and the Gold parts of it – through Sunday’s affair healthy and ready for the regular season.
"Since we have a game in two days, we have all these days we can practice," said Scott. "So we just wanted to have a little fun and let the guys just go out there and be themselves."
In the contest itself, the Gold squad – led by rookie Kyrie Irving’s 14-point effort – went on to the 67-57 win, punctuated by Christian Eyenga’s massive right-handed dunk at the buzzer. The game featured a full first half, but utilized a running-clock in the third and final quarter on Sunday.
Roster-wise, the Cavaliers were split in half – with the Wine team featuring Alonzo Gee, Samardo Samuels, Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson, Ramon Sessions, Mychel Thompson and Kenny Hayes. The Gold squad included Omr Casspi, Antawn Jamison, Ryan Hollins, Anthony Parker, Kyrie Irving, Christian Eyenga, Daniel Gibson and Luke Harangody.
On Friday night in Detroit, Cavs fans got their first look at the promising rookie duo of Irving and Thompson. On Sunday, the crowd of 7,836 fans got their first glimpse of the club’s other newcomer, Omri Casspi, who was the beneficiary of a pair of alley-oops from Irving. Overall, the former King finished with nine points on 4-for-8 shooting in his first action on the floor of The Q.
"It was the first time for me playing five-on-five in a long time, but as far as the team's concerned, they're going to see this," said Casspi. "We play hard defense, run the floor, share the ball on offense and hopefully we'll get a lot of wins."
As for the provider of those passes, Kyrie Irving tallied a game-high nine assists on the afternoon – going 7-for-10 from the floor with six boards and a game-high three steals.
"It was a great feeling, being out there with my teammates at The Q finally," said the former Blue Devil. "When I pulled up in the parking garage, there were a lot of nerves going in. I'm just excited to be out there with my teammates."
Irving was one of three members of the Gold squad to notch double-figures – joining Ryan Hollins and Christian Eyenga, who added a dozen points apiece.
The Wine team was paced by Samardo Samuels, who muscled up 15 points on 5-for-10 shooting – going a perfect 5-of-5 from the stripe and adding four boards and a blocked shot. He was joined in double-figures by his former high school teammate, Tristan Thompson, who looked impressive once again – going 6-for-10 from the field for 12 points, six boards and a pair of blocks.
The intra-squad scrimmage – free to the public, as always – had its share of exciting moments.
Aside from Eyenga’s throw-down to end the affair and Irving’s precise alley-oops to Casspi, the arena uplifted on Boobie Gibson’s 28-footer at the 1st quarter buzzer as well as a visit from an old friend – Zydrunas Ilgauskas, on hand with his wife and kids.
The Cavaliers will practice Monday and welcome the Pistons to The Q on Tuesday night in the final tuneup before tipping off the season on December 26 against the Raptors.