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The Cavaliers are accomplishing all that they’ve set out to do in Summer League so far. They’ve gotten great performances from their returning sophomores. Their prized rookie point guard has improved across the board in each game. And their recent two-way signee is starting to look like a steal.
And, oh yeah, they also improved to 2-1 in early Summer League play – knocking off the Pacers, 93-88, on Monday afternoon at Cox Pavilion.
Cedi Osman was easily the best player on the floor all afternoon – looking aggressive and assertive on the way to a 25-point effort, going 9-of-18 from the floor and 5-of-5 from the stripe, adding six boards, six assists, a block and a turnover.
The second-year player from Turkey doubled-up in Friday night’s win over Washington before getting the next night off against Chicago. Through his first two games, Osman is averaging 20.0 points and 8.0 boards.
”My goal (this year) is to take more responsibility to help my team, because I know I can create for myself and for my teammates,” said Osman. “That’s one of the main reasons I wanted to come to Summer League.”
(Fellow sophomore, Ante Zizic – himself averaging 20.5 points and 12.5 through the first two outings – got the afternoon off to rest.)
Monday’s matchup was nip-and-tuck throughout, with neither team leading by more than eight points at any point. The Cavaliers led through most of the second half, however, and once they regained the lead midway through the third quarter, they never gave it back.
Collin Sexton, the No. 8 pick of this June’s Draft, continued to improve his overall game – posting his third straight contest of double-figure scoring, finishing with 21 points on 9-for-17 shooting, adding four assists in the victory.
“I really want to just go out there and get my rhythm back and just learn on the fly because the first three games are really the ones you have to correct things and learn from,” said Sexton. “I had a few turnovers, but I feel like I've bounced back from those and continued to play through them.”
Sexton spent the afternoon checking fellow first rounder, Aaron Holiday – drafted 15 spots behind him by Indiana – who he’ll likely see in Central Division matchups for the foreseeable future.
Rounding out the Cavaliers in double-figures was two-way signee Billy Preston, who returned to the rotation after missing Saturday night’s contest with a right quad contusion. The 19-year-old, who’s still shaking off some rust, chipped in with 12 points – going 4-of-10 from the floor and 4-of-5 from the stripe, adding four boards, a pair of steals and a blocked shot.
”For him, he's still trying to get used to the whole setting and trying to get a rhythm for himself and it's going to take a little bit of time,” said Coach James Posey. “But you can see it in flashes but he's gonna get there.”
Second-year forward TJ Leaf led the Pacers – notching 20 points on 8-for-21 shooting to go with nine boards and a pair of blocks.
The Cavaliers closed out their opening round with a 2-1 mark and will now await seedings for the playoff tournament which tips off on Wednesday.