Cavs update. Cleveland kicks off a six-game road trip tonight, 24 hours after suffering a 115-86 home drubbing at the hands of the Bulls. They opened the season with a more encouraging (but not terribly impressive) 94-84 home win over the injury-riddled Wizards on Tuesday, as Kyrie Irving paced Cleveland with 29 points on 20 shots. Random stat: Irving has seven assists and eight turnovers through two games. Irving plays as more of a scoring point for Byron Scott's crew, but something tells me those assist/to numbers will turn around.
Cleveland is plenty young, so my guess is that they're still a year away from being a more serious playoff contender. Reigning rookie of the year Irving, rookie Dion Waiters and second-year man Tristan Thompson would all still be college students if they weren't starting in Cleveland, while the bench also features 2012 first round pick Tyler Zeller and former Badger/Buck Jon Leuer. There's lots to like about this team going forward, particularly if Irving fulfills his superstar potential and Thompson/Waiters live up to their draft billings. Both Thompson and Waiters were surprise picks when Cleveland selected them fourth overall in 2011 and 2012, respectively, but no one is doubting their talent either. The near-term challenge for the Cavs is more in the area of experience: aside from Anderson Varejao (who pulled down 23 rebounds on opening night), I don't see a single veteran on the roster who looks like a vaguely legitimate NBA starter. Their youngsters will get their eventually, but it's not clear how quickly that happens.
Bucks look to keep rolling. The Bucks mission tonight: just do what you did last night. While Boston didn't look particularly sharp, the Bucks' swarming defense and fast-breaking/ball-moving offense deserves plenty of credit for making Doc Rivers' Celtics look old and slow in a game that was never particularly competitive after the opening 12 minutes.
Milwaukee swept the Cavaliers a year ago and took down Cleveland fairly easily in the teams' preseason opener, so recent history is certainly on the Bucks' side. All that said, the Bucks are hardly in a position to take any teams lightly, and two of their wins last year came with Irving injured (not to mention Varejao missing much of the year). The Bucks will have more of a margin of error tonight than against a team like Boston, but at this point in the season it's hardly time to be taking opponents lightly. Young teams like the Cavs often lack the defensive discipline to contain the Bucks' ball movement, so you'd expect the Bucks to be favored as long as they take care of the defensive boards and push the tempo offensively.
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