Reporting Matt Loede
INDEPENDENCE, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Tuesday night in the Cavaliers opener vs the Wizards, all seemed to be going the teams way entering the fourth quarter.
Then the bottom fell out.
The teams second unit blew a double-digit lead in the final quarter, and could only sit and watch as they were pulled with the team trailing by two with just over eight minutes to go.
The first team came back and got things under control to pull out the win, but the talk of Wednesday was how the second unit failed to hold the lead and nearly lost the game.
“I think we played fairly well, I think overall we did well in the first half we stretched it out a little bit,” Cavs guard Daniel Gibson, part of that second unit said.
“In the second half we have to continue to play defense like we did in the first half and get shots, I think we stopped getting shots and we had a few turnovers.”
The Cavs bench was outscored by the Wizards 47-23, with Gibson being the only one out of that bunch of Cavs bench players to score in double digits with 10 points.
Coach Byron Scott said Wednesday that he will stick with the second unit as it stands right now, not making many changes as the team gets ready for Friday night’s game vs the Chicago Bulls.
“I think in the first half our second unit played pretty well,” Scott said. “Second half they didn’t play very well, but it wasn’t because of a lack of effort.”
The second unit that failed to hold the lead included C.J. Miles, Gibson, Tyler Zeller, Donald Sloan and Luke Walton, who was a surprise player off the bench since he didn’t play all that much in the preseason.
So what happened with that second unit?
“It was the fact they missed shots and Washington’s second unit got pretty hot,” Scott said. “Overall I think our second unit played pretty well and held their own, then our first unit came back in and did what they were supposed to do.”
That was the key for the team, as they pulled away in the final minutes for the 94-84 win to start the season.
It was a rough night for that second unit in the second half, but there’s plenty of time to get better, and the players on the floor think they will be just fine.
“I think as long as we take care of the ball and be consistent and get shots up and play defense, we’ll be just fine,” Gibson said.