Walking into Quicken Loans Arena for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ home opener was an odd
experience. Odd in how the energy in the building, if there was any at all, matched that of a lowly preseason game. A team’s fan base is essential to how it performs and how it gets through the rough patches of the season. The majority of the fans for the past four years are long gone. However, the die-hard Cavs fans have not left, but without their king, they are without real purpose to cheer their hearts out. It is because of the organization or all the happy memories that they share with the Cavs that they continue to fight a losing battle so to speak. Right from the getgo, I knew that the Cavs were to be bested by Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks. What surprised me was by how much they lost by. The game was played earlier than usual with game time set at 6pm and the game started out an average pace. Both teams were hitting shots, getting into their strides. The team seems to play off of Kevin Love’s game, setting him up with many opportunities to score in the low post. Though the defense was lackluster, from the first quarter to the fourth quarter the rebounding was the strongest part of the game. However, offensive rebounding, specifically, was the only statistical category in which the Cavs beat the Hawks. Though the Cavs won the first quarter 34-24, they declined greatly in the second, losing 40-26. After two quarters of play, rookie guard Trae Young and veteran guard Kent Bazemore caught fire. Both chipped in a fantastic 35 and 23 points respectively. It seemed that after the third quarter the Hawks were just playing at another level. Not only was Trae Young scoring at will but he was lighting up the passing lanes for big men Alex Len and Omari Spellman who both reached double figures. On the defensive end, the Hawks were ripping them apart limiting them to only 10 made threes out of 27 attempted.
The battle between Colin Sexton and Trae Young resulted in one clear winner, Trae Young. Sexton tried very hard to prove his defensive prowess and he only did so on every few plays. Sexton’s game created an even more stagnant team defense. On offense, he did not apply himself as a scorer and as a result, finished with a mere four points. Sexton finished with a +/- score of -27 in a disappointing individual performance. Though he has great potential it was simply not his night. Overall, the same problems from last year trouble the Cavs with weak defense, rebounding, and a stagnant offense. Whether its improper utilization of resources by the coaching staff or that the Cavs just don’t have the players to win consistently, they are most definetly in trouble. With a final score of 133-111, the Cavaliers fall to 0-3 and the Hawks move up to 1-2.