Coach Lue looks for better transition defense as Cavs prepare to defend home court

Wine and Gold ready to ground Hawks at the Q

Jake Kauffman
October 20, 2018 - 4:21 pm
oronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) drives to the net against Cleveland Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman (16) at Scotiabank Arena. Toronto defeated Cleveland.

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

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You knew there would be struggles for the Cavaliers as they began the second post-LeBron era in Cleveland. Although the Wine and Gold sit at 0-2 heading into their home opener against the Hawks on Sunday, there has been plenty to be excited about with the Cavs.

Last year's midseason additions have settled in as has Cedi Osman in his 2nd NBA season along with first round pick, Colin Sexton.

Coach Ty Lue will live with the growing pains as long as the high effort is sustained by the team on defense.

“As far as scoring more points, teams are going to score more point cause we’re playing faster as well so we’re scoring quick. When you’re playing at the pace we’re trying to play at, you’re going to give up more points but overall our half-court defense has been good. We just have to continue to get better at our transition balance.”

Osman, the 2nd year pro from Turkey,wants to see the team step up on D as they defend their home court for the first time this season.

“Transition defense and communication are our biggest problems right now but those are things that we can fix. We’re a young team and we have room to improve.”

The Wine and Gold offense has gotten on track at points this season and something clicked during Friday night’s loss to the Timberwolves with Jordan Clarkson and the rookie Sexton playing together in the backcourt.

“Their ability to score the basketball, I think Colin getting up the floor, pressuring the ball for 94 feet and making plays. JC is a professional scorer and Colin was scoring the basketball, getting into the paint, causing havoc so they did a good job of closing the game out.”

Osman felt the same energy with Clarkson and Sexton on the floor to really kick start the Cavaliers’ attempted comeback Friday in Minnesota.

“With Colin and JC, we’re pushing the ball every time trying to find some easy baskets. JC is a pure scorer so he’s doing his best job.”

And although Clarkson and Sexton have been creating plays, it’s Osman’s whose playmaking abilities have caught Coach Lue’s attention this season.

“It’s definitely what I envisioned, he’s a good passer, he plays with a lot of pace, pushing the ball in transition, attacking and then he’s been doing a good job of playing from the elbows. He’s been making the passes that ‘Bron made for us last year.”

Cedi though spent plenty of time last season learning from the Master when it comes to making plays for his Cavalier teammates

“I had a lot of time to learn, when I was not playing I had a lot of time to see what he was doing, how he’s controlling the team and how he’s looking for open passes, open men so now it’s time to show what I learned from him.”

JR Smith returned to the Wine and Gold Friday night but only played a few minutes after missing time with a sore elbow. Ty Lue says he’ll wait and see till Sunday to determine whether or not Sam Dekker, who left Friday’s game with a head injury, and Larry Nance Jr, who hasn’t played yet this season with a sprained ankle, will play against the Hawks. Tipoff Sunday is set for 6 PM from Quicken Loans Arena.