Dribbles: Cavs Show They Have Plenty in Reserve in Win Over Israeli Club

CLEVELAND — Random dribbles from the Cavaliers’ 120-89 preseason home win over Israeli guest Macabbi Ra’Anana on Monday.Emoni Bates drives as Craig Porter Jr looks on

1. It’s not often I go to a Cavs game and start writing during the middle of the third quarter. But that’s about when I stopped watching … so why not?

2. A few of my Dribbles were already posted on Twitter/X at halftime, and I apologize for repeating them here. But frankly, there isn’t a whole lot to say about a scrimmage against a team of guys who couldn’t stick in the NBA.

3. That’s not intended to trash Maccabi. Just the opposite. The likes of Dwayne Bacon, Ashton Hagans, Quinndary Weatherspoon, Bruno Caboclo and former Cavs big man Mamadi Diakite are still getting paid to play. And play hard they did. So kudos to them.

4. There’s a reason I mentioned all those guys before Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, Evan Mobley and Max Strus. It’s because they didn’t play. Throw in the injured Jarrett Allen, and that’s the Cavs’ starting five. All out.

5. Instead, the Cavs ran out the likes of Dean Wade, Isaac Okoro, Caris LeVert, Ty Jerome and Damian Jones. All looked great. In fact, you could say that about everyone wearing “Cavs” on the front of their jersey — from Georges Niang to Craig Porter Jr. and again, Emoni Bates.

6. So the game did allow an opportunity to those who won’t play a ton (or at all) when it starts to count. And guess what? We’re only about a week away from that.

7. It was also good in the sense that the Cavs got to play a team from Israel, which was celebrated by fans at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in light of the recent terrorist attacks. The Cavs held a moment of silence before tipoff.

8. If you’ve read my stuff at all this preseason, you already know I’m big on Bates. The rookie second-round pick again looked like a bona fide NBA player who may be able to help right now.

9. Bates finished with a team-high 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting, including 4-of-9 on 3-pointers. Jerome added 15 points and six assists, and LeVert and Wade each scored 13, with Wade grabbing eight rebounds.

10. By the way, coach J.B. Bickerstaff said he believes if Bates had been drafted in the lottery (as opposed to No. 49 overall), “he’d be in the Rookie of the Year conversation.”

11. Porter also had a nice night and should be a fun player to watch with the Charge. And who knows, perhaps the Cavs down the road. “Just really contribute any way I can,” Porter said of his rookie expectations. “Whatever it takes.”

12. So what did Bickerstaff take from a game like this, where the opponent was clearly overmatched?

13. Here’s what he said: “We got out of it exactly what we wanted. It was an opportunity to go out and compete, for one. And then we wanted to play Cavalier basketball, which I think we did. We got after it on the defensive end. We shared the ball offensively and that’s what we were looking for. You need the reps, and I think guys who may not have gotten a ton of reps got their opportunities tonight.”

14. That’s it for now. The preseason wraps up Friday at Indiana. The real thing tips off next week. Talk to you soon and as always, thanks a ton for following along.

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