Cavs Report: Time for a board exam
OCT 19, 2012 6:23p ET
It sounds so simple, almost like something you'd read in a basketball encyclopedia. But even the pros need occasional reminders on how to rebound.
The Cavaliers are no exception. At least part of their blowout preseason loss to Philadelphia was caused by a failure to stick their elbows out, turn their eyes to the basket, and stick their buns into somebody.
Instead, the Cavs seemed content to try to out-leap the 76ers and snare missed shots from the sky.
Guess how well it worked?
Well, try a 50-39 rebounding advantage for the Sixers, including 14 that came on the offensive end.
That means the Sixers would miss a shot, go get the ball, then shoot again.
"Terrible," was how Cavs coach Byron Scott described it from practice Friday. "We know in order for us to be successful this season, we have to defend and we have to rebound. The defending part has been pretty good overall."
And the rebounding? Eh, not so much.
What makes this a little puzzling, a little concerning, and Scott a lot unforgiving is the fact the Cavs did a fairly decent job on the defensive boards last season. With centers Anderson Varejao and rookie Tyler Zeller, and forwards Tristan Thompson, Samardo Samuels and Jon Leuer, the Cavs certainly have the size.
Plus, it's not like they were facing five Wilt Chamberlains the other night. Heck, the Sixers didn't even have injured mammoth man Andrew Bynum in the middle.
Yet somehow, someway, the Sixers got themselves multiple second chances. And don't think they just withered them away. Usually, they made the Cavs pay.
"We're forgetting about the fundamentals," Scott said. "When the shot goes up, you've got to find a man and hit him and then go get the ball."
Instead, the Cavs seemed OK to watch the shot take flight … then arc toward the basket. Then they waited for the thrilling outcome.
"We keep watching the birds," Scott said, looking toward the ceiling to demonstrate. "The shot goes up and guys are just running past us or hitting us and pushing us under the basket."
Again, it all it comes down to getting position.
"Obviously, Andy does a pretty good job," Scott said. "Tristan's athleticism sometimes gets him in trouble, because he thinks he's just going to out-jump everybody. That doesn't happen in this league. Same thing with Tyler. Because he's so big, he just thinks my size will enable me to rebound the ball. No, you still have to hit someone and go get it."
Along with the usual everyday instruction, Scott is implementing an old-school method to help players remember this old-school technique.
It's called running sprints at practice for every opposing offensive rebound during a game.
"There has to be a consequence in there for us to really understand how important it is to be a good defensive rebounding team," Scott said.
SLOAN VS. PARGO
Scott said both backup point guards -- Donald Sloan and Jeremy Pargo -- could make the final roster.
However, the Cavs must cut two more players before the regular-season opener Oct. 30. Many observers feel either Sloan or Pargo will be one of them.
Sloan doesn't have a guaranteed contract; Pargo does.
"I wouldn't say it's always a money deal, but sometimes, money comes into play," Sloan said. "I'm just gonna have to focus on what I can control. That's every day in practice and my time in games."
That said, Sloan has been with the team since last March and has in-game experience as Kyrie Irving's backup. Sloan even started a few times last season when Irving was hurt.
Still, Sloan and Pargo encourage each other and even help each other during practice.
"It's not fake," Sloan said. "We both want to see each other succeed. At the end of the day, they'll have to choose which one (to keep)."
Scott indicated that one player has an advantage over the other. Not surprisingly, the coach didn't want to divulge such information.
That's OK with Sloan and Pargo.
"Coach knows better than we do," Pargo said. "He's coached some great guards. Whatever he says, I'm going to try to take the reins, follow his lead and try to get better."
• The Cavs conclude the preseason Tuesday against Indiana at The Q. With Chicago's Derek Rose (knee) expected to miss half (if not all) of the season, a lot of experts predict the Central Division is the Pacers to lose.
• Irving leads the Cavs in preseason scoring at 14.7 ppg. Swingman C.J. Miles is next at 12.3. Miles has also compiled a team-high 12 steals in six games.
• Rookie guard Dion Waiters is averaging 8.0 points and is 9-for-23 on 3-pointers. Zeller is at 7.7 points and 8.7 rebounds. He is shooting 53 percent from the floor.
Follow Sam Amico on Twitter @SamAmicoFSO
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