Great, for starters: Lue sticking with Osman

By now, most expected Cedi Osman to have quietly returned to his role as a seldom-used reserve for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Well, after two starts, this much is certain — nothing about the game of the 22-year-old Osman is quiet and he is not going back to the bench.

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said after practice Monday that Osman will make his third consecutive start tonight, when the Cavaliers (33-22) invade Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder (32-25).

Osman will start at small forward, with LeBron James staying at the four, Lue said. With five-time All-Star Kevin Love out of commission until late-March because of a broken left hand, Lue must make adjustments.

“I mean, I like what he brings,” he said of Osman. “I think having Bron at the four… it’s a big disadvantage [for the opposing team] having him at the four, because now you’ve got four guys that push it out on the break. I think that’s big.”

In his first two starts, Osman has been terrific, playing well in double-digit road victories against Atlanta (on Friday) and Boston (on Sunday), respectively.

The 6-foot-8, 215-pound Osman is averaging 14.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists in his two starts, posting 12 points and five rebounds in the 121-99 whipping of Boston on Sunday.

Lue had originally intended to insert newcomer Rodney Hood into the starting line. However, Osman’s play as a starter, combined with Hood scoring 15 points in 19 minutes off the bench at Boston, altered Lue’s plans.

“I think having Hood come off the bench and being a scoring power, a scoring threat, being able to to run things through him I think is big, also,” Lue said. “I like where we’re at right now, and we’ll just kind of go from there and see how it plays out.”

Tonight’s task — attempting to check Russell Westbrook or Paul George — is the next challenge facing Osman.

“Russ is just very good, a lot of energy,” Osman said. “So it’s going to be another big challenge for me.”

Another “big challenge” for Osman, apparently, is converting on a breakaway dunk, which he was unable to do Sunday at Boston.

With 2:04 to play in the second quarter, the rookie jumped a passing lane, picked off a pass by the Celtics’ Kyrie Irving and sped down the floor for a breakaway. However, his dunk attempt careened off the back rim and out of bounds, drawing laughter from everyone, including his teammates and coaches.

Not surprisingly, the play earned Osman a Twitter mention from @Shaqtin, the official account of Shaquille O’Neal’s wildly popular weekly lowlight collection on TNT’s Inside the NBA.

“That was the only one that I cared about and I was laughing a lot,” Osman said. “But, it’s all good. I made it. So, it’s all good.”

Osman said he “probably getting too excited” on the steal and subsequent breakaway.

“I saw everybody stand up and when I missed the dunk, I saw like, Jeff (Green) was so happy and then he was like, ‘ohhhhh,'” Osman said through a huge smile. “But, it’s all good. When I missed that dunk, I keep playing and coaches and my teammates keep supporting me and I keep playing.

“For me, it was really important to keep playing and that’s what I did, and the mental preparation was really good for me.”

4 Comments on "Great, for starters: Lue sticking with Osman"

  1. From interviews and tweets it seems that Jeff Green and Cedi Osman have made a good connection. Sort of a Frye, RJ and Love connection. It’s good to see camaraderie developing with this team and I do hope it’s sustainable.

    Love to see the energy of Cedi and I think it’s contagious to the players, the fans.

    And for now, I do think Lue is correct in his thinking of Hood. I personally love that he’s on this team. I mean a 6’8″ guard is nothing to sniff at. The Cavs suddenly have some height and athleticism to go with Batman!

    • Hey, pihc.. Great to see someone else burning the late-night oil! I couldn’t agree more with your assessment of what Cedi is bringing to the Cavaliers. Remember his one-armed, fullcourt heave of a pass to Kevin Love earlier this season at Charlotte? Seems whenever the young man gets a chance to play, good things tend to happen for the team. Good to see T-Lue coming around to that way of thinking, huh? Thanks for the night-owl “company” and, of course, thanks very much for reading us!

      • I remember that too !! And Love’s Bright Smile !! Cedi gives us a lot.

        And Cedi seems to have a good relationship with Korver, too. I think it would be great if Cedi could learn free throw and 3 from Korver!

  2. When I first saw Cedi play he immediately reminded me of John Havlicek, and NO not Sasha Pavlovic. Havlicek played close to the ground in control and could pass, play defense and shoot the mid range jumper. And was a great teammate. Cedi could have the same. And for those of you young guns out there, John Havlicek is in the hall of fame and was an incredible team player for the Celtics.

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