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Random pindowns after the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 86-81 loss to the Chicago Bulls in their second game in the Las Vegas Summer League on Saturday night…
1. While rookie point guard Collin Sexton (more on him in a moment) gets most of the attention after being selected with the eighth overall selection in the NBA draft June 21, Ante Zizic has easily been the most impressive Cleveland player.
2. Matched up against highly touted rookie Wendell Carter Jr. (more on him in a moment, too) of the Bulls, the Cavaliers’ young big man again had a big night in the paint, posting 25 points and adding 11 rebounds and two assists. One of two guys on the Cleveland roster acquired in the ill-fated Kyrie Irving trade last Aug. 22 (the other now being Sexton), Zizic made 11 of 14 shots from the field in only 25 minutes.
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) July 8, 2018
3. Late in the final quarter, Zizic took a shot to the nose, resulting in blood pouring onto his white jersey. The 6-foot-11, 251-pounder finished the game with gauze in both of his nostrils.
4. In two games in Las Vegas, the 21-year-old Zizic is averaging 20.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists. Most impressively, Zizic has made good on 19 of the 30 field-goal attempts he’s put up, 63.3 percent. On the downside, he made it back-to-back games with five turnovers.
5. Sexton had another solid game, with 14 points, two rebounds and two assists in 29 minutes, shooting 6-of-15, including 0-3 from deep and 2-6 from the free-throw line. In two games, he’s averaging 14.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.0 assists. He has shot 10-of-27 (37.0 percent) from the field, 1-of-4 (25.0 percent) from beyond the arc and 8-of-14 (57.1 percent) from the free-throw line.
6. Most impressively, the 19-year-old rookie out of Alabama has committed only four turnovers in more than 58 minutes. He banged his right elbow while being fouled on a shot attempt in the first half and after missing the first free throw right-handed he was flexing his right hand. So, as LeBron James did eight years ago in a playoff game, Sexton shot the second left-handed. He missed both attempts, by the way.
7. George Hill, the Cavaliers’ starting point guard, watched Sexton and the rest of the Cleveland youngsters from a courtside seat.
8. Speaking of courtside seats, James’ agent, Rich Paul, took a seat next to Cavaliers coach Tyrone Lue. Paul also represents Cleveland players Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith.
9. The Cavs played without Cedi Osman (rest) and rookie two-way contract guy Billy Preston (right quadriceps contusion).
10. Cleveland was horrific from beyond the 3-point line, hoisting 27 attempts and making only five (18.5 percent). While John Holland made three from deep, it took him 10 heaves to do so. Dakota Mathias went 1-5, while Sexton, Scoochie Smith and Brayon Blake all went 0-3. In two games, the Cavaliers have shot 10-45 (22.2 parent) from long distance.
11. Holland, a two-way player last season who spent much time with the Canton Charge, was more active in this game than he was in the opener against Chicago. He finished with 11 points and three assists.
12. Second-year man Jamel Artis, who played in 15 games for the Orlando Magic last season as a rookie and averaged 5.1 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists while shooting 39 percent from the field, took a nasty-looking fall in the second half.
13. The University of Pittsburgh product lost his balance in midair and as his legs went up, he landed on the back of his neck. Somehow, the wiry 6-foot-7, 215-pound Artis hopped right up. He finished with seven points, making three of five shots, and three rebounds in 29 minutes.
14. Carter Jr. made his professional debut for the Bulls and, folks, the young man is going to be a problem for a very long time. Taken one spot ahead of Sexton in the draft with the seventh overall selection out of Duke, Carter had 16 points, nine rebounds, two steals and blocked five shots, four of which came in the first quarter, including an impressive one on Zizic when he went up and literally took the basketball away from Zizic shot from behind with two hands. Carter shot 8-of-16, showing off deft shooting range for a big guy by making 2-of-3 from beyond the 3-point line. He’s the real deal.
Wendell Carter Jr. did some damage against the Cavs!
16 points / 9 rebounds / 5 blocks pic.twitter.com/Ju29bkRM6a
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) July 8, 2018
15. ‘‘That’s definitely something I add to the Bulls is being a great rim protector,” Carter Jr. said. “And I kind of just let the game come to me.”
16. The Cavaliers will have today off and get back at it Monday against the Indiana Pacers at 5 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.