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Playing a bit shorthanded, the Cleveland Cavaliers fell behind big, then rallied to take a fourth-quarter lead, but eventually came up short against the Chicago Bulls, 86-81, in their second Las Vegas Summer League game Saturday night at Thomas & Mack Center.
The game featured a matchup of the players selected with the seventh and eighth overall selections in the NBA draft June 21 — Wendell Carter Jr. of the Bulls and Collin Sexton of the Cavaliers.
Ante Zizic had another impressive night for Cleveland, posting 25 points, on an 11-of-14 shooting performance, and added 11 boards and two assists, Sexton had 14 points, on 6-of-15 shooting, two rebounds and two assists and John Holland had 11 points and three assists.
“One of my goals to improve was to be patient in the post because the whole time I was in a rush,” the 21-year-old Zizic said. “Now, when I pick up my pace, it seems good.”
Cavaliers summer coach James Posey was impressed with the play of his young big man.
“When he had opportunities for us, he played well,” Posey said. “He’s been waiting for this opportunity. He put in the work all season long for this moment right here and he’s been taking advantage of it.”
Cleveland played without starter Cedi Osman (rest) and rookie Billy Preston (right quadriceps contusion).
Antonio Blakeney, the G League Rookie of the Year last season, matched Zizic for game-high scoring honors with 25 points and added four rebounds and four assists for Chicago (1-0), while Carter Jr. had 16 points, nine boards and an impressive five blocked shots in his debut as a professional. Fellow rookies Chandler Hutchison had 13 points and five rebounds and Ryan Arcidiacono had 10 points, respectively.
While Cleveland shot better from the field overall (43.4 percent) than it did in its Game 1 win against the Washington Wizards on Friday night, it continued to scattergun its way from beyond the 3-point line.
The Cavaliers shot an abysmal 5-of-27 (18.5 percent) from long distance, Holland going 3-for-10. His teammates went a collective 2-of-17 (11.8 percent), Sexton, Scoochie Smith and Brayon Blake all going 0-for-3 and Dakota Mathias shooting 1-of-5.
Cleveland outrebounded Chicago, 51-45, but committed 15 turnovers, including five by Zizic, who has 10 in his two games in Vegas. Conversely, Sexton, the 19-year-old rookie point guard, had only two turnovers and has four in 58 minutes in two games.
The Cavaliers will get back in action Monday against the Indiana Pacers in a game that will tip off at 5 p.m. and be broadcast on ESPN2.