CLEVELAND, Ohio – In a grim Cavaliers season clouded by injuries, inconsistencies, streaks, and one-sided losses, Cedi Osman begins to shimmer into hope.
The Cavs lost their sixth game in a row, 100-94, to Miami Heat on Friday. It's the third time Cleveland lost to Miami this season.
But before the game head coach Larry Drew said he was not involved in the profit-loss balance sheet. If you do, this season will only be more mentally demanding than it already is for your players.
In this kind of year, Drew's biggest reward – and maybe only – is positive advances in adolescents. After all, it is these players who are laying the foundation and guiding the Cavs into a better future.
Osman begins to see the part. One night, after reaching a career high with 25 points against the Eastern Conference elite Boston Celtics, Osman outperformed Miami.
He scored 29 of 1
"I think it's just experience," Osman said after the game. "There's been a lot of ups and downs all season, and I've been able to see what's and is not the strongest, I think I just started to understand what's going on, I think it's easier, I'm more Confident and confident in my strikes and everything, I've changed my style of play over the past two months and I started feeling more attacked. "
His breakout game included the entire arsenal.
By helping the Cavs dismantle the suffocating Heat Zone, causing Cleveland many problems during the first two matchups, Osman often flipped to the bad line – the zone vulnerability – for flying floaters. Osman also sprinted in the crossover, with swirling sections in traffic before the defense of Miami could be discontinued. When he got chances, he even struck the outside shots constantly and hit it 3: 8 from outside the arc.
Earlier this season, Osman seemed to have little confidence in his jumper. Often the player expires in the second year from the 3-point line. On Friday, he appeared without hesitation in these looks.
"I think he's starting to figure it out," Drew said. "I think the way the teams play him, he really only takes what they give him, and he's not really looking for something to force things on, when I think he's having trouble trying Well, it seems he just lets the game come to him. "
Osman's last two shells were an offensive rebound setback and a nice setback for a reverse layup,
His defense has been difficult this season, and he is usually one of the enemy's main targets outside of play, and he – and the Cavs – were once again overwhelmed by the dirty heat, leaving the heat behind However, these individual defensive metrics, which indicate that Osman is one of the NBA's worst defenders, should be the development he made at the other end of the stoc ks did not overshadow.
"You see the talent he has, you see the ability he has, but the biggest thing is that he influences the game." Guard Dwyane Wade told Cleveland.com about his old teammate. "Even when he did not have the ball last year when I was here, every time he came in, he was positive, whether he rebuffed offensively, if it was his defense, he stole, he is a basketball player, it was good too See how he gets the opportunity to make mistakes and learn the game even more. "
For once, it will not be difficult for Drew and the Cavs to find a ray of hope.
After missing the last eight games for a sprained MCL, Larry Nance Jr. returned to the lineup on Friday night.
The coaching staff wanted to lure Nance back into the team's rotation, opting to get him off the bench. Nance helped with a unit that had problems in Boston on Wednesday. His energy, leadership and playmaking skills were all missed when the Cavs went from 1 to 7 without him, losing an average of 16.9 points.
On Friday, Nance made a quick impact and hit first with a catch that shot over Hassan Whiteside, one of the league's leading blockers. Later, Nance followed a Rodney Hood miss with a thundering putback slam.
Nance finished with six points and six rebounds in 21 minutes.
Wade's final dance in Cleveland ended by trading jerseys with Cavaliers freshman Collin Sexton. Wade, who should retire at the end of this season, received a tribute video at the first timeout.
In his last game at The Q, Wade scored 13 points with six rebounds and three assists in 28 minutes.
The Cavs will travel to Chicago for the fourth and final game of the season against the Bulls on Sunday afternoon.