After remaining rooted to the bench in four of the season’s first six games,
Omri Casspi finally got his chance on Sunday night.
24-year-old Israeli was far from impressive in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 106-91
defeat to the Oklahoma City Thunder, hitting just 1-of-7 field goals and ending
the game with seven points and four rebounds in 14 minutes on the
Casspi had played less than 17 total minutes in Cleveland’s first
six games, beginning the season as coach Byron Scott’s third option at his
preferred small forward position, behind both Alonzo Gee and new recruit
But following Miles’s poor start to the campaign,
Scott decided to give Casspi a bigger role on Sunday, a chance the Israeli
failed to grasp.
“1-for-7. That’s almost the same as what C.J. was
doing,” said Scott when asked about Casspi’s performance.
“But it’s the
first game he’s played so you’ve got to give him the benefit of the doubt and
give him a chance and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Omri’s next chance
should arrive when the Cavs play the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night to conclude
a six-game road trip.
“I wasn’t comfortable and I was a bit nervous to
finally be playing,” admitted Casspi, who had scored just four points in the
previous six games.
“It’s just the first game. I know I didn’t shoot it
well, but it’s just getting into a rhythm and getting time.”
Gibson had 16 points off the bench on Sunday, but the rest of the Cavs’ reserves
totaled 13 points on 4-of-18 shooting.
As has been the case on this trip,
the bulk of the damage came early in the fourth quarter while the Cavs’ starters
Russell Westbrook’s 3-point heave from just inside the
half-court stripe gave the Thunder an enormous emotional boost and changed the
complexion of what was a three-point game.
Westbrook’s 31-foot missile
gave the Thunder a 79-73 lead entering the fourth, then he sunk two more within
the first two minutes to stretch the lead to 12. The Cavs never really
“I’m just looking for somebody besides Boobie Gibson to step
up off the bench,” Scott said. “I know we’re missing Tyler [Zeller], but we
really need someone to step up.”
Scott will stick with Casspi and
apparently Jon Leuer in his rotation for a few more games to see if the results
improve. If not, he’ll spin the bench again and see what turns up.
Irving had 20 points, including 10 in the third quarter when the Cavs pulled
within three late, while Gee scored 18.Akron Beacon Journal/MCT
contributed to this report.