Casspi gets some playing time as Cavs lose again

Omri’s next chance should arrive when the Cavs play the Brooklyn Nets.

Cleveland Cavaliers Omri Casspi 370 (R) (photo credit: Ray Stubblebine / Reuters)
Cleveland Cavaliers Omri Casspi 370 (R)
(photo credit: Ray Stubblebine / Reuters)
After remaining rooted to the bench in four of the season’s first six games, Omri Casspi finally got his chance on Sunday night.
However, the 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 court.
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 C.J.Miles.
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.”
Daniel 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 were resting.
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 recovered.
“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.
Kyrie 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.