No Lebron, no prob­lem for Cavs

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Prime Sports -

There is no shame in sign­ing for the vet­eran’s min­i­mum, es­pe­cially if the con­tract in ques­tion is of­fered by a cham­pi­onship con­tender.

Still, the lack of dig­its in front of the dol­lar sign marks just how far Der­rick Rose and Dwyane Wade have fallen from their re­spec­tive glory days. The for­mer be­came the youngest NBA Kia Most Valu­able Player in 2011 at age 22 while in Chicago. The lat­ter was Fi­nals MVP in 2006 and named an East­ern Con­fer­ence All-Star 12 sea­sons in a row, all with the Mi­ami Heat.

In­juries and age have sapped much of their prime, but per­haps not as much as some might have thought. On Fri­day night, with LeBron James out nurs­ing a sore an­kle, Wade and Rose put on a pre­sea­son show that might be enough to hold the cur­tain un­til All-Star point guard Isa­iah Thomas re­turns from a hip in­jury. The vet­eran duo com­bined for 35 points on 15-of-22 shoot­ing in just 36 min­utes. Cleve­land fell to In­di­ana, 106-102.

With Rose on the floor, the Cava­liers outscored In­di­ana by 17 points. The vet­eran point guard hit both of his three-point at­tempts while mix­ing in his usual for­ays to the rim, a bal­ance which will be key when James re­turns for reg­u­lar sea­son ac­tion.

Rose could as­sume a sig­nif­i­cant role in the back­court while Thomas is out. The nine-year guard is com­ing off his lone sea­son in New York where he av­er­aged 18.0 points per game. He signed with Cleve­land as a free agent dur­ing the off­sea­son.

Mean­while, Wade did his dam­age in typ­i­cal fash­ion, us­ing post-ups, drives and cuts to cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties well in­side the three-point arc. Half­way through the sec­ond quar­ter, Wade turned back the clock with a vi­cious base­line drive and re­verse jam.

Like Rose, Wade is just one year re­moved from his orig­i­nal team af­ter spend­ing a sin­gle sea­son in Chicago. His of­fen­sive out­put in the Windy City — 18.3 points per game on 43.4 per­cent shoot­ing — was his low­est since his rookie sea­son of 2003-04. He ex­ceeded those num­bers with 20 points in just 22 min­utes on Fri­day night.

It’s only pre­sea­son, but Cleve­land’s depth might have as much tal­ent as it does cre­den­tials.

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