LeBron thrills fans at Ohio State in Cavs’ loss to Memphis
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) LeBron James scored 14 points, thrilling fans with a breakaway dunk, but Cleveland lost to Memphis 91-81 in a preseason game at Ohio State on Monday night.
James, who only played 25 minutes, is a huge fan of the Buckeyes and has a locker in the men’s basketball facility.
”I think we did some good things,” James said. ”It’s really hard to say with us having so many guys out right now.”
The Cavaliers were a shell of what the team figures to be at some point of the season. Guard Kyrie Irving could be out until January with a fractured knee cap and guard Iman Shumpert is out 12 to 14 weeks following wrist surgery.
Forward Kevin Love, out since having his shoulder dislocated by Boston Celtics center Kelly Olynyk in the opening round of the NBA Playoffs and undergoing surgery, practiced for the first time Saturday but did not play.
”He’s very close to playing in games,” Cleveland coach David Blatt said. ”He’s in very good shape.”
Also, guard Mo Williams was rested and forward J.R. Smith, who was pulled from the game Thursday vs. Philadelphia because of hamstring soreness, did not dress.
”We shut him down the last game,” Blatt said of Smith. ”It’s not a serious injury but it’s a tricky thing that you have to be cautious about. If he’s not 100 percent, he’s not going to play.”
Also, forward Tristan Thompson is a holdout.
Blatt is hoping to have some semblance of a healthy team to open the season Oct. 27 at Chicago. The Cavaliers then play at Memphis the next night in the Grizzlies first game.
”They’re going to be a different team when we play them come October 28 so we know we’ve got to be ready,” said former Buckeyes guard Mike Conley, who had four points.
Zach Randolph had 14 points to lead the Grizzlies.
GRIZZLIES: Conley was 0-for-4 from the floor, made all four free throws and had six assists.
CAVALIERS: James’ first basket was a 3-pointer with 10:33 left in the first quarter.
SIDELINED: For the Cavaliers, F Kevin Love (dislocated shoulder), G J.R. Smith (hamstring), G Mo Williams (maintenance), G Kyrie Irving (fractured knee cap) and Iman Shumpert (wrist). For Memphis, F Jarrell Martin (foot fracture).
UP NEXT: The Grizzlies hosts Oklahoma City on Friday. Milwaukee plays Tuesday at Cleveland.