Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Top Pick Missing Shot after Shot for Cavaliers ; Cleveland Forward Starts 1-for-20 and Averages Just a Point a Game

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Top Pick Missing Shot after Shot for Cavaliers ; Cleveland Forward Starts 1-for-20 and Averages Just a Point a Game

Article excerpt

Anthony Bennett hit a 3-pointer against Milwaukee, but he is only 1 for 20 from the field so far this season.

Anthony Bennett, the No. 1 pick this year in the National Basketball Association draft, has already had many firsts in these early weeks of the season: his first home game with the Cleveland Cavaliers, his first blocked shot, his first victory.

But there was one first that he needed five games to obtain: his first basket. Entering Wednesday's game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Bennett was shooting 0 for 15 from the field. But he snapped his ignominious slump midway through the second quarter by swishing a 3- pointer -- it was his only field goal in five attempts -- in a 109- 104 loss to the Bucks.

Bennett's struggles had placed him in a category few had entered. He was just the fifth rookie in league history since 1985 to begin a career by not scoring a basket through four games. The 2 points he previously scored, on free throws, were the fewest from a top overall pick in his first four games since 1966, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

"I just feel like there's a lid on the basket," Bennett told reporters last Saturday after the Cavaliers lost to the Indiana Pacers.

Only one other top pick in the last eight seasons has missed 15 consecutive shots at any point, in any season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. That player is Bennett's teammate Kyrie Irving, whose drought spanned two games in February last season.

Allen Iverson, who missed 18 straight shots in a game in March 2004, is the last No. 1 pick to miss more than 15 consecutively at one time, according to the N.B.A.

Coach Mike Brown has not given Bennett, a 6-foot-8, or 2.03- meter, forward, much playing time this season: He was averaging 12 minutes a game before Wednesday. But the 55 minutes he went without a basket is a troubling sign for a team with playoff hopes. …

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