Cavaliers have successful scrimmage … they avoid injury

With the Browns in the midst of another losing season and the Indians spinning an 81-80 record for all it’s worth, the only currently successful major pro sports franchise in Cleveland took the floor Monday at Quicken Loans Arena.

That the Cavaliers were guaranteed winners in their annual Wine & Gold scrimmage hardly mattered to the 14,480 title-starved fans in attendance.

For the record, the Gold beat the Wine 55-49 in the 2½-quarter game, which featured interchangeable teams and didn’t include Kyrie Irving(knee), Kevin Love (shoulder), Iman Shumpert (wrist) or Tristan Thompson (holdout).

“No one got hurt,” four-time league MVP LeBron James said after scoring six points on 2-for-7 shooting while playing only the 10-minute first period. “It was a great turnout. Our fans are unbelievable.”

Cleveland plays its first exhibition game Wednesday at Cincinnati’s Xavier University against the Atlanta Hawks. Six more preseason games will follow, including one in Philadelphia on Thursday, with the season opener in Chicago on Oct. 27.

James will sit out one of the first two exhibition games, probably in Philadelphia because fans there get to see him in the regular season.

After making a 33-foot 3-pointer and throwing down a dunk in his 10 minutes Monday, the 30-year-old was all smiles following a scrimmage in front of a lot of fans who don’t get to attend regular-season games. Tickets for the scrimmage were free.

“It’s just fun to get on the court,” James said. “These are the best fans in the world.”

The most notable aspect of the scrimmage was that Anderson Varejao was back on the floor after missing most of last season with a torn Achilles. He missed his only two shots and wasn’t his usual frenetic self, but felt fine.

“Since December, I don’t play any sports. I don’t play any basketball,” the Brazilian said. “It was great. I have to take baby steps.

“I’m not thinking about my injury when I’m out there, which is good,” he added. “I’m just trying to get my wind back.”

The Wine started Mo Williams, J.R. Smith, James Jones, Timofey Mozgov and James, with Richard Jefferson and Matthew Dellavedova coming off the bench.

The Gold started Varejao, Joe Harris, Sasha Kaun, Austin Daye and Jared Cunningham, who had 11 points and has about $200,000 of his contract guaranteed.

“It feels good to get the guys back out on the floor in the atmosphere they’re going to play in (during the regular season),” said Cavs coach David Blatt, whose team practiced earlier in the day.

Some observations from the scrimmage:

“He is fun to watch,” Blatt said. “He’s an exceptional, exceptional athlete. He can play basketball, too.”

Cook also had three points, four assists and two turnovers.The Duke product has two hopes of sneaking onto the roster: If the Cavs elect to eat Cunningham’s guaranteed money, or if Thompson’s holdout extends into the regular season.

That means Cunningham, Daye and Cook are battling for, at the most, two spots, which will be reduced to one when Thompson signs.