Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Cavs 94 Washington 84: Quick Thoughts

  • Holy mother, Anderson Varerjao.  For proof of how scoring is an overrated component of winning basketball, Varejao dominated this game despite only 9 points.  Two blocks is good, 22 rebounds is amazing, but not surprising (although it is a new career-high for Andy), but 9 assists is unreal.  I don't know if running the offense through Andy in the high post is a new, permanent wrinkle of Byron Scott's offense or if Andy was just taking advantage of poor weakside help by the Wizards, but it was a joy to watch.
  • Kyrie Irving had the kind of quietly dominant games superstars tend to have throughout a season.  I felt like Irving was saving himself for the 4th quarter a little until Fox Sports Ohio flashed the 24 points he had near the end of the 3rd quarter.  A final line of 29 points and 6 rebounds on 55 percent shooting would be welcome nightly, although you'd have to hope he finishes with more assists than turnovers from here on out (3 assist to 4 turnovers tonight).  Another sign Irving is quickly ascending to Superstar status is the call he got in the 4th when he obviously tripped over himself.  The Cavs were trailing at that point, and a turnover there may have swung the game.
  • In the battle of #3 pick against #4 pick, Dion Waiters came out well-ahead, putting up a solid 17 points and 3 steals versus Bradley Beal's 8 points on 2-8 shooting.  Waiters was active, and attacked the hole throughout the evening.  He hit the three of the game in the 4th, and was much better than I gave him credit for in my Cavs preview, as well as exponentially more impressive than he his performances in Summer League and preseason suggested he could be.  Hopefully, he keeps it up.
  • Alonzo Gee had a rough game.  Four points on 2-9 shooting, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, and three turnovers aren't good numbers, and it felt like he fouled out of this game 3 times (even though he finished with only 5 fouls).  Fortunately for Gee (but unfortunately for the Cavs), C.J. Miles was even worse, shooting 1-5 with 3 turnovers and a bad decision nearly every time he touched the ball.  Omri Casspi must be horrible to not see a second of action behind these two.
  • The bench bunch as a whole is a reason for real concern, as the combination of Miles, Donald Sloan, Boobie Gibson, Tyler Zeller, and Luke Walton surrendered most of a 12-point Cleveland lead entering the 4th in seemingly 2 minutes.  If Gibson's shot isn't falling like it was in the 1st half (10 points, 7 in the 2nd quarter), this unit simply cannot score (Cleveland didn't score until there were 7 minutes left in the game).  Zeller looked like a rookie big man, Sloan had one nice move negated by one of the worst calls I've ever seen (have you ever heard of a player pushing off with his knee?) but not much else to contribute, and when Walton checked in I seriously thought an assistant coach had suited up as a goof.  I find it hard to believe Samardo Samuels or Jon Leuer couldn't provide more than Walton's bloated corpse did (2 points, 1 rebound, 2 turnovers), and I hope we see 100% more of the two young bigs in the (very) near future.
  • A win is nice, but it comes with a grain of salt.  The Wizards are missing John Wall and Nene, and they were leaning heavily on Jordan Crawford and Earl Barron to carry them down the stretch.  You can justifiably wonder why Crawford and Barron were in the game over A.J. Price and Emeka Okafor to begin with (if Okafor were in, for instance, i find it hard to believe Tristan Thompson would  have gotten three straight wide open dunks from the exact same spot on the right block), but it also shows how thin the Wizards are. \The Cavs will have a better gauge of where the stand early on after Friday's game vs. Chicago.
  • Here's hoping Wizards' assistant coach Sam Cassell takes over for Randy Wittman before the end of the season, if for no other reason than to see him do his Big Balls dance as Washington jogs towards the huddle after a timeout.  Of course,  I suppose he could do that as an assistant, too.      

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