It is pretty rare for me to get to go to a Cleveland Cavaliers game. I live in Toledo so it is about a two hour drive, and I don't have many friends who care about the NBA, and the ones who do tend to be Pistons fans. I also am a teacher and a law student, so I have both little time and little money. This year, though, I resolved to go to the season opener to see the Cavaliers play the Wizards. I spent way too much money, and got ridiculously good seats. My friend and I got a hotel so we wouldn't have to worry about driving home.
When I got the tickets it was a really appealing matchup. John Wall had reportedly been miffed at all the attention Kyrie Irving was getting over the summer. Dion Waiters and Brad Beal were both shooting guards taken in the top 5 of the draft. The rivalry that developed in Gilbert Arenas and Mo Williams' primes. John Wall was subsequently ruled out, but I didn't really care. It made a Cavs win more likely, and after the money I spent I kind of just wanted to be able to leave Quicken Loans Arena in a good mood.
Well, I left the Q in a good mood. Kyrie Irving had 29 points. Anderson Varejao had a ho-hum 9 points, 23 rebounds, and 9 assists. Tristan Thompson had some awesome passes. Dion Waiters picked Brad Beal's pocket twice for easy dunks, and started talking trash to the Wizards bench, which happened to be about 15 feet away from where my seats were. That was really the best part of the night. After the summer league struggles, and all the people who wanted Brad Beal, and all of the people who thought Dion was a reach, it was downright cathartic to see some of the potential Byron Scott and Chris Grant had spotted. There have been a few hiccups with Waiters since, but on this night there was no question that he was a solid draft choice.
Being that close to the floor, I was amazed at the speed and pace of the game. These players are really amazing. It sounds obvious and simple but what these guys do is just ridiculous. I absolutely understand why Waiters is having trouble finishing at the basket; he is having to accelerate faster than ever before to get by his man, and has never had to adjust as much to keep his shot from getting blocked. It will come in time. I absolutely understand why Zeller is getting bullied a bit, and shoots his shot out of rhythm at times, and doesn't go inside enough. He has never played with guys this ridiculously big, or who close out so fast to challenge his shot, or who bump him every time he is ready to get a rebound. It is going to take time.
"This could be something really special." - Kyrie Irving, before the game. I still believe him.