Luke Walton, cold-blooded killer.
The Cavs were certainly feeling the heat (the Suns, get it?) in this one. From beginning to end, the Cavs were dominated, and basically no one was good. But hey, ping-pong balls! Whoo!
Cavs Leaders: Points: Irving, 16; Rebounds: Harris, 9: Assists: Irving, 4 (plus at least a billion blown passes)
The Cavs got off to a terrible start, falling behind 12-0 in the first 3 1/2 minutes. Marcin Gortat got off to a really good start, just getting easy open looks in the paint due to defensive miss-communication. Tristan did not have a great game against Gortat, but Jamison was just blowing rotations left and right, and against Nash and Gortat those types of things really show. Kyrie was really the only Cav that was in the game, and his numbers don't do him justice, as he had many passes dropped and only played 28 minutes. The Cavs were just out of it this game, blowing defensive rotations, not running the offense, just a lackadaisical effort overall.
Omri was surprisingly not terrible this game. 5-10 from the floor, 14 points, 5 rebounds, and there's also the fact that he was the only other Cav besides Kyrie to score in double figures. Even though some of this production was in garbage time... well, really it was all in garbage time seeing as how the Cavs went down by 20 in the second quarter. But still, it's a positive sign that Omri might be able to figure things out a bit more down the stretch. Not that I'm particularly holding out hope for it. Omri still isn't great on defense, but he's not a total black hole, so there's that. We'll see if he can continue to improve when he gets minutes in closer games.
Luke Walton came out and immediately entered the discussion for league MVP. He was 3-4 from the field for 7 points, and actually had a couple of impressive passes for assists. In all seriousness, he was decent compared to the rest of the team, but I have serious doubts about him maintaining this decency. But it should be said that, for how terrible this game is, Luke Walton playing way above my expectations for him made me feel pretty good. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I honestly thought for a second, "What if Luke turns out to be really good and we totally robbed the Lakers?" After I finished dunking my head in the sink I was better, so don't worry, I don't think my stupidity is permanent.
Antawn was just awful. I mean, really, really awful. It's hard to describe just how little he contributes to this team outside of volume scoring, and when his shot isn't falling it's as if we're playing 4 on 5 out there. His defensive rotations are abysmal, as is the rest of his defense. I don't even want to talk about it anymore. Suffice it to say I won't be displeased if we don't resign him for next season.
Aside from Tristan's defensive lapses, he honestly didn't play too poorly, as he got 8 points and 7 boards in only 26 minutes. Not great, but he was on pace for another double-double should he have gotten his full 35 or so minutes. It seems like he's starting to get more acclimated to the pace of the game and he's really been going after the offensive boards as usual. I think we'll see a lot of improvement from him next year if he adds 10-15 lbs. of muscle. The effort's there, but he's still working on his feel and he just doesn't have the strength to bang for defensive boards yet. I'm not too concerned however, as from all accounts Tristan is a hard-working guy.
Should I really say anything more about the game? It was just bad, through and through. Manny had 9 rebounds, so I guess that's cool. He shot poorly though, so that kind of offsets it. Donald Sloan was okay, and I still think he can be an acceptable backup to Kyrie for the foreseeable future. Everyone else had nothing at all going for them. Not even worth mentioning.
Fear The Sword's Player Of The Game:
Kyrie, of course. Not that he had any competition for it, whatsoever. But hey, them ping-pong balls don't get themselves. Tank on, my Cavaliers, tank on!