My favorite tweets over the last few days contain, "it's only been X games". I love when I see one of those tweets in my feed because it generally involves two people at the opposite end of the spectrum. What I mean by that is: one person is a stat-head trying to restore order, the other, a super-fan who simply isn't satisfied with anything. So here is my breakdown of the win against Minnesota, and again, it's only been four games.
Things I liked:
The tweets about C.J. Miles were pretty awesome. They ranged from "CJ "Don't call me Calvin" Miles is having a hell of a game. Cavs up 43-29 halfway thru the 2nd quarter" to simply "CJ killin' it". A lot of people were even able to put some flame icons in their message, which I have no idea how to do. The short and long of it was Miles scored 12 points in 12 minutes in the first half. He was 5-6 in the 2nd quarter, including 2-2 from 3-point distance. Hey, it's only been four games, but CJ has played with supreme confidence on offense, and I love how he has mixed in attempts at the rim with his 3-point attempts. When Minnesota got within striking distance mid-way through the 4th quarter, Miles was able to score on two consecutive possessions to push the lead back to double-digits. He has also been very active defensively, and has anchored the second unit, at least in terms of scoring.
Kyrie Irving being super-aggressive in the early part of the game. Once he realized that Minnesota wasn't doubling him off the pick-and-roll/dribble hand-offs like every other team this season, he went into attack-mode. He and Anderson Varejao even got a nice pick-and-pop flow going early, which was very encouraging. A lot of people on Twitter were excited that he was on-pace for this 1st triple-double of his career; I personally was hoping that he would at least get his 6th double-double of his career.
Things I didn't like:
How lazy the team got (at times) in the 4th quarter. Look, I realize the Timberwolves are a team that is going to push the pace for the entire game. Still, that doesn't mean we should be spoiling 4-on-1 fast breaks and making lazy passes that get stolen and lead to dunks. Minnesota was able to cut the lead down to one with under under a minute left in the game, and they completely lost all focus.
Kyrie Irving turning the ball over nine times in the game, and three times with under four minutes left in the game. He nearly registered a double-double if you include turnovers. Last season, Irving led the league in points per 48-minutes in the "Clutch", but he would also average 10 turnovers per game at that pace. Of all the players who rank in the top-10 of that metric, none of them except Kyrie average more than six turnovers. I appreciate his fearlessness at the end of close games, but I would like to see him take better care of the ball.
A win is a win, and I while I thought we would be 3-1 at this point, 2-2 isn't bad. The offense really had it's moments tonight - Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters both effectively used the pick-and-roll early in the game. Tristan Thompson was very good on the boards, finishing with 11. I really like how Andrew Bynum is being brought along slowly, and his presence alone changed the way the Cavs ran their offense (for the better during that stretch) and how the Timberwolves attacked the Cavs defensively. In the end, there are more things to be excited about than not, and the fact that people are telling others, "it's only been X games", is a sign we are playing for more than ping-pong balls this year.
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