The Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Los Angeles Clippers by a final score of 88-82 on Saturday night. This fact leads me to ask: what the hell is this team? Just one night after being destroyed by the Atlanta Hawks, the Cavs play stifling defense and beat one of the best teams in the Western Conference. What's the deal? The easy answer is that the Cavs are competent at home and truly horrendous on the road. But can that really be the explanation for all of it? It seems too simple, but look at the records. Cleveland is 6-3 at home but just 1-10 on the road. That's a huge difference.
Kyrie Irving played the worst game of his NBA career on Friday night and played a little bit better on Saturday. He still shot just 6 of 15 from the field and committed 7 turnovers. But he scored 20 more points than he did on Friday and that was big. But as nice as it was to see Kyrie actually score the basketball, it was the Cleveland big men that brought home a victory. Tristan Thompson had himself a very nice game. He scored 20 points on 7 of 15 shooting and grabbed 13 rebounds. TT also contributed 4 assists, 2 steals and a block. Pretty solid night.
Andrew Bynum had a productive game as well. He played just 24 minutes, but made the most of his limited time on the court by scoring 18 points on 8 of 13 shooting. He's starting to look better and better every game. And we can't forget about Anderson Varejao -- he scored just 6 points, but gobbled up 17 rebounds. As a team, the Cavs out-rebounded the Clippers 60-45.
When the Cavs play defense like they did against Los Angeles, they can win games. The offense is still a problem and likely won't get much better until Kyrie Irving starts playing like Kyrie Irving. A healthy and productive Bynum helps, but Irving is going to be the guy that powers this offense. When he pushes the pace, feeds his bigs, and trusts his teammates, Kyrie is capable of running a decent offense even if he can't find his shot right now.
Some weird fan just walked onto the court during the game. It was bizarre.
The Cavs are going to look to continue their winning ways at home when they host the New York Knicks on Tuesday. The Knicks have been pretty brutal to start this season so this is a very winnable game. The Cavs currently sit at 7-13 and are just two games out of the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Odd, right?