The Cavaliers notched their first win of the season AND their first double digit win of the season. This year it took the Cavs 2 games to get a double digit win. Last season it took 73 games to do that. This year is going to be better than last year.
Cavs Leaders: Points: Samuels, 17; Rebounds: Varejao, Sessions, 7; Assists: Irving, 7
Quick Thoughts: That was much better. Much, much better. In virtually every facet of the game, that Cavaliers were better than they were against Toronto; and the scoreboard reflected it. The Cavaliers put together a very balanced, effective, 48 minutes of basketball to carry them to a 16-point romp of the Pistons in Detroit.
The Cavaliers dominated the Pistons in three of the four factors. That is to say, the Cavs bested the Pistons in effective field goal percentage, offensive rebounding rate, and free throw rate. The only bad facet of the Cavaliers' game tonight was the amount of turnovers that they committed. They had 8 in the first quarter alone. Compare that to the 7 that they had in all of the season opener. They finished the night with 22 turnovers in total. This could have easily been a 25+ point blowout if the Cavs could have simply taken care of the basketball.
The team defense for the Cavaliers was also much better Wednesday night. Cleveland was able to post a defensive efficiency rating of only 97.8 while it was over 115 against the Raptors. They eliminated the ability for the Pistons to get easy baskets around the rim, holding Detroit to 48% shooting on such shots. That is quite impressive. I would attribute this mostly to Jamison not playing as much and Ryan Hollins not playing at all. At this point, Samardo Samuels is just a much better option than Hollins. Jamison only got 23 minutes and Tristan Thompson played 25 minutes. Needless to say, Tristan Thompson's defense >>>>>>>> Antawn Jamison's defense.
The Cavs also shot the ball much better. It helps when you shoot 7 of 12 from downtown as a team. The Cavs benefited from a rough shooting night for the Pistons (Brandon Knight excluded), and were able to keep going on runs that Detroit just could not match.
Who led the team in scoring? That's right, Samardo Samuels did. After getting zero minutes in the season opener because Byron Scott was apparently unhappy with Samuels' conditioning, he showed that he deserved the backup center spot at least for the time being. While Ryan Hollins looked like he had never played basketball before, Samuels was quite effective. Along with 17 points, Samuels added 4 rebounds and showed some improved range on his jumper. If he can consistently hit 16-foot jump shots, he will open up the paint even further.
Ramon Sessions was once again very solid. He played more minutes than the starting point guard, Kyrie Irving. Whether this was because Byron Scott was just riding the hot hand or because he wanted to leave the second unit in during a blowout situation, Sessions once again proved that he is a more than capable point guard. He shot only 4 of 11, but scored 16 points, had 7 rebounds, and 6 assists. It's a shame that he is buried as the second point guard on this roster because he really is quite good. He's clearly worked very hard on his jumpshot and teams are going to have to start respecting his range behind the three point arc. Sessions once again nailed 2 long balls, a portion of his game that was virtually nonexistent last season. If he keeps playing this well, Sessions ought to be traded to a contending team and could bring in some serious return for Cleveland.
Get used to seeing Tristan Thompson's name in this section because this kid is gonna be here a lot. Thompson recorded a game-high +/- of +18 and contributed 10 points, 4 boards, 2 blocks, and a steal. I saw someone on Twitter suggest the nickname "Tigger" for Thompson because he bounces around like he's on a pogo stick a la the Winnie the Pooh character. I approve of this nickname. He comes out of nowhere to block shots and has a much better offensive game than he gets credit for. His touch around the basket is quite good and right now, he's basically relying on pure athleticism. Once he refines his game, he's going to be a force.
Fear The Sword's Player Of The Game:
Get used to seeing this one in this section as well. I won't go as far to say that this was his "welcome to the NBA" game, because it's not, but he was really good. Irving played only 20 minutes yet managed to fit a full game's worth into the stat sheet. Irving improved enormously from his disappointing shooting performance against Toronto by scoring 14 points on 9 shots including 4 for 4 from the FT line. Irving once again looked calm and in control running the offense, dishing out 7 assists and tacking on 4 rebounds and 2 steals as well. He made some beautiful passes that led to easy baskets and picked his spots effectively. He said after the game that he was definitely pressing in the first game and that Wednesday night he was just having fun. The game got kind of out of hand, so Kyrie didn't have to play that much in the second half, but could have had even nicer stats if he were in the game. I expect this to be the first of many player of the game awards for the rookie point guard.
PS: Kyrie Irving still needs a nickname, so I'll be taking suggestions for them until we come up with a good one.