The Cavaliers wrapped up their grueling 7-game road trip with a 102-94 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday afternoon. Cleveland finished with a 3-4 record on the trip and are sitting at 6-6 overall. It's a quick turnaround, as the Cavs will host the Golden State Warriors tomorrow night at Quicken Loans Arena.
Cavs Leader: Points: Irving, 25; Rebounds: Varejao, 12; Assists: Sessions, 9
So...I think we've found our fourth quarter closer. For the 5th game in a row, Kyrie Irving scored 20 points and shredded the Bobcats defense on MLK Day. He scored 9 points in the final quarter and led the Cavaliers to another nice road win. He wasn't very good on the defensive side of the ball, but nobody on the Cavaliers could really stay in front of D.J. Augustin tonight. Other than his spotty defense, which will improve, I cannot say enough about Kyrie. He's exceed my every expectation thus far and pulls out dazzling move after dazzling move. He attacks the paint fearlessly and has supreme confidence in his shooting stroke. In his past 5 games he's average 22.3 points, 5.2 assists, and 55% shooting. If that's not ROY material, I don't know what is.
Antawn Jamison continues to play well. He's playing aggressively, looks in shape, and his shots are (sometimes) falling. 20 points on 16 shots isn't the most efficient performance, but he continues to be an offensive threat that the Cavaliers so desperately need. If the front office manages to get someone to bite on taking Antawn Jamison, I will be giddy. Jamison has been solid so far this year and would make every Cavs fan happy if he brought some young assets to Cleveland in a trade.
Byron Scott once again showed his propensity for sound defensive adjustments after a brutal second quarter. The Bobcats outscored the Cavs 34-16 in the 2nd period, but Scott went into the locker room at halftime, made some adjustments and the Cavs responded with a 33-20 3rd quarter. This is starting to become a theme and it makes me that much more confident about the job that Byron Scott is doing.
We saw some pretty interesting lineups today, including the one that I have been wanting to see the most. For one stretch, Scott used a lineup of "Irving-Gibson-Gee-Thompson-Varejao". In my opinion, that is our best possible lineup right now. It gives us a solid balance of scoring and defense. Boobie's defense has been phenomenal in the early going and he Gee has shown an ability to attack the rim. Varejao and Thompson are obviously the two best defenders of the paint on the roster as well.
Semih Erden almost looked like a real basketball player today. He scored 5 points while grabbing 6 rebounds in the backup center minutes. Byron has maintained that he will continue to go with Erden for at least a few more games to let him get his fair shot at the job. If he plays like he did today, he might just win it. Apart from the 4 fouls, which he picked up in about a 2-minute span, Erden did pretty much all we could have asked for today.
Anthony Parker left the game early with a back injury and did not return. His back gave him trouble at the end of last season. We don't know the extent of the injury, but will keep you updated when we know more.
Omri Casspi! He played well and attacked the rim. This is exactly what I wanted to see out of him in the first 11 games. He started doing it in the second half of the game against the Lakers and seems to have carried that mentality over to Charlotte. He was productive, scoring 14 points and grabbing 7 rebounds in just 25 minutes and recorded 3 and-1s. I like what I'm seeing from Casspi right now.
Ramon Sessions and Kyrie Irving played together for a short period of time today. I thought I would like it, but I don't. That particular lineup has Kyrie playing as the 2-guard, but he spends too much time off of the ball. Irving is most effective when the ball is in his hands and he can either score or create for others. Sessions finished the game with 9 assists, but in the lineups that have Irving played the shooting guard position, I feel as if we are wasting our best player.
Anderson Varejao grabbed 12 rebounds to go along with 14 points. It's his 5th double-double of the season. Ho-hum.
Fear The Sword's Player Of The Game:
What more do I need to say? Kyrie Irving was once again marvelous. I talked about it earlier, and honestly, there isn't a whole lot more to be said. He rarely makes a bad decision, but when he does, he comes back with the exact same controlled aggressiveness on the next possession. His body control is phenomenal and he makes impossibly difficult layups look routine. He took a pull-up three in transition, a shot that I normally hate....and nailed it. He's so confident in his ability, and rightfully so, he's a stud. I expected him to be good, and eventually great. So far, he's been great and eventually....who knows?