You know what I forgot to do yesterday? Yeah, I forgot to write a game recap. Well, better late than never, no? Here it is.
Cavs Leaders: Points: Irving, 29; Rebounds: Gee, 13; Assists: Irving, 9
This might have been the perfect game for the Cavaliers. They played really hard. They showed lots of good things and flashes of brilliance. Yet, they lost and helped get more ping pong balls for the draft lottery. After leading by three with just five seconds to go, Joe Johnson lost Anthony Parker on a screen and drained the game-tying three pointer to send the game into overtime. In the extra period, Johnson hit a shot to put the Hawks up by 1 and put the game in Kyrie Irving's hands. Irving drove, stepped back, went off the glass, and the shot bounced out of the rim. It was really close to falling. Alas, it didn't. The Cavs lost by a score of 103-102 and fell to 17-27 with exactly one third of the season remaining.
Normally I would wait until the POTG section to talk about Kyrie's performance, but it was just too good to ignore that long. The (then 19 year old) rookie came dangerously close to dropping a triple-double. He scored 29 points, 9 assists, and 9 rebounds. That's just a ridiculous game. He shot 10 of 19 from the field. It was awesome. The only negative was that he had seven turnovers as well. I've said before that turnovers from rookie point guards are not necessarily a bad thing because it shows willingness to attempt difficult things. Basically, he just got too ambitious at times and that ends up as a turnover. In a year or two, those go away.
In the Tristan Thompson Playing Center Experiment, it didn't go as well. Zaza Pachulia was once again an issue for the rookie big man. Tristan had just 13 points and 5 rebounds in 41 minutes of play. It's becoming more clear that Tigger is going to have some problems with bigger, stronger guys while he is playing center. This makes sense. He'll put on more muscle as he grows and matures. He won't get pushed around by these guys for long. Perhaps the most infuriating thing about Tristan is that he brings the ball so low and gets stripped like...every time. He needs to be stronger with the ball. That will come with some seasoning as well. I'm not panicking about Tristan by any means. His problems are pretty obvious and the coaching staff can work to fix them.
You want me to talk about two more things from this game? Two more things it is. Here we go: last time the Cavs played the Hawks, Joe Johnson went wild against the defensive efforts of Anthony Parker and Daniel Gibson. This time (just as I suggested in my preview) Byron Scott switched Alonzo Gee onto Johnson and he SHUT HIM DOWN (until like, the end of the game). Johnson had a really hard time doing much of anything with Gee on him. It was pretty cool. Gee shot miserably (1 of 9) but attacked the basket and got to the free throw line often (7 of 8). He also led the team in rebounds, for some reason.
Last but certainly not least, Manny Harris played quite well in his 20 minutes of playing time. Manny proved to be an efficient scorer, dropping 11 points on just 8 shots and adding 6 rebounds to boot. He had no problem getting going right away. He came out firing and was knocking shots down. His quickness compared to Old Man Parker is mind-blowing - and Manny ain't even that fast. His ability to jump into a game and not have a period where he has to adjust himself to the game could be very valuable. That gives Byron the chance to insert him for instant offense and/or a change of pace. I'd definitely like to see Manny for 20ish minutes per game for the rest of the year.
Fear The Sword's Player Of The Game:
It's Kyrie Irving. I already talked about him. It's still Kyrie Irving. 29-9-9.