Cavalier fans that turned on the exhibition between Brazil and the United States on Saturday night were not disappointed. Anderson Varejao and Kyrie Irving were able to put together good games for their respective teams. The game itself was fun to watch, as the Americans won with relative ease despite Brazil boasting a solid frontline of Tiago Splitter, Nene, and Varejao.
I couldn't find a box score online, but this will have to suffice (hat tip to kdico):
The Cleveland Cavaliers instagram page had stats for Varejao and Irving as well.
Irving's numbers came in less than 15 minutes of action, but it's another game in which he didn't the turn the ball over. Adding this performance to the intrasquad scrimmage, Irving has eight assists and zero turnovers. The three steals were impressive, and they caught the eye of Coach Krzyzewski:
Was anyone else outstanding besides Davis?
I thought Klay Thompson made the big shot of the game when they cut it to five and he had that three. Also, Kyrie's defense, when you get that combination and Derrick on the point, the two of them can play together.
Irving himself seems to really enjoy playing for the United States national team. He made the choice to play for the US team over Australia a couple years ago without the guarantee that he would ever even make Team USA. It's a decision that appears to be paying off, and he is still only 22 years old:
Did it feel good to get the first win under your belt?
Absolutely. We wanted to make a statement, not only to ourselves but to the rest of the world that we came to play and we are going to represent the U.S. to the best of our abilities.
Varejao got quite a bit more playing time than Irving did. His numbers were what we have come to know and expect and love from Anderson when he is healthy. Six points, nine rebounds, three assists. I thought he was moving pretty well, and recovered nicely while defending the pick and roll a few times. Varejao is likely the Cavaliers' opening night starter at the center position, and the team will need him to be healthy when the playoffs come. If he can play like he did last night, Cleveland is in good shape.
Speaking on the United States team as a whole, it's a weird team. Kenneth Faried and Mason Plumlee get real minutes, but the guard play is so good, and the team is so athletic that they can find ways to overcome it. Other than Spain, Brazil is right at the top of the world in terms of quality, and the United States was in cruise control for much of the night. It'll be interesting and pretty fun to watch this team play next month.