My girlfriend and I went "deep in the Q" tonight to see the Kyrie Irving era begin in Cleveland. It looks like it may be another long winter for Cavs fans. Here are a few of my thoughts on the game, organized in no recognizable order, in honor of the Cavs coach Byron Scott.
- I'm sure other arenas in the NBA do it, but the pyrotechnics before the game are pretty cool.
- Coach Scott announced Kyrie was going to be starting earlier in the afternoon, and I was excited to hear that, as this was really the impetus for wanting to go and see his first game as a Cavalier. Defensively, he looked up to the task and his quick hands almost cost Jose Calderon of the Raptors a couple turnovers. He had only one turnover, which is great for your first NBA game. Now, shooting-wise, he couldn't buy a basket, but he didn't look afraid of shooting the ball, and I think that confidence will help him as the season goes on.
- Speaking of cold shooting, Antawn Jamison. 6-20 from the field, 50% from the line, NOT what we're expecting from the veteran scorer. It's almost as if he is trying to score 30 points a night, so that the Cavs can deal him away. Not if shoots like that. Also, he could not cover Bargnani at all. At the end of the game it would have made much more sense for Scott to have played 20-year old Tristan Thompson on Bargnani when the game was on the line.
- Tristan Thompson looked great. Even though Omri Casspi didn't impress much (and I think I just heard for the first time in my life on the Kings/Lakers game "What hustle from JJ Hickson!") Thompson should fill Hickson's dangling mouthguard just fine. He had a couple of great dunks (great, as in high percentage shot), and filled the paint nicely unlike EVERY single other "big man" on this team. He makes a great dunk and energizes the crowd, the Cavs are down four, and Scott goes to #4 Jamison and takes out the rookie. Apologies to Gregg Easterbrook, but at that point I wrote "Game Over" in my mental notebook.
- Ryan Hollins is the softest 7-footer in the league. I've said it before and I'll say it again, but if he was 6'11" he would not be playing Professional Basketball. He gets manhandled every time doen the floor. He made Jamaal Magloire look like a young Jamaal Magloire. He's terrible. He played 15 minutes plus. Hey coach. Please do not play him ever again. Can't wait for Semih Erden to be active. Even Samardo Samuels would have been a better option (apologies to #WNFYKirk, whom last week I expressed my opinion that Samardo should be in Canton).
- I'm going to lay off of Andy Varejao tonight. He played exactly the way he's played for 7 years, only now he's the Center. Luckily, he never learned how to play power forward so he looks a little less confused about where to be out on the court. OK, I guess that's not really laying off him, but it'll get much worse when he has to play against a REAL NBA center.
- Ramon Sessions played great, controlled both sides of the floor. If this were a team that had thoughts of the playoffs, he'd be starting. But, we're not, so Kyrie will get the minutes.
- Alonzo Gee really impressed me, a very incorrect travelling call negated what would have been the monster dunk of the night. He will be stealing a ton of Casspi minutes, especially if the Israeli continues to play like he did tonight.
- The Raptors are not a very good team either, and they are in for a long season as well. The second (third?) division of the NBA season is on.
My final take on the game is that it could have been much worse, but there were a few positives and I think we are going in the right direction. The seats were cheap, but we had a good view of the whole court.
Thanks to my girlfriend for supplying the pictures.
Thanks to Brian for forwarding me the "friends and family" discount e-mail his brother sent him. Next time we'll have to bribe his brother to get us on the jumbo-tron (my girlfriend wants to be on the "Kiss-Cam")!