Cavs Open Season in Style
Wrap-Up – Wednesday’s home opener had a little bit of everything – last-minute drama, iconic veterans in new uniforms, superstar crooners and, for the Cavaliers, a head coach and a pair of All-Star-caliber big men making their triumphant return to the floor.
Anderson Varejao, making his regular season return, hit two big buckets in the final two minutes and Kyrie Irving iced the win with four straight free throws in the final 14 seconds – leading the Wine and Gold to the dramatic 98-94 win on Wednesday night at The Q.
Tristan Thompson led six Cavaliers in double-figures with 18 points to go with a team-high nine boards. Irving flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 15 points, nine assists, seven boards and a pair of steals. Varejao finished with 11 points, eight boards and three assists and Jarrett Jack and CJ Miles combined for 22 points off the bench.
Turning Point – Even though Wednesday’s win was decided in the closing seconds, the turning point might have come at the end of the first quarter, when Mike Brown emptied his bench to replace the struggling starters. Veterans Jarrett Jack, CJ Miles and Andrew Bynum took over at that point, quickly erasing a nine-point deficit and giving the Cavaliers the lead – and some much-needed momentum – that would propel them for the rest of the night.
Game Ball – Andrew Bynum – He didn’t put up big numbers. He didn’t even play in the second half. But Andrew Bynum’s sooner-than-expected return after rehabbing for over a year put an extra-charge into the crowd (as well as his teammates). In 7:34 of action, a sharp-looking Bynum was a presence in the post, blocking a pair of shots, grabbing three boards and scoring on a three-point play. It should only get better.
By the Numbers – 556 … Number of days between Wednesday’s home opener and the last time Andrew Bynum played in an NBA game.
Quotable – Coach Mike Brown, on the win over Brooklyn …
“It was a gritty, grimy, ugly game, just how I like it and it was fun. I think our guys enjoyed it.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers got off to a great start, and they’ll need all the home cookin’ they can get this month – as they play just three of their next ten at The Q. They’ll travel for a pair of those road contests this weekend. On Friday, they travel to Charlotte to take on the Bobcats – who they’ve already faced twice in the preseason – and on Saturday, it’s the heavyweight Pacers in Indiana. The Wine and Gold return home to face Kevin Love and the T-Wolves on Monday night.