Rookies Rock, Bounce Bobcats

Antawn Jamison notched 19 points in Tuesday's win over Charlotte.
David Liam Kyle
NBAE.Getty Images
Early this season, Kyrie Irving has justifiably gotten most of the press between the Cavaliers top two picks. On Tuesday night, Tristan Thompson earned some ink of his own.

Irving set Charlotte up in the first half and Thompson knocked them down in the second, propelling the Wine and Gold to their second straight win – a convincing 115-101 victory over the Bobcats at The Q.

The Cavaliers looked a little lethargic out of the gate on Tuesday, but Irving and Anthony Parker warmed up in the second quarter – going 6-for-8 from the floor and helping Cleveland outscore Charlotte, 30-17.

The Wine and Gold took a six-point lead into intermission and never looked back – running their edge to as many as 15 points in the third. The Bobcats trimmed the lead to just a touchdown after three quarters, but halfway through the final period, Tristan Thompson’s dunk gave Cleveland a 21-point bulge and sealed Charlotte’s fate.

Irving, who gets more comfortable by the game, was 8-for-10 from the floor to lead the Cavaliers with 20 points, adding six assists, three boards and a pair of blocked shots. The former Blue Devil went 3-for-3 from the floor in both the second and third quarters and canned both of the three-pointers he attempted.

Thompson, whose rise is almost as rapid, finished with 16 points, nine rebounds and a pair of blocks in 24 action-packed minutes off the bench. The No. 4 overall pick was 7-for-16 from the floor, with five of his boards coming off the offensive glass.

Antawn Jamison followed a 23-point performance on Sunday night with a 19-point showing on Tuesday. Anthony Parker and Ramon Sessions pitched in with 11 points apiece. Parker was 3-for-5 from beyond the arc, while Sessions led the club with nine assists.

“I think they are enjoying playing with one another which is great,” praised Coach Scott. “Chemistry and camaraderie are so important. I've always said give me a team with good talent and great chemistry and camaraderie and we'll win. I think we have a team here with that great chemistry and camaraderie. It's just a matter of these guys playing more basketball together as this season goes on.”

The Cavaliers leave Cleveland one layup away from starting the season 4-1 and will embark on their longest road trip of the season – a 13-day, seven-game junket that begins on Wednesday in Toronto and wraps up with a rematch with the Bobcats in Charlotte on January 16.

  • Former Cavs coach Paul Silas had some good things to say about his former team before Tuesday’s matchup.

    “Well, they come with energy,” said Silas. “They really, really play hard and you have to play every bit as hard as them if you’re going to be successful. They have the little point guard who’s pushing it and everybody seems to be happy right now.”

  • Tuesday’s game featured two teams that accounted for four of the top nine picks in last June’s Draft. Cleveland’s aforementioned rookies combined for 36 points, 12 boards, seven helpers and four blocked shots. Charlotte’s top two – Bismack Biyombo and Kemba Walker – combined for 10 points, five boards and a pair of blocks.

  • Antawn Jamison has found his footing in 2012. In the calendar year’s first two games, he’s 17-for-31 from the floor – averaging 21.0 points, 5.5 boards and 2.0 blocks per contest.

  • Before the teams went into the locker room before intermission, Anderson Varejao went to Charlotte’s bench and hugged one of the classiest guys in the league – former Cavs assistant and Paul’s son, Stephen Silas.

  • Despite five turnovers, Omri Casspi was 2-for-3 from the floor and looked like he’s starting to shake an early funk. Coach Scott was asked if the recently-acquired small forward was pressing a bit.

    “The one thing I told him was to relax,” explained Coach Scott. “I’m not worried about the offensive end. I just want (him) to keep playing hard, keep running the floor, be a little bit more aggressive defensively and I think that’ll get him going. But I have faith in him. He’s a young player that probably looks at it right now that he’s not doing the things he was brought here to do, but he’s doing a good job. He’ll be fine.”

  • The Cavaliers have now outscored every opponent they’ve faced on the fastbreak. On Tuesday, they outdid the Bobcats on the break (19-15), on second-chance points (17-11) and in the paint (56-40). Cleveland shot an even 50 percent from the floor and committed just nine turnovers.

  • Former Ohio State standout, Byron Mullins, had 22 family and friends watching him play on Tuesday at The Q. The big man didn’t disappoint, notching a career-high 14 points in just 17 minutes off the bench.

  • After wrapping up their season on Sunday, a pair of Browns took in Tuesday’s game. Seated across from the Cavs bench were cornerback Joe Haden and defensive tackle, Phil Taylor – each wearing Kyrie Irving jerseys. (As he did last season, Haden rocked the game shorts too.)

  • Tristan Thompson has now blocked at least two shots in every game but the season opener. He now has nine on the season, second-most among rookies. Kyrie Irving is fairing pretty well himself. The 19-year-old phenom blocked two more shots on Tuesday after swatting a pair on Sunday.