Cavs Bench Burns Pistons in Motown

Antawn Jamison finished with 15 points in Cleveland's Wednesday night win.
Allen Einstein
NBAE/Getty Images
It’s been quite a while since the Cavaliers registered a win like Wednesday night’s in the Motor City.

As they had in the opener, Byron Scott’s bench brought big energy into the game. But in Cleveland’s first road game of the season, they kept the heat on all night – taking their first win of the year, an impressive 105-89 win over the Pistons at the Palace.

“I thought our guys did it for 48 minutes tonight and when you play defense as hard as we did tonight it seems like the offense is easy,” praised Coach Scott.
“A lot of guys obviously played really well.”

The 16-point win was their biggest margin of victory since March 2010, and it was every bit as impressive as the score would indicate.

Six Cavaliers tallied double-figures, including the point guard duo of Kyrie Irving and Ramon Sessions – who combined for 30 points and 13 assists. Sessions’ 16-point effort was part of the Cavs second unit barrage that tallied 56 points.

Another member of Cleveland’s bench brigade was Samardo Samuels, who bounced back from a DNP-CD in the opener to lead the Wine and Gold with 17 points on 6-for-8 shooting. His high school teammate, Tristan Thompson, also notched double-figures off the bench with 10 points to go with four boards and a pair of blocks.

“Going into this season, I’m pretty much confident knowing that I put in the work that I was supposed to in the summer time,” said Samuels after the win. “It’s a matter of just waiting for my number to be called and it did tonight and I was ready.”

The Cavs led by just a deuce after one quarter, 25-23. But their defensive intensity in the second period helped push their lead to as many as 14 points. Behind the effort of rookie Brandon Knight, the Pistons kept it close after intermission, but the Cavaliers reserves were too much down the stretch, scoring all of Cleveland’s 26 fourth-quarter points.

Among the starters, Antawn Jamison notched 15 points, followed by Kyrie Irving’s 14-point, seven-assist effort. Anderson Varejao rounded out the Cavaliers in double-figures with 10 points and seven boards.

The Wine and Gold wrap up their Central Division mini-road trip on Friday night against the Pacers in Indiana.

  • Wednesday’s matchup featured the two top point guards in the 2011 NBA Draft and both were extremely impressive. Kyrie bounced back from a rough shooting night on Monday to go 5-for-9 from the floor and 4-of-4 from the stripe. Knight was even more deadly, coming off Detroit’s bench to go 10-for-13 from the field to lead all scorers with 23 points. He scored all but two of Detroit’s bench points.

  • The Cavaliers mauled Detroit on the boards, out-rebounding them, 40-26. (The last time Cleveland outrebounded a team by that many boards was last March’s victory over the Heat in Cleveland.) Everyone got in on the rebounding act – with the guard combo of Sessions (7), Gibson (6) and Irving (4) pitching in big on the boards.

  • There’s no lack of fire on this club. Kyrie Irving, Anderson Varejao and Omri Casspi were three of the more intense Cavaliers in Wednesday’s win.

    “We’re all fiery guys and when one of our teammates does something great, there’s no better feeling than having your teammates come up to you and hug you and embrace that feeling. That’s what makes it a great team. Everybody collectively feeling the same way. That’s just the love we have in the locker room.”

  • On Wednesday afternoon, the Canton Charge inked Manny Harris, who played 54 games for the Wine and Gold last season but couldn’t participate in training camp because of a foot injury. He was waived before the opener, but now has the opportunity to return to the show.

    “This gives us a chance to keep tabs on him a little bit,” said Byron Scott. “I think it’ll be great for Manny. Because I know, the biggest thing is that Manny wants to play basketball. And last week was so unfortunate that he didn’t get a chance to compete in training camp. So we can see some of the things he worked on – or hoped he had worked on this summer.”

  • In other Cavaliers-related D-League news, the Maine Red Claws inked former Cavalier Ricky Davis. There’s also a trio of former Cavs coaching in the NBA’s minor league – including Ira Newble with the Charge, David Wesley with Texas and Donyell Marshall with Slick Rick’s Red Claws.

  • Cleveland’s bench has totaled 107 points in their first two games.

  • Ramon Sessions continues what is, for him, a three-point barrage. He came into the season having shot just 71 treys, but has already attempted eight this year. He’d never attempted more than two in a game in any previous season, but took four shots from beyond the arc in Motown – canning two.

    “It’s something that I worked on. It’s something that I’m shooting daily now, even if it’s in practice. Just getting the reps in – getting confidence.”