Kyrie, Cavs Sink Suns
Kyrie Irvin and Antawn Jamison – who hail from college hoops’ version of the Hatfields and the McCoys – teamed up to take down the Phoenix Suns in convincing fashion, 101-90, halting Cleveland’s two-game slide and setting up the dramatic finale of the West Coast leg of the extended roadie.
Irving was a one-man wrecking crew in the second quarter, scoring 12 of his 26 points and keying a 24-8 run that put Cleveland in the driver’s seat to stay.
In that quarter, the former No. 1 overall pick went 5-for-6 from the floor, including 2-of-3 from long distance. When he spun home a driving layup with 4:09 to play, even the usually stoic Byron Scott couldn’t help but to rock back, arms folded and widen his eyes at his fantastic freshman’s flurry.
“I was basically just feeding off my teammates,” said Irving. “I was going around the screens, taking what the defense gave me and my teammates had the confidence in me to keep feeding me the ball and telling me to keep going. So I did.”
Overall, Irving went 11-for-17 from the field, adding six assists, three boards and a pair of steals.
Jamison went 3-of-9 in the first quarter, but went 7-of-13 the rest of the way – including 3-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc – following up with 23 points.
The only other Cavalier to notch double-figure scoring was Daniel Gibson, who also went 3-for-5 from long-distance.
Anderson Varejao fell just shy of joining the trio in double-digit scoring, but may have affected the game even more greatly by hauling in a season-high 17 boards – seven off the offensive glass.
The Suns had six players in double-figures and Steve Nash put on a clinic with 15 assists, but Phoenix fell behind after two quarters on Thursday night and never made a serious threat from that point forward.
“I thought we did some really good things,” praised Coach Scott. “Especially after the first quarter, I thought our defense was fantastic, holding them to 60 points for the next three quarters. Offensively we did a good job finding the open guy; that’s what we’re all about.”
The Cavaliers close out the Western Conference portion of the junket on Friday night in Tinseltown as they gear up to face former coach Mike Brown and his Los Angeles Lakers.
“I’ve known Shannon for a long time, going all the way back to when we used to play AAU together,” said Boobie. “So I’ve known him back a long way. It’s kind of cool – we made it to the NBA together, played for the same team, go through some of the same things. Our roles are different in that he’s been with different teams and I’ve been in the same situation. But we’ve both been blessed.”
“At 19, I was having fun on campus – I was enjoying the ASU lifestyle,” laughed Coach Scott. “I find myself a lot saying, ‘He’s just 19. Relax. He’s going to be OK.’ I have to remind myself of that a lot. But I also realize that he wouldn’t be here if he wasn’t capable of doing the things I know he can do. But at 19, I had no thoughts of the NBA.”
“I’m enjoying (broadcasting) for the time being,” said Williams. “I would like to do more, be a little more involved in the win and losses of the team.”
“(Hill) is probably top two or number one,” praised Irving. “I didn’t get as many accolades at Duke as he did, but he’s one of the greatest. It’s an honor to play against him.”