Rookie Helps Cavs Clip L.A.
Wrap-Up – The Cavaliers top rookie made his Hollywood debut on Monday night – with Dion Waiters netting 20 of his 28 points in the second half and willing the Wine and Gold to the 108-101 win over the Clippers on Monday night at Staples Center. Waiters canned a three-pointer to give the Cavs the lead late in the second quarter and they never trailed again. L.A.’s Jamal Crawford tied the game at 94-apiece late in regulation, but Waiters drilled his sixth trey of the night to put Cleveland ahead to stay.
There were no shortage of heroes in Monday’s win, including Kyrie Irving, who doubled-up with 24 points and a game-high 10 assists and Anderson Varejao, who finished with 15 points, 15 boards and three steals. Waiters rookie classmate, Tyler Zeller, had the best game of his young career – netting 15 points and seven boards before being knocked out of the game late in the fourth on an inadvertent elbow by DeAndre Jordan.
Turning Point –The Cavaliers came out of the halftime locker room nursing a seven-point lead before Waiters blew the game open – scoring on a four-point play then drilling another two three-pointers followed by a tough runner to keep the Clippers at bay. In the third quarter alone, the No. 4 pick in this past June’s Draft went 4-for-4 from the floor, including 3-of-3 from beyond the arc for a dozen points.
Game Ball – Anderson Varejao This could’ve gone to any number of Cavaliers on Monday – Waiters, Kyrie Irving, Alonzo Gee for his work on the defensive end, or C.J. Miles, who snapped an early-season funk with 10 points off the bench.
But once again it was Anderson Varejao who did all the dirty work and got some glory too – canning a pair of 18-footers (along with grabbing a big board and making a key steal) in the final three minutes to preserve the dramatic win.
By the Numbers – .867 … Cavaliers’ winning percentage against the Clippers since March 29, 2005. Including Monday night’s victory, the Wine and Gold have now topped the Clippers in 13 of their last 15 contests.
Quotable – Dion Waiters on his demonstrative demeanor after canning one big shot after another against L.A. …
“I’m just emotional, man. I’m into the game. I’m just so focused and that’s just me. I’ve been that way my whole life and I don’t think it’s gonna change.”
Seen and Heard – The Clippers don’t break out the A-list celebrities like the Lakers, and on Monday, the luminaries included Chloe and Rob Kardashian as well as Drama from MTV’s “Rob & Big” show. Drama founded the “Young & Reckless” clothing line, often worn by the man of the night, Dion Waiters. Former Cavalier Chris Dudley made an appearance in the Cavaliers postgame locker room and behind the Cleveland media sat an entire row of Luke Walton’s friends and family.
Up Next – The Cavaliers are through the first third of the trip and they’ll stay primarily out West for the rest of the week – taking on the Warriors in Oakland on Wednesday night and heading to the Valley of the Sun for a matchup in Phoenix on Friday.