Cavs Open the Season in Style
Wrap-Up – The Cavaliers didn’t trail at any point throughout the first three quarters, but a Wizards run to start the fourth put them up by a deuce. At that point, Byron Scott re-inserted his starters – who used a 20-8 run to blow past Washington, 94-84, in the home opener. Kyrie Irving led everyone with 29 points, but it was Anderson Varejao – playing in his first game since a wrist injury ended his 2011-12 season – who stole the show with career highs in offensive (12) and overall rebounds (23) to go with a career-high nine assists. Rookie Dion Waiters added 17 points in his Cavalier debut.
Turning Point – The Cavs didn’t score a single point in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter and a Jannero Pargo triple put Washington up two, 76-74. But two possessions later, rookie Dion Waiters canned a three-pointer as Varejao was fouled by Pargo. Andy hit the free throw to complete the four-point play – stemming the Wizards’ temporary momentum. Cleveland didn’t trail again.
Game Ball – Anderson Varejao – The Wild Thing hadn’t played an NBA game since injuring his wrist against Milwaukee on February 10 last year. He returned with a vengeance in the opener – almost turning in a triple-double with nine points, nine assists and 23 boards – fourth-most ever by a Cavalier. The Wine and Gold are a much different – (read: better -- team when No. 17 mans the middle.
By the Numbers – 5 … assists for Tristan Thompson in the opener. As a rookie, Thompson didn’t hand out his fifth assist until February 19 and came in with just 27 for his career.
Quotable – Tristan Thompson on his five-assist night, after averaging just .5 helpers per contest as a rookie …
“That’s what the summer’s for. It makes us better basketball players and, like Coach said, each year you want to add something to your game. So last year, I struggled passing out of the post but this year you have to find open guys and make plays for your teammates.”
Seen and Heard – The Browns, winners of two of their last three contests, represented well on Tuesday. On hand were quarterback Brandon Weeden, tailback Trent Richardson, cornerback (and Cavs game fixture) cornerback Joe Haden, defensive end Frostee Rucker, and nose tackle Phil Taylor. Near the end of regulation, Taylor stood next to local rap idol, Machine Gun Kelly – who also did the 2012-13 pregame intro.
Up Next – The Wine and Gold welcome the Derrick Rose-less Chicago Bulls on Friday night before departing on a six-game road trip that starts on Saturday in Milwaukee, takes the team to the Left Coast and concludes at the Barclay’s Center as the Cavs make their first trip to Brooklyn on November 13.