|2012-13 Team Ratings|
|27th Overall||28th Overall|
Stats through Jan. 22
Anderson Varejao cannot catch a break -– the oft-injured center's bruised knee turned into a torn leg muscle, then into a blood clot that has shut down his season. Tristan Thompson picked up slack with 11 double-doubles in 17 games (through mid-January).
Kyrie Irving overcame the winning-record bias to land an All-Star spot because he's just been that darn good (Cavs are eight points worse, on average, when he's not on the floor). After a slow start, Dion Waiters ranks second among rookies in scoring (14.6 ppg).
The Cavaliers are at their best as ballhawks, getting steals or otherwise forcing turnovers (2nd best in NBA). Their rebounding proficiency took a hit when Varejao went down and they're dead last in foes' FG percentage.
C.J. Miles has been a potent scorer off the bench, especially from the arc. New guys Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington and Josh Selby, acquired from Memphis, boost the unit now but weren't available to help in the first half.
Byron Scott has his hands full with this bunch, but the bright side is, Irving already fits nicely in his personal history of point guards (Jason Kidd in New Jersey, Chris Paul in New Orleans). Low expectations at the Q pre-empt any pressure for now.
At one point, the Cavaliers were 4-17, so a 7-15 stretch isn't bad by comparison. Still baby steps, but Waiters and Tyler Zeller have been logging valuable minutes and the infusion of talent from the Grizzlies (and the future first-round pick) are what Cleveland must focus on.
Of the eight starting lineups Scott used in the first half, the most recent crew -- Irving, Waiters, Thompson, Gee, Zeller -- managed to win four of eight. Anything with a whiff of .500 is welcome these days.
- Steve Aschburner
Explanation of Marking System
|Golden State Warriors||B+|
|Los Angeles Clippers||A-|
|Los Angeles Lakers||C-|
|New Orleans Hornets||C-|
|New York Knicks||A-|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||A|
|Portland Trail Blazers||B-|
|San Antonio Spurs||B+|