Antawn Jamison keeps Cavs close, Kyrie closes it out again

This is what Antawn Jamison provides a rebuilding effort like the one underway in Cleveland right now. Last night. Sure he’s a chucker, I know he doesn’t play too much defense, and I still remember those two free throws he missed before they lost in overtime the other day, but there’s no way around the importance of what Jamison did last night. While the rest of the Cavaliers did essentially nothing through three quarters, Antawn Jamison did enough to keep them within striking distance anyways all by himself. He scored 29 of the Cavaliers 66 points through three quarters, and he was the reason the Cavaliers were only down 11 (77-66) to open the 4th. He’d finish with 32 points and 10 rebounds on fifty percent shooting from the floor (11-22), and Antawn would create the opportunity for Kyrie Irving to go legend one more time. Which is exactly what he did last night, again.

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 21:  Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts after missing a free throw against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on January 21, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Irving had 8 points heading into the 4th quarter. Then he buried a three pointer to cut the lead to 79-71 Pistons. Then he hit another three, cut it to a 4-point diff, and on his way back down the court he went Russell Westbrook firing off those imaginary six-shooters. If you didn’t know it was about to get so totally real after that, you didn’t have a pulse. This kid is special. This kid is better than anybody thought he’d be this season. He’s a closer. He’s a superstar. He’s a top-5 PG in the League right now, and he’s the best rookie to ever play for the Cleveland Cavaliers. I don’t remember anybody before him closing out games with seventeen fourth quarter points to lead his team to one-point wins (93-92) with regularity at nineteen years old before.  

Kyrie Irving gives you the feeling that the Cavaliers can always come back. When he is, as he was last night, at the free throw line shooting a pair to clinch it there’s no doubt he’s making them both. You aren’t as nervous as you used to be when other guys were in that situation. I’m just being honest about that, I’m not trying to put anybody else down to big up Irving. Down 11, in a game where the kid only had 8 points and 6 TO’s heading into the 4th, he gives you the feeling anyways that he can still lead his team all the way back. I’m not sure how he does it, so I asked Pistons Coach Lawrence Frank after the game what he thought about Kyrie’s heroics. Below is our exchange:

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I don’t want to get too carried away on Irving here, but I really don’t think I am. He just keeps doing this. Over, and over, and over again. For three quarters, he basically had a bad game last night. So even on bad nights, I suppose, he can still score 25-points on 8 of 15 shooting. He can still make all his free throws (6 of 6), and shoot 3 for 4 from three point range as well. He can turn it over 6 times, which isn’t good, but in response to that he can also rally for 8 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. He scored 17 points in the 4th quarter. There is no denying that this kid is good. There is no waiting for the day he develops. He’s a star now. His Cavs also have the 9th best record in the East this morning too, and I’m not putting anything past Kyrie Irving at this point.

Alonzo Gee balled completely out in that fourth quarter alongside Irving too. He hit one three pointer in the 3rd quarter, and that was all he previously scored for the game heading into the 4th. He finished with 16 points though, and combined with Kyrie to score 30-points in a final periord that erased an 11-point Pistons advantage. He also grabbed 11 rebounds on the night, dished out 3 assists, and made 5 of his 11 shots from the field in 25 minutes to finish with that 16-point, 11-rebound double-double. After the game, Alonzo said, “Kyrie’s been unbelievable, and I just fed off his energy. He helped the team win, he made big plays for us, and made shots easy for us.” On all accounts, he was accurate.

Hornets come to the Q tonight as the Cavaliers look for their first 3-game winning streak since November 9th, 2010. I just looked it up. The Cavaliers haven’t won three straight since the 5th-6th-7th game of last season (2010-2011). The Hornets are 7-25 awful too. No Eric Gordon this season basically for the team Chris Paul used to play for, and Greivis Vasquez will be lined up opposite Kyrie Irving tonight. This could have the makings of another epic explosion from the Cavs rookie again tonight, no offense to Greivis. #StayTuned.

Brendan Bowers

About Brendan Bowers

I am the founding editor of StepienRules.com. I am also a content strategist and social media manager with Electronic Merchant Systems in Cleveland. My work has been published in SLAM Magazine, KICKS Magazine, The Locker Room Magazine, Cleveland.com, BleacherReport.com, InsideFacebook.com and elsewhere. I've also written a lot of articles that have been published here.

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