The score was 42-16, early second quarter. At that moment, I very well may have been the cockiest Cavaliers fan on the planet. Anderson Varejao was going to the All-Star game, I tweeted. Cleveland was obviously far superior to all things Phoenix, Arizona. The only thing the Suns had going for themselves was how they scripted that reversible logo at half-court.
I was looking around the bar hoping to see a Suns fan. Better yet, I was hoping they’d see me and become ferociously jealous about how awesome it must be to root for a team who just scored 37 points in the first quarter. By the time my man Bassy Tellfair was dribbling figure eights for 24 straight seconds to run out the clock, however, I was glad I never bumped into those Suns fans.
The Cavaliers followed up looking very, very good though by looking very, very bad on Friday. The breaking point was when Kyrie Irving and Anderson Varejao sat resting to start the fourth quarter. Sitting those two guys at the same time is equivalent to spotting the other team points. In this particular example, the Suns went on an 11-2 run to start the quarter. They took an 87-85 lead as a result and were on their way to completing their biggest home comeback in franchise history.
The reasons the Cavs gave up the lead include the following: Suns bench outscored Cavs bench 47-26; CJ Miles went 0-7 from the field on the night for a game worst +/- of -10; Kyrie Irving turned the ball over at the uncharacteristically high rate of 7 times; Shannon Brown and Sebastian Telfair combined to score 35 points on 12 of 19 shooting; Cavs only had seven players score in total on the game; Kyrie’s last second shot rimmed out; youth, inexperience and growing pains.
How about Dion Waiters, though?
Dion Waiters was the Cavaliers leading scorer last night. He finished with an efficient 23 points on 9 of 13 from the field in 31 minutes.
He had a hand in allowing the Suns backcourt of Goran Dragic, Jared Dudley, Sebastian Telfair and Shannon Brown to combine for 69 points, and that’s not good, but he’s been pretty spectacular scoring the basketball lately. One step at a time.
Through six games, Waiters is averaging 16.7 points per game on 13 shot attempts per night. Not to be that guy, but I predicted that Waiters would score 16 points on 14 shots per game back on October 5th and I’m feeling pretty good about that right now.
I would definitely like to see him get more involved in the assists (2.5) and rebounds (1.7) department, but that will eventually happen. I had him at 3.8 assists per game anyways, so we’re almost there. The biggest area of improvement is rebounding, where I do continue to believe he should be able to grab at least 5 per night.
Scoring wise though, Waiters has been electric at times looking like a superstar. He’s scored 20+ twice now, adding this 23-point night to end the week to the 28-point outing he had on Monday to start it.
The Top-3 Rookie of the Year candidates include Dion Waiters at the moment. And I know it’s only six games, but being in the ROY race after six games is still better than not being in it.
Next up for Cavaliers is the James Harden-less Thunder on Sunday.