Cavaliers Beat Nets Going Away, Pandemonium Ensues!

Cleveland Cavaliers' Antawn Jamison scores over New Jersey Nets' Kris Humphries during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012, in Cleveland. The Cavaliers won 98-82.Okay maybe pandemonium is overstating things a little bit. However, there was most definitely a positive vibe that could be felt by all as the Quicken Loans faithful poured out onto the street after the Cavs first home win of the season on Sunday.  There was reason for it too, well beyond the fact that the Cavaliers won by a differential of 98-82.

The Cavs fought hard all night long, especially when it mattered most, and at that point in the game midway through the 3rd quarter when they would’ve totally folded last season, they went out and did what needed to be done to secure the victory. Sure, this Nets team might be pretty terrible, but still. A sixteen point win in the NBA is a sixteen point win in the NBA regardless in a lot of respects.

The second unit led the way on this night again too, and that charge was spearheaded by Daniel “Booby” Gibson. He finished with 19 points on 5 of 7 from three, 6 of 12 overall from the field, and I can’t help but wonder if this is the healthiest he’s ever been in his NBA career. I was going to ask him that post-game but I was kinda too far away and didn’t feel like yelling. It seemed like asking a question I already knew the answer too though as well, and I don’t really like when people do that too me so I didn’t ask him. 

In any event though, if you rewind back a couple years, prior to this past one, Gibson battled injuries for most of those two seasons. He went on to have a solid season last year though, and has come out literally on fire to start this 2011-12 campaign too. He’s currently averaging 10 points per game so far, but more important than that Booby is shooting over 50% from the field (14 of 26). If he keeps this up he’s going to continue to make a Cavaliers second unit that outscored the Nets reserves 47-24 on Sunday pretty formidable all season long.

Below is postgame video of Booby talking about his 19 point night and the Cavaliers win:

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To be honest, I can’t help but think about something my friend Joe Lull said during our Cavaliers preview show in that this Cavs team might be building their roster from the bottom up right now.  I don’t care to do the math, but this second unit just dropped 59 on Detroit, and now outscored the Nets reserves by 23 in this most recent win.  That’s gotta rank pretty high in relation to the rest of the League I’d imagine. Maybe Joe has a stat guy at The Fan who can look that up for us, I’ll be sure to ask him about that.

One of the key reasons that second unit is so tough though absolutely has to do with how active Samardo Samuels and Tristan Thompson are when they are on the floor together.  Samardo only went for 3 points, 3 rebounds, and a blocked shot, but he only also shot the ball twice.  The rest of the time he banged away on the Nets front line, and created rebounding lanes that Tristan Thompson cashed in for baskets on multiple occasions.  Thompson finished with 9 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 blocked shots of his own, and those two guys only needed 16 minutes a piece to really make a big impact on the game.

Kyrie Irving had his best home game as a Cavalier so far on Sunday with 13 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists, and while he finished just 5 of 11 from the floor he did illustrate that his jumper is pretty wet when he gets his feet underneath him. He finished 3 of 4 from three point range, and that stroke does look sweet. He certainly needs to become more consistent overall from the floor, but unlike some of these other scoring guards who’ve taken the NBA by storm recently playing the PG position, Kyrie Irving can shoot the three.  You can’t say that about all those guys, or even most of them quite frankly.  That’s a good thing for Cavs fans.

It’s also good that Omri Casspi looked more in sync with his new teammates and new offensive system too on Sunday. Casspi finished with 9 points on only 7 shots, making the only three that he took, and he dished out 4 assists along with grabbing a rebound as well.  He might’ve gotten more shots off too had Antawn Jamison and his old man style driveway runners not been kinda feeling it.  Jamison finished with a game-high plus / minus of +22, going 10 of 15 for 23 points.  So hats off to Antawn.

Hats off to all the Cavaliers in fact.  It’s good to be back to .500, and through these last couple games I really feel like this team doesn’t plan to give up and quit at different points in games where they totally would’ve given up and quit in the past.  That’s what you need when you’re building for the future, and it’s good to see that mentality appears to exist so far.  Makes it fun to watch.

Below is some commentary from Dan Gilbert pregame. I was there, but to be honest I am copying what is below from Jason Lloyd of The Akron Beacon Journal who’s a real cool guy that also transcribed the whole conversation. There’s more, so click on the link above to read it all:

Reaction to your e-mail to Stern getting leaked to Yahoo! Sports:

“The lesson will be when you get off an airplane, check the internet first before you go send off an e-mail. If I would’ve checked, I would’ve seen he made his decision hours before and I wouldn’t have had to send the e-mail. It’s a little disappointing someone would leak a personal e-mail. Owners are always making statements and having opinions between them and always sending things back and forth. It was unusual and shocked to see that in the media. I went to bed at midnight, someone sent me email at 6:20, ‘Hey I saw your e-mail.’ One of you guys, actually. (It was me.) I thought I was having a dream. Unfortunately it wasn’t. The lesson for me was probably not to send out so many e-mails and check things before you send stuff out.

When Kyrie is eligible for free agency, what makes you think he’ll stay:

“The draft picks we have now, as far as the organization goes, we’re here from the beginning. People forget we were not here from the beginning of the previous (LeBron James) era, we came in Year 3. There were two years without us when we weren’t able to establish a foundation and a relationship at the beginning. It’s a whole different thing now and I really think it will be very different when this core of guys comes up for a contract. Who knows exactly who will be here and who won’t based on what happens in the NBA. We keep doing the right things in the organization, we keep making the arena and the franchise a great place for players to play and we start winning, things will take care of themselves.”

Click here to read full transcript from Dan Gilbert pregame 

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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