The Kyrie Irving Era Keeps Looking Promising, As Cavs Beat Suns

Kyrie Irving has range. He’s not a guy who looks to do just one or two things well on the basketball floor, he plays the whole entire game from the point guard position. He hit from all angles last night too in just his tenth NBA game ever. He pulled up on a dime[s] and connected from three point territory twice, he finished in traffic up at the rim on multiple trips, caught and converted a back-door feed from Anderson Varejao, created shots for others on his way to a team-high 6 assists for the game, and all the while went for a game-high 26 points during 28 minutes of work in the process.

He did all that with Hall of Famer Steve Nash matched-up against him too. A two time NBA MVP who Irving outscored by 10 points in a Cavaliers 101-90 win last night in Phoenix.

Nothing was better than this move from Kyrie though. As soon as it stops snowing here in CLE I plan to practice this one in my driveway later, I’ll let you know how that goes.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=

MCA0SbrnT5U[/youtube]

Nasty. Or maybe Nash-y? Too much. Yeah probably was, my bad on that. I would’ve also liked to get Fred and AC’s call on this play too but this was the only video I found on YouTube this morning. So shout out to Scott Williams as well as NBAGermany2011 on that I guess.

PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 12:  Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives to the basket past Marcin Gortat #4 of the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game at US Airways Center on January 12, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Now I do understand that nobody ever called Steve Nash the Canadian Gary Payton. I get it that he’s not an elite level defender, but that’s not the point. Nor is the point that Steve Nash still did lead his team in scoring (16) and assists (15) with Kyrie Irving guarding him while he’s out there as well – to be fair. The biggest takeaway for Irving here isn’t that, or the fact that he did turn it over 6 times as well, it’s that he can now say to himself I went for 26 and 6, my team won, and I did whatever I wanted to do offensively against the great Steve Nash. #confidence

The same Hall of Fame playing Steve Nash who’s NBA career spanned Kyrie Irving’s entrie life basically. Nash has been in the game fifteen plus right now, and Kyrie Irving has been on the planet for nineteen.

As far as the rest of the game was concerned, the Cavaliers certainly did capitalize on that second chance scoring thing where Phoenix was giving up more offensive rebounds than any team in the League coming in (13.7). As a team, Cavs grabbed 15 offensive boards (stat will get worse now for PHO), and outrebounded the Suns overall by a margin of eight (47-39).  Main reason for that was Anderson Varejao, who continued to play like a man possessed again last night. 

PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 12:  Anderson Varejao #17 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrates with teammates after scoring against the Phoenix Suns during the final moments of the NBA game at US Airways Center on January 12, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Cavaliers defeated the Suns 101-90.
Anderson dominated the glass. He had 7 offensive rebounds (allowing the Cavaliers the second chance opportunity to score around 14 more points and Cavs won by 11) on his own, and he finished with as many defensive rebounds as the Suns leading rebounder had for the game in total. Marcin Gortat was that guy for Phoenix, he had 10. Varejao grabbed a total of 17. He scored 8 points, had that assist on that backdoor play to Irving, a steal, a blocked shot, and he finished with a plus / minus of (+ 15).

The guy who finished with the highest plus / minus for the Cavaliers is also the guy who finished with the most shots and points too. During the first quarter Antawn Jamison was on a pace where he had attempted 6 shots in 7 minutes, as well as then 9 shots in 9 minutes, but he kinda settled down a little bit from there. For him at least, maybe his wrist was getting tired. In any event, Jamison did score 23 points (10 – 22 from field) and he also did grab 4 rebounds as well. Somebody has to score, and Antawn is certainly willing to be that guy. The shots that did fall for him last night were huge too. 

On the win, the Cavs now move to 5-5 for the season, and I can tell you that I do not care about anything next summer right now so do not talk to me about that. I specifically enjoy the idea of watching a Cavs game right now and being confident in the fact that they will at least compete. It’s also becoming reasonable to expect that we’ll see a few highlights during the time we spend watching these Cavaliers as well, so I’m just going to roll with that for the moment.

Now I wasn’t too encouraged by Semih Erden fouling out in 12 minutes with 0 points while Samardo couldn’t get in, I’m getting a little worried about my man Ramon Sessions’ jumper (1-7 last night) after all that progress we were talking about, and I’m not sure what Tristan Thompson (7 points, 6 rebounds) has to do in order to play more than 14 minutes, but I plan to worry about all that later too.  

The Cavaliers tip things off against Coach Mike Brown and the Los Angeles Lakers tonight! In my head it sounded like a talk show host making that announcement as I typed out that part about tonight’s game. That was why I used the exclamation point. In any event, here’s hoping the Cavs can win again by double figures tonight (all five games the Cavaliers have won have been by double digit margins) and get above the .500 mark with the first signature win of Kyrie Irving Era.

I previously thought it was impossible to beat the Lakers tonight, but that spin move kinda changed my mind on a lot of things. 

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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