Tristan Thompson told Mike Brown during a game earlier this season that his goal is to get all of the rebounds. On Wednesday night against the Denver Nuggets, Thompson did specifically that by collecting a career-high 21 to go along with 17 points.
He began his rebounding dominance by grabbing nine boards during nine minutes of action in the first quarter.
He would then total 13 punishing rebounds by halftime en route to surpassing his previous high of 17 by game's end. The Cavaliers would beat the Nuggets by 10 points in the process for their sixth win of the season.
In a contest that featured opposing bigs Kenneth Faried, Wilson Chandler, J.J. Hickson, Darrell Arthur and Timofey Mozgov, Thompson was simply a man amongst boys throughout the night.
He combined with Anderson Varejao (18 points, 13 rebounds) and Andrew Bynum (14 points, 7 rebounds) to form a decisive advantage up front while collecting 41 rebounds between the three of them. The Denver Nuggets, meanwhile, finished with 43 as a team.
After the game, Thompson said that he and his teammates knew Denver could run so they made a conscious effort to hit the offensive glass in order to minimize those fastbreak opportunities.
"They're a great fast break team," Thompson said of Denver following Cleveland's 98-88 win. " We knew if we can get offensive rebounds that takes away a strength of their team and myself, Andy, Andrew, everyone rebounded tonight."
Denver had won seven straight games and eight of their last 10 before arriving in Cleveland. The Cavaliers ended that streak, however, by winning back-to-back games for the first time this year.
They also appear to be finding a steady balance up front centered around Andrew Bynum who has averaged 17 points and 8.5 rebounds during his last two games. When Bynum is contributing at that level–with Thompson and Varejao doing what they did on Wednesday–this Cavaliers team is difficult to matchup with.
Especially if Kyrie Irving is leading the way from the perimeter with 23 points while helping to hold All-Star caliber point guards like Ty Lawson to 1-of-13 shooting from the field defensively.
Sergey Karasev Interviews Anderson Varejao Postgame
Sergey Karasev is a player who demands excellence from his teammates. This would be one of the reasons he's consistently referred to as an awesome person by everyone who has ever met him. Tough, mind you, but awesome nonetheless.
Following a game where Anderson Varejao scored 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting to go along with 13 rebounds, Karasev wanted to know why his veteran teammate missed a dunk. So he asked that hard-hitting question after the game.
Karasev pulled out his phone and started interviewing Varejao after the game. Asked Andy: "Mr. Varejao, can you explain missing that dunk"
— Brendan Bowers (@BowersCLE) December 5, 2013
Karasev grabbed his camera phone and asked Varejao the following question: "Mr. Varejao, can you explain missing that dunk?" While I didn't have time to roll tape on Karasev's initial question, I did get Andy's response on the video below.
"What's wrong with your pants?" – Anderson Varejao.
That'll do it, rookie. Point Varejao. Keep being yourself though Sergey because that was classic stuff.
Andre Miller, Trajan Langdon and J.J. Hickson all back in the house
The Cleveland Cavaliers were matched up against former first round picks Andre Miller (4 assists) and J.J. Hickson (15 points, 11 rebounds) on Wednesday night. But beyond those two members of the Denver Nuggets, Trajan Langdon was also in the house. I caught up with Langdon before the game which was pretty fantastic and he looks like he could still come off the Cavaliers bench and knock down a three if needed.
Langdon said he's scouting for the San Antonio Spurs these days which is why he was in Cleveland on Wednesday. We also talked about the SLAM article I interviewed him for way back in 2010 while he was dominating the Euroleague as a member of CSKA Moscow. So it was cool to catch up with the Alaskan Assassin for a minute and it's great that he's still doing good. Once a Cavalier always a Cavalier.
Tristan Thompson Photo Credit: AP Photo/Tony Dejak