PHOENIX 91, CLEVELAND 78
Well, if we can take one positive out of tonight, it’s that Anderson Varejao is amazing. That’s about it. Every other Cavs player mixed whatever good they did with a healthy helping of bad. A few were perhaps quasi-effective, but the individual performances tonight did not add up to a winning team performance. Not even close, in fact. This Cavs-Suns tilt was ugly on both ends of the floor, and it hurts my brain to even attempt to attempt at establishing a narrative for the game other than “Wow, the Cavs without Kyrie suck a little more than the Suns.” As such, I’ll go ahead and talk about the game by way of bullet point.
- Tristan Thomspon wasn’t impressive. Marcin Gortat and Luis Scola are a solid post duo, but they looked like Sampson and Olajuwon when defending Tristan down low. He has no offensive repertoire to speak of. Tigger shot 1-7 from the field for 5 points, and had no blocks or steals. However, I’d like to point out that he shot 3-4 from the free throw line. That’s not bad at all.
- Alonzo Gee was solid. He played some good defense, though that sort of thing is hard to quantify against the Suns, especially in a game like tonight’s- either they were scoring every time down the floor on an array of difficult shots, or they were missing an unconscionable amount of layups and corner threes. But we got the kind of ball we’ve come to both expect and treasure from Alonzo: 3-7 from the field for 12 points, a killer dunk, and a few steals and assists to go along with his constant flight around the floor. All NBA D-League players should take notes from Alonzo on how to make the NBA. The main thing is to play harder than anyone else on the floor.
- Jeremy Pargo played like Donald Sloan. 3-12 for 8 points. 5 points, 5 turnovers. Against Goran Dragic, who isn’t exactly a lock-down defender. He also had 5 fouls, playing the point guard position. How is that even possible? Let’s just move on.
- C.J. Miles straight-up dominated a 35-second stretch of this game, dropping six straight points. Unfortunately, it was the last 35 seconds of the game, and he sucked for the rest of the game. He missed a bunch of jumpers, and didn’t do anything else particularly well. It’s hard to believe that Byron Scott continues to play him over Omri Casspi, who looked at least mildly effective in 13 minutes and hit a couple of shots.
- Anderson Varejao is a monster, 20 points, 18 boards. The fifth straight 15+ rebound game in a row for Andy. He was on fire in the 3rd quarter, when he hit a flurry of mid-range jumpers on his way to 14 in the quarter. Without Wild Thing, the Cavs would have lost this game by 30. At the beginning of the season, I was all for trading Andy. But he’s played himself out of trade talks. There’s nothing of equal value that we could get in return.
-Dion Waiters actually had a decent game, despite another mediocre shooting night (7-20 from the field). He dished out 7 assists, and some of them were beauties. His play-making ability seemed almost Harden-esque at times, as he put the ball on the floor and whipped cross-court passes with ease. When Dion learns how to finish at the rim and hit his jumper regularly, he’ll be a real star in this league.
- Pretty much everyone else on the team sucked. I would love to blame this loss on Luke Walton, but he didn’t play. It was weird to see Tyler Zeller playing for the Suns. Or was that his brother, Luke? I couldn’t tell. Tough loss. Goodnight, folks.