A twenty-seven point home victory, when Kyrie, Tristan, and Dion combine for 58 points on 78% True Shooting? Thirty-three assists, leading to 57% field goal shooting, with only six turnovers? Holding the opponent to single-digit offensive boards and scoring twenty-three points off their turnovers? Regardless of the foe being the Bobcats, those outcomes impress.
The team started fast, with Kyrie and Dion combining for thirteen points in the first five minutes. Waiters tossed a sweet transition oop to Gee, Tristan threaded an interior dime to Zeller; the starters forged an early 19 to 13 lead. Inspired by the return of The Luke Walton, who pitched in four points, the bench extended the margin to thirteen as the first frame ended.
Early in the second, the subs flexed the ball-movement-heavy offense they now exhibit regularly; for the game, Walton, Livingston, and Ellington combined 14 assists without a turnover. Cleveland lead 43 – 29 when Charlotte called timeout with eight minutes remaining in the half. Tristan Thompson flashed his entire arsenal, scoring thirteen points on a variety of strong post-moves and nifty finishes, as he, Dion and Kyrie combined for 22 points in the final eight minutes of the quarter; Charlotte scored twenty during the full twelve. Cleveland cruised to a 65 to 41 halftime lead.
The dominance continued in quarter three; Tristan hit a hook, Dion scored six in ninety seconds, and Kyrie needled a three-quarter frozen-rope to Zeller for a dunk. Eventually Kyrie nailed three triples in quick succession, the starters began ambling to the bench with over three minutes left, and they never returned. Cleveland led 100 to 67 heading to the fourth.
And then it was garbage time. Everyone got to play and score…except Casspi, who missed both shots; oh Omri. There was a Boobie Gibson sighting; what does his future hold? Byron Mullens padded his stats with ten garbage time points. Anyways, not much to say about the fourth quarter.
Cleveland won walking away, looking like the fearsome juggernaut they have become.
Onto some bullets:
- Cleveland scored their first four points via Kyrie and Dion post-ups. Recently while watching Rodney Stuckey destroy Waiters this route, and also Russ Westbrook create back-to-the-basket, I hope the Cavs do spend some time focusing on this aspect of the game for their young guards. Particularly for Waiters, as strong as he is, this could constitute a minor, yet effective scoring means.
- This was a strong game from Dion. He made his first six shots, including the aforementioned back-down, but also a nice tear-drop floater, and one emphatically dunking drive. He finished with 19 points and 5 assists.
- Kyrie made all five of his three-pointers. Relatively speaking, it was a quiet, highly efficient, team-leading 22 points.
- Marreese Speights finished with 11 & 10, while Ellington added 16 & 5 on 67% true shooting. Jon Leuer posted perfect 100% True Shooting for Memphis tonight though; who wins the trade now?
- Tristan kept making his righty-hook…it’s unstoppable. Later, after a ten-foot push shot, Austin Carr screamed “He’s right-handed! He’s right-handed!” Thompson must have heard him though, because next he hit the left-handed hook. Colin tabulated some back-of-the-napkin math, and extrapolated that TT will average 45 points per game on the 2015 – 2016 champions. I think he forgot to carry a number; it’s got to be 55. Thompson posted 17 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 blocks, while missing only one field goal for the evening.
The Cavs emerged victorious in six of their last nine, and recently surpassed Orlando in the standings. Watch out Toronto; with five straight upcoming home games, we’re gainin’ on ya.