Recap: Cavs 101, Suns 90

January 12th, 2012 by Colin McGowan

The Cavs defeated the Suns 101 to 90 in a game that, after the first half, never really felt winnable for Phoenix.

–Kyrie Irving put on a vintage Spectacular Rookie Performance. “Spectacular” because he rattled off 26 points on 11-17 shooting, and took the game over for a five-minute stretch during the second quarter, using every weapon in his offensive repertoire: a pair of threes, a crafty 18-foot pull-up, a baseline jumper off the dribble, and a slick spin move toward the rim. “Rookie” because he turned the ball over 6 times and couldn’t stay in front of his opposite number, Steve Nash, who posted 16 points and 15 assists. “Performance” because he is a thespian at heart.

–I’ve seen enough of Irving that I’m no longer worried whether or not he’s going to be good. I’m now preparing to spend the next three years figuring out if his ceiling is Borderline All-Star or Slightly Less Wealthy Man’s Chris Paul. Either way, he’s going to be a lot of fun to watch. His offensive game—especially in terms of putting points on the board—is surprisingly polished for a guy who doesn’t turn 20 until March. I think he’s having trouble adjusting to the superior athleticism of the NBA, which is why he sometimes throws a pass a half-second too late into a clogged lane or allows his counterpart to blow by him on the defensive end, but once he adapts to playing against NBA-caliber athletes every night, look out.

–Andy Varejao pulled down 15 boards tonight, and drew a couple of offensive fouls on D. Sadly, in an upset, he was out Horrible Hair-ed by Robin Lopez.

–I would say I’m concerned about Omri Casspi, but I’m not sure I care? I just look at Casspi’s box score every night, go “Oh, he sucked again,” and move on to Antawn Jamison’s J.R. Smithian shot totals. Casspi wasn’t a disaster tonight (6 points on 3-7 shooting), but I assume Alonzo Gee’s going to replace him in the starting lineup pretty soon, since Gee’s been as blandly effective as Casspi has been ineffective.

–TT tried hard. He hit a really tough shot in the lane early in the fourth quarter. I don’t remember anything else, but apparently he grabbed 6 boards in 15 minutes. Also, he’s not allowed to take another one of those step-back 15-footers he tried in the second period before he practices it another 5,000 times in the gym.

–Ramon Sessions was awful (1-7 and 3 TOs), but he was due for a bad game. I still think he’s an excellent backup point guard, and the only guy on the second unit who can dependably create his own shot (no, I’m not counting Gee). If he’s content with his role as a change-of-pace scorer off the bench, I would like to see the Cavs keep him going forward.

–The Suns are depressing. They were the most fun team in the league from 2003-09, and now they’re just Nash, Jared Dudley, Markieff Morris (who looked good), and a bunch of overpaid role players. Can we get Nash and JMZ onto a contender, please? Preferably together? It’s breaking my heart.

The Cavs are now 5-5, and they travel to the Staples Center to take on the Lakers tomorrow night. $20 says Semih Erden fouls out in 10 minutes or fewer in that game.