The NBA: Look at Those Cavs

Dion Waiters exploded for 28 points as the
Cavs clipped the Clippers.
(image by Gus Ruelas/AP)
For one game, Coach Byron Scott saw just how good his young and brash Cleveland Cavaliers could be.

"I thought they came of age the last game, and they're just getting better," Scott said after the big win over the star-studded Clips.

Last year’s top pick and Rookie of the Year, Kyrie Irving, surpassed the 20-point mark for the third time in the Cavs’ first four outings. He scored 24 points and added 10 assists for his first double-double of the season. He outplayed one of the best point guards in all of basketball – Chris Paul, who netted 18 markers and 9 dimes.

Still, Irving had higher praises for one other Cavalier – his teammate and the team’s top rookie this season, Dion Waiters.

"It was awesome playing with the whole team, but when you have someone going like that, you just sit back and watch," said Irving of his new backcourt bud.

So just how well did Waiters, the fourth pick overall this year, go?

The rookie out of Syracuse dropped 28 big ones on the Clippers. He shot 10-of-17 from the field, including 7-of-11 from beyond the arc. Waiters did little beyond scoring and hitting treys, but he didn’t have to be an all-around dynamo anyway.

Many of the other Cavs did their part here, too. Veteran center Anderson Varejao continued his resurgence, recording his second double-double in a row with 15 points and 15 rebounds to go along with 3 steals and a block. Another Cavs rookie, Tyler Zeller, also contributed heavily. The former Tar Heel put up 15 points and 7 boards before leaving the game in the fourth because of an elbow to his face. Former Jazz player CJ Miles came off the pine to score 10 points in 14 minutes.

The win itself is impressive, but when one considers that this was a ROAD win over a team that was fresh from beating the Lakers, then things are bound to get magnified a little bit.

Don’t get me wrong. I doubt the Cavs will be world-beaters this season. I doubt they’ll make the Playoffs even considering how shallow the field out East is. I doubt they’ll come out with more wins than losses in their current 6-game road tour (this was their third game of the six).

There is still a lot of room for doubt with this young and upstart squad.

But there’s also a lot of promise, and Coach Scott saw that in this game.

If he can find a way to harness that potential and make the Cavs play at a high level with relative consistency, then anything can happen.

Maybe they can even meet LeBron somewhere down the road and make him eat humble pie.

Now THAT would be awesome, too.

Game Recaps (courtesy of the Sports Network):
New York 110, Philadelphia 88
Carmelo Anthony poured in a game-high 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds on Monday to help the New York Knicks complete a sweep of a home-and-home against the Philadelphia 76ers with a 110-88 victory at the Wells Fargo Center. J.R. Smith followed with 17 points, seven boards and five assists, while Raymond Felton donated 16 points and eight assists for the Knicks, who are off to their best start since winning three in a row to begin the 1999-00 season. Jrue Holiday paced the Sixers with 17 points and eight assists and Thaddeus Young recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 boards for Philadelphia, which was coming off a 100-84 loss at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.

Minnesota 107, Brooklyn 96
Chase Budinger scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half as the Minnesota Timberwolves handed the Brooklyn Nets their first loss at the Barclays Center with a 107-96 come-from-behind victory. Nikola Pekovic poured in a game-high 21 points, while Andrei Kirilenko recorded 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists to help the Timberwolves overcome a 22-point third-quarter deficit and improve to 2-1 without injured stars Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio. Minnesota outscored the Nets by a whopping 58-25 margin over the final 20 minutes and finished the game on an 11-0 run to spoil Brooklyn's second regular-season game at its brand new facility.

Nikola Pekovic's 21 points led the
T-Wolves past the Nets.
(image by Frank Franklin II/AP)

Miami 124, Phoenix 99
LeBron James scored 23 points and pulled down 11 rebounds and Dwyane Wade poured in 22 points and six assists to lead the Miami Heat to a 124-99 wire-to-wire demolishing of the Phoenix Suns on Monday. Chris Bosh added 18 points -- all in the first half -- and Ray Allen added 15 points, six assists and six rebounds off the bench for the Heat, who have scored at least 119 points in all three of their victories this season. Shannon Brown scored a team-high 18 points and Luis Scola added 15 points and eight rebounds for the Suns, who have dropped two in a row. Marcin Gortat had a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds and Goran Dragic scored 13 points and dished out nine assists in the setback.

Memphis 103, Utah 94
Behind Marc Gasol's game-high 22 points and Zach Randolph's double-double, the Memphis Grizzlies prevailed over the Utah Jazz, 103-94, at FedEx Forum on Monday. Gasol connected on 6-of-11 shots and made all 10 of his free throw attempts, while Randolph poured in 16 points and grabbed 18 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who have won a franchise-record 12 straight games at home dating back to last year. Mike Conley added 16 points and Quincy Pondexter followed with 14 off the bench. Rudy Gay had a rough shooting night, converting just 3-of-17 shots, but finished with 15 points for Memphis, which strung together back-to- back wins after defeating the Warriors on Friday.

Zach Randolph flashes a big smile as the
Grizz trip up the Jazz.
(image by Joe Murphy/Getty Images)

Dallas 114, Portland 91
After scoring 30 points on Saturday, O.J. Mayo came back to pour in a game-high 32 points, leading the Dallas Mavericks to a 114-91 win over the Portland Trailblazers on Monday. Chris Kaman chipped in with 16 points off the bench and Darren Collison posted a double-double with 14 points and 13 assists for the Mavericks, winners in two straight, and three of their first four. LaMarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews each dropped in 20 points and Nicolas Batum chipped in with 14 points for the Trailblazers, who have alternated wins and losses in their first four games. Rookie Damian Lillard had scored at least 20 points in his first three NBA games, but posted just 13 in the setback.

San Antonio 101, Indiana 79
Gary Neal scored 17 points and the San Antonio Spurs remained undefeated with a 101-79 victory over the Indiana Pacers. Tim Duncan and DeJuan Blair each had 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Spurs, who are off to a 4-0 start for the first time in franchise history. Stephen Jackson and Danny Green added 12 and 10 points, respectively. George Hill and Paul George ended with 15 and 14 points, respectively, for the Pacers, who fell to 2-2 on the young season. David West donated 10 points and 11 boards.

Sacramento 94, Golden State 92
Stephen Curry's final desperation heave bounced off the back rim, and the Sacramento Kings held on to a 94-92 victory over the Golden State Warriors at home to capture their first win of the season. The Kings nearly squandered an eight-point lead with just over three minutes to play, but Klay Thompson and Curry each missed go-ahead shots with less than five seconds remaining to give the Kings a victory in their home opener. DeMarcus Cousins paced all scorers with 23 points and 15 rebounds. Marcus Thornton and Aaron Brooks scored 16 and 12, respectively, off the bench for the Kings, who had lost their first three games. Thompson scored a team-high 22 points and grabbed seven boards in the loss. David Lee poured in 20 points and Curry added 12 points with eight assists.

Cleveland 108, LA Clippers 101
Rookie Dion Waiters made seven 3-pointers en route to 28 points, as the Cleveland Cavaliers took down the Los Angeles Clippers, 108-101. Kyrie Irving added 24 points and 10 assists for the Cavaliers, who have won 11 of the past 12 meetings with the Clippers. Anderson Varejao had 15 points and 15 rebounds. Blake Griffin ended with 20 points and six boards for the Clippers, who have lost two in a row. Jamal Crawford donated 19 points and Chris Paul added 17 points and nine assists.

Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters celebrate as the
Cavaliers level their slate at 2-2.
(image by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

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