Wednesday, October 29

Thoughts on Cavs Season Opener

With a fourth quarter eerily similar to game seven against Boston in last season's Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Cavs fell to the Boston Celtics 90-85 in the opener Tuesday night.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports jumped on the opportunity to write, once again, about James bolting from Cleveland in 2010. I'd like to rip Adrian for writing an article that's already been overdone, but I know this commentary is only one of about six-thousand that we'll see between now and June. I won't waste my time.

Cavs forums are also coming to life after the long summer layoff. Opinions are mixed -- some fans are blaming Mike Brown, others are blaming LeBron James. However, even with the loss there are more positives to take away from this game than negatives.

Positive - The score was close
Last season Boston was 2nd in the NBA in opponent points per game, and first in opponents field goal percentage. This is by no means a moral victory, but Boston is arguably the league's best defensive team, and the Cavs gave them all they could handle on opening night. Neither team particularly stood out, Boston simply hit a couple more shots than the Cavs in the 2nd half. Move the game to Cleveland and the result may have been reversed.

Positive - Cavs defense showed up
Boston averaged 100.5 points per game last season. On an emotional night, the Cavs held the Celtics to just 90 points. I would be thrilled with that effort every single night out of this team.

Positive - Anderson Varejao
The stat line for Varejao does not tell the whole story, although nine points, nine boards and three steals in 26 minutes is pretty solid. With defense and hustle, he single-handedly kept the Cavs in this game when the Celtics were trying to pull away in the fourth quarter. I cannot see Ferry trading Varejao if he has more games like this than not.

Positive - Starting guards
Mo Williams was three for five from beyond the arc but only dished out two dimes. Likewise, Delonte West had six points in 35 minutes. Both were effective, but finished well below their career averages. Still, they showed flashes of brilliance in this game and will only get better as the season progresses.

Positive - LeBron James
The Cavs still have the best player in the world.

Negative - LeBron still thinks he can shoot the three
Gibson, Williams, Szczerbiak, and even Pavlovic would own James in a three-point shootout. So why was James hoisting threes down the stretch in a close game? It's time to trust those teammates.

Negative - Free throw shooting
Why can't the best player in the world make free throws during crunch time?

Ok, so there were some negatives. Boston walked away with the victory of course, but just like last season when LeBron dropped 45-7-7 on the Knicks after struggling in the opener against Dallas, I expect the Cavs to take this loss out on Charlotte at The Q Thursday night. Cavs by 1,633 points!

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