The Cleveland Cavaliers opened their 2012-2013 season with some good news: their 2nd year point guard, and best player, was going to be able to start the game. Though Irving’s status wasn’t quite in question, it was nice to see him healthy after an off season where the 2nd year guard broke his hand and had his wisdom teeth removed.
To add on to the positivity, the Cavaliers also started this season off with a win behind a monster performance from Andersen Varejao. By the end of the 4th quarter, Varejao had racked up 23 rebounds (a career high), flanked by 9 points and 9 assists. He missed a very unique triple double by a free throw and an assist.
“I was like, ‘Whoa, I wish I had a little bit more time,’” he said with a smile.
–Via AP/ Washington Post.
-Rookie Tyler Zeller saw 15 minutes off the bench, collecting 5 points, 2 steals, and a block. Outside of his limited time and numbers, Zeller was moving very well in his first regular season game in the NBA. He showed a knack for positioning himself, ending up with high percentage shots. He also showed a particular comfort level with his mid range shot. Though Tristan Thompson and Andersen Varejao are going to put a low ceiling on Zeller, he looked good in his NBA debut.
-Dion Waiters had a positive showing as well. The rookie out of Syracuse was named a starter and showed why coach Byron Scott in making that call. Amassing 17 points on 6-14 shooting, Waiters had an efficient shooting night. He did turn the ball over 3 times, but also collected 3 steals. Among those 6 made shots were 2 three-pointers, a figure that should become his per game average from three. Byron Scott made it clear that Waiters was going to have to work for his playing time. Hopefully the threat of being benched immediately will continue to spur the rookie guard.
-Kyrie Irving looks to build on a very good rookie year. Tonight’s performance was a great start. After being medically cleared to start tonight’s season opener, Irving had a very good game, putting together an 11-20 performance, to the tune of 29 points. With Washington chucking up 32 three pointers (of which the Wizards would make 8),rebounding opportunities were a-plenty. In that regard, Irving added to his stat sheet with 6 rebounds. and His 0 assists or steals was a statistically anomaly, but little else more.
Mohamed Abdihakim is a journalism student at Florida Atlantic University. He is a Phoenix Suns fan, who is not prepared for the possibility of Nash winning a title in a Lakers jersey. Mohamed is also a contributor at “Les Snobs”. Interests include International basketball, Mad Men, and blues music. Nearly all stats are credited to Hoopdata or Basketball-Reference.
Twitter handle: @Abdi_hakim