The Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Washington Wizards by the score of 94-84 on Tuesday, October 30. With the win the Cavaliers improve to 1-0 on the year while the Wizards fall to 0-1.
The top performer for the Wizards was Trevor Ariza who shot 3-8 from the field for nine points while picking up three rebounds and four assists. Cleveland's top performer was Anderson Varejao who picked up nine points while shooting 3-7 from the field and scored a career-high 23 rebounds and nine assists.
Kyrie Irving assumes leadership role
Entering his second NBA season, Kyrie Irving no longer has the title of "rookie" to fall back on. It was not as if he ever needed it anyway. While Anderson Varejao may be the seasoned veteran on the team, Irving is the undisputed leader. That role was never more apparent than when he gathered the team at center court before opening tip-off to thank the Cleveland fans for their support. It was a classy move as well proof that the Cavaliers are his team.
On the court, Irving was good for 29 points, six rebounds, and three assists on the night. He shot a solid 11-20 from the field including 3-6 from behind the arch and 4-5 from the free-throw line. It was the type of game that says "sure I won Rookie of the Year last season, but this season I am an All-Star!"
Welcome to Cleveland Dion Waiters! The rookie shooting guard could not have asked for a better debut than scoring 17 points and collecting three steals on the night. More importantly, he kept the defense occupied allowing Irving to do what he does best--score.
One of the key matchups of the night was Waiters versus fellow rookie Bradley Beal. Beal was selected with the draft pick prior to Waiters, and it was widely known Beal was a favorite of the Cavaliers as well as the fans. None of that mattered during the contest as Waiters clearly outplayed his competitor.
Beal was held to just eight points and a trio of rebounds and assists. It was not bad, but it was not impressive either. Clearly the Cavaliers had the better player amongst the two.
Waiters also should have won over some fans with a highlight-reel worthy steal-and-dunk off Beal in the third quarter. It was a spectacular play that immediately got the crowd fired up.
"Bigs" were incredible
Anderson Varejao scored a career-high 23 rebounds, along with nine points and nine assists while Tristan Thompson added 12 points, 10 rebounds and five assists on the night. The pair was responsible for 33 of the Cavaliers 54 rebounds on the night. Washington as a team netted just 39 rebounds.
Varejao did one of two things; he either proved his importance to the Cavaliers' squad or greatly improved his trade value if the plan is to move him sometime this season. Thompson proved his hard work in the off-season has paid off as he dominated the opposition on defense while looking solid offensively. Simply put, both players impressed.
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Paul Rados is an avid Cleveland Cavaliers fan and a Featured Contributor for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @PSRados.
- Sports & Recreation
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Washington Wizards
- Anderson Varejao
- Kyrie Irving
- Dion Waiters
- Bradley Beal