Grades for Cleveland Cavaliers' 94-84 Opening Night Win over Washington Wizards

Greg SwartzCleveland Cavaliers Lead WriterOctober 31, 2012

Oct 30, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (left) and shooting guard Dion Waiters (3) celebrate in the fourth quarter against the Washington Wizards at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE
David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

One game.  One win.

For now, all is well in Cavalier land.

The Cavs enjoyed a solid win over the Wizards on Tuesday night, thanks mainly to Kyrie Irving and Anderson Varejao.

The Wizards were without John Wall and Nene, yes, but still are a much improved team from last season with the additions of Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor.

What positions did the best, which earned a passing grade and which could use a lot more work?

Let's take a look at opening night grades for the Cavs.


Small Forward: C-

The worst position of the night for Cleveland with Alonzo Gee starting and C.J. Miles backing him up.

Gee wasn't much of a force on offense with his 2-9 shooting from the floor, but I thought he played a nice defensive game and was almost always pressuring his man.  Racking up two steals on the night, the Cavs need Gee to be a strong defender, especially with LeBron James, Danny Granger, Carmelo Anthony and others at small forward in the East.

Miles will be a solid scorer off the bench this season, but he just couldn't get it going.  He has to improve on his two points on 1-5 shooting in 18 minutes, though.


Power Forward: C+

It was a tale of two talents, with Tristan Thompson and Luke Walton logging time at the 4 spot.

Thompson looked strong.  Like the days when Drew Gooden played for the Cavs, he lives off of his hustle and not on plays called for him.

12 points, 10 rebounds and five assists is a very strong game for the second-year forward, and one he can hopefully maintain.

I was shocked Walton was even dressed for the game.  Playing both forward positions, the Cavs were -11 when he was on the floor.  Why exactly is he getting playing time over Samardo Samuels, Jon Leuer and Omri Casspi?


Shooting Guard: B+

Chris Grant, you sly devil you.

Round one of Dion Waiters vs. Bradley Beal went to Waiters and the Cavs, despite what most draft experts would have predicted.

The No. 4 and No. 3 overall picks in the 2012 draft, respectively, Waiters had the better game with 17 points and three steals in 28 minutes.

Daniel Gibson was solid off the bench, scoring 10 points in 16 minutes.  A healthy Gibson would mean wonders for the Cavs this season.



Point Guard: B+

Uncle Drew is back!

Both on the court and in a new commercial, Irving reminded us how special he is, as if anyone actually forgot.

With a team-high 29 points on 11-20 shooting, the Cavs were +23 with their star point guard on the floor.

When Donald Sloan came in, the offense sputtered.

Sloan himself showed a nice ability to get to the basket but didn't do much facilitating and finished with only one assist.  The difference from the starters and reserves was glaringly obvious.


Center: A

It was the Andy V show on Tuesday night, starring the Brazilian horse himself.

With a career-high 23 rebounds, Varejao abused the Wizards big men with his work on the glass.  Nine points and nine assists didn't hurt either.

Tyler Zeller was solid but unspectacular.  In 15 minutes the rookie registered five points and two rebounds.  He and Miles were the only two reserves who had a positive court rating.


Overall Team Grade: B

The Cavs were in control for most of the game except for a late game lapse when both Irving and Varejao were on the bench.

For the first game of the season, the young Cavs didn't look half bad.  With the Bulls coming into town on Friday and a western road trip coming up, time will tell if Cleveland can maintain their early success.