Cleveland Cavaliers Need Unselfish and Gutsy Play to Continue
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The Cleveland Cavaliers season-opening win over the Nets Wednesday was a testament to tenacity, defense and teamwork. It's the same doggedness they need to keep throughout the rest of the season.
This Cleveland team may be one of the youngest lineups in the NBA, but their workman-like style and unselfish play were enough to overtake the veteran Nets.
“It was a gritty, grimy, ugly game, just how I like it and it was fun. I think our guys enjoyed it." Coach Mike Brown said during his post-game interview via Cavs.com.
This is a different team than last year and not just because of the roster.
Coach Brown is preaching defense and rebounding. And the big guys get it.
The proof is the fact that the leading scorer Wednesday was Tristan Thompson with 18 points. Anderson Varejao was the leading scorer in the fourth quarter with seven including the basket that gave the Cavs the 93-91 lead with 28 seconds left.
Coach Brown said:
"The big thing that was consistent was our ability to defend and to rebound. (Brooklyn) is a big team. That’s an experienced team. They shot 40 percent from the floor and had nine offense rebounds. That’s pretty good. That’s a great job by all of our guys, collectively, because if you look down the line, we had a lot of guys in the rebounding area."
One game into the season and Kyrie Irving is showing a more workman-like attitude.
Irving played scrappy against the Nets spending more time on the floor than usual. Literally. Whether he was fighting for a loose ball or trying to dribble his way out of trouble, nothing was coming easy for him. But he never let up. He ended the evening with 15 hard-earned points and seven rebounds.
The much-anticipated debut of Andrew Bynum made a difference too. Even if it was only seven minutes.
Bynum's presence on the court was a factor. In that small window of time, the Cavs outscored the Nets 19-11. As the season continues and Bynum is given more time, he should be a serious force to contend with around the basket and give the Cavs the stimulus they need.
Expectations were high for the Cavaliers before the season began. If they are able to continue to recognize their individual strengths yet still play in an unselfish manner, this could be a season where the team exceeds expectations.
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