August 26, 2014

Cavaliers Look to Shake Off Rough Weekend with First West Coast Game of the Season

(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

It was a rough weekend for the Cleveland Cavaliers, as they dropped both of their games Friday and Saturday night.

The Cavaliers showed us two very different types of losses, though. Friday night against Chicago was a reprise of the song we heard so many times last season. The Cavaliers fell behind by 16 in the first quarter and never really appeared too interested in playing and fighting back.

Here’s an example of how bad things were Friday night. With 4:41 left in the 1st, Kyrie Irving hit a 10 foot jumper to pull the Cavaliers to a 19-15 deficit. Here’s how the remaining first quarter possessions for the Cavaliers went:

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ESPN.com: Kyrie Irving Having Better Rookie Season Than LeBron James?

ESPN.com’s Justin Havens has a fascinating article posted in which he uses several statistical measures to show that Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Kyrie Irving is having a better rookie season than Chris Paul or LeBron James had.

The whole article is pretty fascinating, but Havens especially points out what Kyrie Irving might ultimately mean to the Cavaliers organization:

Previous to Irving, the last time the Cavaliers had the first pick in the NBA Draft, they took LeBron James, and we all know how that turned out.

The good news for Cleveland fans is that Irving’s performance as a rookie is on pace to best what James did his first year in Cleveland, outdistancing James in scoring and assists per 36 minutes, as well as Player Efficiency Rating and Win Shares per 48 minutes.

In fact, his current 21.8 PER would place him 11th on the all-time Cavaliers list, not just among rookies, among players with at least 2,000 minutes played.

When you limit it to non-LeBron James seasons, Irving would jump to fifth, trailing only the best seasons for Brad Daugherty, Terrell Brandon and Mark Price.

Obviously the season is still very young and Irving could end up getting hurt or seeing his performance fall back to rookie levels. And truth be told, comparing a rookie in a 66 game schedule to a rookie in an 82 game schedule is never a fair comparison to make.

But still, the numbers are what they are. Through 13 games this year Kyrie Irving has played like a superstar, and he’s only a rookie. The kid is going to get better and the Cavaliers have to feel awfully good about where they sit with Irving today.

[Related: Elias: Kyrie Irving Enters Cavaliers’ Record Books]

Cavaliers Preview Game #72

New Orleans Hornets logoNew Orleans Hornets (48-21) vs
Cleveland Cavaliers (40-31)
Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
7:00 PM EST
FSN OH/WTAM

The Cavaliers are kind of getting close to being healthy. Daniel Gibson is starting to practice and should (hopefully) return to the lineup soon…possibly even for this game. But of course as soon as one is coming back, another one goes down. This time, it’s Ben Wallace’s turn as his back spasms are getting worse and he will likely miss this game. It won’t be an easy one with or without Wallace, as the Cavaliers take on one of the 3 best teams in the league in the New Orleans Hornets. The Hornets feature one of the most exciting players to watch in the entire NBA in Chris Paul. CP3 is playing the point guard position better than perhaps any other PG in the history of the NBA this season. His numbers are through the roof, and the only person with a better PER this year than CP3 is our own LeBron. Hopefully it will be a fun matchup and the Cavaliers can start to find their groove, which is seeming so unattainable these days. [Read more...]