Wednesday, October 31, 2012
The Feed: Washington Wizards vs. Cleveland Cavaliers [10/30/12]
Kyrie Irving and company defeated the Wall-less Wizards 94 to 84 in the first official game of the 2012 - 2013 season. I know it was not the best way to start the NBA off, but this was surprisingly entertaining to watch. For those who missed out on Kyrie Irving in the previous hectic 66 game season, the reigning Rookie of the Year was ready to put on a show. The Wizards had no answers for the sophomore allowing him to finish the game with 29 points. Without John Wall, and Nene, Washington could not buy any offense, relying on Jordan Crawford, which turned out like you would have guessed. The kid jacked up a shot every time he got the ball, scoring 11 points on 13 attempts.
Anderson Varejao put in a near triple-double performance, with 9 points, 9 assists and a ridiculous 23 boards, something no one has ever done in an opener since Wilt chamberlain in 1967. The "Wild Thang," (Yes, that is his actual nickname, I found out today too.) probably broke another record today, drawing two charges in two consecutive possessions against the same player and no, he did not do any flopping except for the curly locks on his magnificent head. His contribution on the offensive glass (12) created multiple offensive opportunities that eventually led his team to victory.
Cleveland was in total control of the entire game, leading every quarter except the fourth, where they blew a 16 point lead. The Cav's second unit were just unable to find points and play defense, they got outscored by the Wiz's bench 46 to 23. It didn't really matter though, once Byron Scott re-inserted his starters, the lead was quickly erased, handing Washington, their first loss of the season.
Cleveland often struggled to score in a half court set, if they don't put a shot up before the opponent's defense are set, they will usually run a pick and roll with the ball handler, who will shoot or attack the basket off the screen. They are most successful with Kyrie and Dion on the floor pushing the pace for a quick bucket.
Majority of the time, Washington, tends to set up in the half court (this is likely not going to become their offensive scheme when John is back, but with A.J. Price as your starting point, somethings had to change). The set they ran the most was a on ball screen, where the ball handler passes to a forward standing on the wing, and cuts through the right side with the help of another 2 screens. The recipient of the ball returns it to the original ball handler who has now on the weak side, where he will either have a shot or a pass to the big man.The Wizards seem to favor an attack on the weak side.
The Cavs traps the ball handler hard when their opponents are setting a screen, this was effective in forcing a few turnovers. However, neither teams played great defensively, Wizards' rotations were horrible, they were either too slow, or late. In the 4th quarter at around the 2 minute mark, Tristan Thompson was left open in the same spot for 3 straight possessions, where he threw down three back-to-back-to-back dunks that were so similar, you would have thought there was a disruption of the TV signal, causing a weird loop.
Dion Waiters simply outplayed Bradley Beal. He has great awareness, taking good shots, making the right plays and oozes confidence. He finished with 17 points in 28 minutes.
Tyler Zeller wasn't really a factor in this game, he did seem nervous to start but managed to get 5 points and 2 boards.
Bradley Beal made a good debut, 8 points, 2/4 from three point within 21 minutes. Wittman should have gave him more opportunities, needs to draw up a few plays for him to be effective as a shooter.