What We Learned: Cavs vs Grizzlies

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statesman.com
statesman.com

The Cavs had an impressive 105-91 win Sunday night against a very good Memphis Grizzlies team. Cleveland did an impressive job of controlling the game, and did not let Memphis have a lead at any time. Here are some things that we learned from the game.

Zach Randolph and Tony Allen not playing for the Grizzlies doesn’t take anything away from this win. The Grizzlies are a good team, and good teams find ways to overcome injuries. No team in the NBA is completely healthy at this point of the season, and the good teams are the ones that overcome those injuries. The Cavs were the better team Sunday night. It’s as simple as that.

The Cavs can hold a lead throughout the whole game. Memphis never tied the game or took the lead at any point of the entire 48 minutes. The Cavs have gotten off to big leads in the past, it’s good to see them jump out to a lead and finally keep it.

The Cavs showed us that they have the ability to compete with any team. Yes the Cavs need depth on the bench and a new big down low, but that doesn’t take away from what the Cavs have here now. They have the core roster to make a deep run in the playoffs. I can’t wait to see what additions the Cavs’ front office brings in.

Starting Miller helps the whole team, especially Marion. Miller didn’t have a point in Sunday’s win, but his presence was still felt on the offense. Defenses are forced to respect his shooting range, and that opens up the floor for other scorers. That’s something Marion doesn’t necessarily bring to the table. Marion has also embraced coming off the bench. He had another productive game on Sunday. He finished the game with 11 points and 5 rebounds. His versatility is another thing that can be utilized more effectively when he plays with the second unit.

Marion can actually dunk. I thought those days were past him. But the Matrix still has his hops.

Kyrie Irving may be out of his slump. He had 17 points on 8/13 shooting and 12 assists. Irving proved that he can be a playmaker for one of the first times this year. It’s refreshing to see him share the ball with the offense, usually he leaves that to LeBron. He was also able to drive to the basket on Memphis’ giant interior defense. If Kyrie can share the ball like he did tonight on a consistent basis, he can become the best point guard in the East. He is only 22, the sky is the limit.

The Cavs showed us the importance of ball movement. The Cavs were able to beat Memphis’ stout defense with great ball movement and smart shot selection. They finished the game with 34 assists and shot 64% from the floor.

LeBron can find ways to score, while being the main playmaker. LeBron finished the game with 25 points and 11 assists. His game has matured to the point where he doesn’t have to go out there and find ways to score, he lets the scoring opportunities come to him.

Varejao can hold his own offensively against Marc Gasol. He finished the game with 18 points while shooting 9/12 from the field. He was able to spark the Cavs offense during offensive lulls in the 2nd and 3rd quarter.

The Cavs did not have an answer on defense for Marc Gasol. The Cavs could use another interior defender. But on the other hand, Gasol has dominated nearly every big he’s played this year.

You can’t trade Dion Waiters. Waiters carried the Cavaliers to victory in the 4th quarter. He finished the game with 21 points, and 13 of those were in the final 12 minutes. Every title contender needs a 6th man that can score and carry the offense through droughts and Waiters certainly did that Sunday night. We just need to see Waiters have games like this on a consistent basis. He has the skills necessary to be a great 6th man; it’s just time to see him show them off more consistently.

@CST_JacksonF

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