Kyrie Irving was a late scratch last night due concussion-like systems sustained when his head banged into an opposing Heat players knee on Tuesday. He participated in shoot-around, but was later diagnosed with a concussion by team doctors and didn't play. You already knew that though. If you followed me on Twitter, you also knew I was more bummed out than an adult my age should've been about something like that too. During the day on Wednesday, I became exceedingly gassed up by my anticipation of Irving's first ever match-up with Chris Paul. That'll have to wait until next season though.
After then thinking aloud that the only thing that could make up for Kyrie's absence for me would be Christian Eyenga treating Blake Griffin like Kendrick Perkins on a Skyenga-style dunk, I ended up being more than pleasantly surprised by what actually transpired. The Cavaliers earned themselves the type of 99-92 win over a quality team like the Clippers that play-off caliber teams do. With their best player sidelined, and their All Star Center playing his way through some serious collisions.
Coach Vinnie Del Negro was pretty upset with his Clippers effort following the game, but in truth they didn't play horrible. Blake Griffin went for 25 and 15, Chris Paul went for 16 points and 12 assists, Caron Butler scored 21, and Randy Foye added 15 starting in the place of Chauncey Billups. The reason the Cavaliers did end up winning actually had more to do with the Cavs themselves in my opinion. Specifically Ramon Sessions, Antawn Jamison, and Daniel Gibson. In no particular order really, but also kind of in that order too at the same time.
Sessions was spectacular. I don't think I'm using that word for effect, I think he earned that. 24 points and 13 assist performances, starting opposite Chris Paul in 39 minutes of work, deserves that type of description. He was a beast on Wednesday, and so was Antawn Jamison. With his ex-Wizards teammate Caron Bulter on the floor, Jamison looked more charged up than he usual does. The game was admittedly "chippy" according to Coach Scott afterwards, and Jamison clawed his way to a game high 27-points, to go along with 8 rebounds and 3 (!!!) assists. Every one of the shots Antawn hit were huge too.
The same can be said about Daniel Gibson as well, in his first game back from a neck infection. Booby hit two extremely clutch threes, and finished with 17 points on 6 of 11 shooting starting in place of the still injured Anthony Parker. His plus minus number of +11 in 35 minutes was bested by nobody.
As I mentioned before, it's team wins like this with Irving out that make you kinda think that when Byron Scott talks about contending for a playoff spot this season he isn't just that lobbing stuff out there. He's serious. As is he serious about the need for Christian Eyenga to focus on the defensive end of the floor first when he's out there. Something Skyenga did during his 16 minutes of work on Tuesday, while coming off the bench to block 2 shots, and also finishing 2 of 3 from the floor for 6 points as well.
The win moved the Cavaliers to 10-14 overall, and they're technically a half game behind Milwaukee for the 8th playoff spot out East right now.
Before the game I caught up with Tristan Thompson after being named to the Rookie-Sophomore Challenge earlier in the day, along with Kyrie, and I'll have that video later on in the afternoon. Below is the post-game interview I did with Antawn following the win, and also a play-by-play of how nervous I got when said interview unexpectedly became surrounded by every media member and each camera covering the game last night.
My postgame interview with Antawn Jamison:
Every single media member covering Wednesday night's game had Ramon Sessions surrounded over by his locker following his brilliant performance against the Clippers. There was more media there than usual, with CP3 and the Blake Show in town, and I didn't feel like negotiating my way through that crowd.
I saw Antawn Jamison standing over by his locker, and I thought I'd be slick. I walked over for what I thought would be a couple minute Q + A, just me and Tawn, and we'd wrap up before Sessions stopped talking. Perfect. Than I'd roll out the same way I came in, totally under the radar.
I walked up to the guy who just went for 27 and 8, and we started talking. First question, just me and Jamison. By the time he had finished answering that question though, I noticed just over twenty media members standing directly behind me. There were about four tv cameras, some lighting was now being directed over my head at Jamison, and I became pretty self-conscious. That same crowd of everybody previously surrounding Ramon Sessions, was now all standing around Antawn Jamison. And me.
After my first question, I kind of hoped somebody else would chime in, and I'd just sneak away from that center of attention. Not a place I traditionally enjoy being. But Jamison just kept his conversation going with me directly, and nobody else chimed in. So I asked a second question about Caron Butler, and that came out okay I thought. My third question wasn't delivered too smoothly however, because by then I wanted outta there pretty bad. Despite enjoying the conversation with Tawn, who was totally cool for sure.
Anyways, here's that video, and my third inquiry at the 1:20 minute mark:
My anxiety aside, Jamison's take on everything was pretty solid and well reasoned. The only thing I could think on my way home though was how I hoped I didn't end up on the news. Even if it was just my voice, I was pretty sure I'd get a few text messages from people who recognized as much. Thankfully, I wasn't on, at least not on Channel's 3 or 5. But Jamison's answer to my third question about Sessions was.
With the Channel 3 camera zoomed in on the side of his head, as close as he could get, while Jamison looked approximately one foot down in the direction of me. Here's that video for evidence:
Maybe you found this funny, maybe you didn't, maybe you had to be there, or maybe I'm just not describing it well enough. Regardless, shout out to the Cavs for being way cooler under pressure than me last night, and getting that big win over the Clipps.