Gloria Clemente once told Billy Hoyle in White Men Can't Jump that, "sometimes when you win, you really lose, and sometimes when you lose, you really win."
In her case I believe she was referring to either Jeopardy or 2-on-2 basketball games where guys where bicycle hats and / or fluorescent baseball caps while exchanging disparaging comments about each other's mothers.
In any event though, it was a good point by Gloria then and I also think it pertains to these Cavaliers most recent outing in Indiana on Friday too.
In that third quarter, if this was last season, the Cavaliers would've lost by at least 30. They rallied back though, and in the end they were outlasted by a Pacers squad that goes a legit seven deep and probably has at least two players who will be named to the All Star team this season. (Pick two of Roy Hibbert, David West, Danny Granger).
But that was not before Kyrie Irving had an opportunity to take the first NBA sanctioned game winning shot of his life. An opportunity created by the Cavaliers willingness to fight their way back into that thing. A fight they absolutely didn't have a year ago at this time.
Irving was spectacular prior to that last lay-up that just kicked out though, and I'm encouraged by that as well as his willingness to take that shot with the game on the line. I think it's also good he got the first one out of the way too. Jordan missed a ton of game-winners before he finally converted his first one in the NBA, didn't he?
Anyways, Kyrie will get that look again because he was the one who got himself that open. He'll make it next time too, and he will use the opportunity he didn't cash in this past Friday to help that next one go down. A learning experience created by a Cavaliers team willing to compete, fight, and grow even on a night they didn't technically win.
Cavs / Nets Game Notes, Tip-Off At 6 PM Down at Quicken Loans Arena:
- Coming off his 20 point, 4 assist, 5 rebound performance on Friday, Kyrie Irving will face the best NBA PG he's seen so far tonight with Deron Williams. Williams is averaging a team high 16 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds, but he's also averaging a team high 4.5 TO's per game too. Irving may not be matched up on Williams directly all night though, because Deron has almost been playing a hybrid type SG for the Nets so far. Should kinda still be an interesting measuring stick.
- Fellow Rookie MarShon Brooks scored 21 in the Nets 105-98 loss to the Hawks on Friday. Brooks, from Providence, is a baller and could spend some time at the PG spot as well, along with ex-Laker Jordan Farmar.
- Byron Scott said after practice on Saturday when asked how excited he was to see Kyrie Irving be willing to take that Game Winning shot on Friday night: "I was excited when we drafted him."
- Alonzo Gee, who Byron also called "the most consistent Cavaliers player through these first three games" is averaging 10 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists so far. I do expect him to continue to come off the bench for the Cavs though. Omri Casspi's shot will start falling here soon, and Scott appeared confident in Casspi saying that "he [Scott] is starting to figure where Omri needs to get the ball to be successful" and believes those shots will start falling. I think Casspi has a big game tonight at home against the Nets personally.
- Ryan Hollins might play if Varejao is out. I'm okay with him playing in a situation like that too, even if he starts. The knee-jerk reaction would be to say Samardo should definitely start - and maybe he should - but if Andy is only out for a game or two it might also be better to keep that second unit Samuels is playing well with as consistent as possible. Insert Hollins for Varejao, then completely remove Hollins again from the line-up after Andy is back, could be the thought process.
- Byron Scott told the media on Saturday, "If you give Andy thirty minutes he's going to average a double-double for you." He's right too, so lets hope that cheap shot from David West has no lingering effects tonight. Through three games Varjeao is averaging 12.7 points and 10 rebounds in 31 minutes.
More later after tonight's game, Happy New Year everyone.