Charlotte Bobcats assistant coach Mark Price had Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist locked in and ready to go from a shooting perspective on Friday night against the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers. Walker and our boy MKG combined to finish 14-of-26 from the floor for 38 points to go along with seven assists and 10 rebounds.
Photo: AP Photo/Chuck Burton
They helped Charlotte collectively shoot 57 percent during the first quarter while building a 30-23 lead that the Cavs never really came back from. Bismack Biyombo finished with 11 and 10 in the 90-84 victory, Cody Zeller exacted revenge for younger brothers everywhere by scoring nine points to older brother Tyler's zero and Jeff Adrien blocked an Andrew Bynum shot he's definitely not going to stop bragging about anytime soon.
The Cavaliers would have their chances late, however—but despite monster performances from C.J. Miles and Tristan Thompson—they'd be forced to accept their first lost of the 2013-14 season. The game was ultimately sealed after Walker buried a three-pointer late in the fourth quarter, proceeded to dance like Ginuwine in celebration, only to be followed by an airball from Jarrett Jack in response.
The teaching moments began immediately after the game concluded for Mike Brown, though, who offered this quote directed at his starters (via The Plain Dealer).
"Our mental approach from the beginning has to be better. Right now it’s not good, especially at the start of the game. And we’re getting too many ‘my bads.’ And when you get three ‘my bads’ from each individual, it adds up. You can say, ‘my bad,’ but we want to be a championship-level team. We can’t have 15 ‘my bads’ in the first half.'' - Mike Brown
The Good: Tristan Thompson
I was talking with a friend of Tristan Thompson's after the opener on Wednesday night. He said: "You're seeing him use both of those hands right, B? It's not just the left or right, he's coming at people with both hands now and totally comfortable with it."
I mention this because of its fitting description of what Thompson is doing to defenders from an offensive perspective through two games. Last night, for example, he converted a layup with his left hand because that's what the Bobcats' defense gave him on that particular trip. Then he came back later and knocked down a 15-foot jumper with his right hand and Josh McRoberts couldn't do anything to stop it.
It's only two regular-season games, but Thompson looks like a future All-Star in those two games with averages of 19.5 points and 10 rebounds and I don't think I'm getting too carried away in suggesting as much. Dude is going to need more touches, frankly, and plays run that are designed to get him in isolation situations with the ball in his hand near the basket.
The Good: C.J. Miles
Hanging out with the Cavs Zine writers who attended Dion Waiters' celebrity bowling event this summer seems to have really sparked Miles' performance thus far.
He had his best game as a Cleveland Cavalier last night with 22 points, five rebounds and three steals in 29 minutes while consistently working himself into the proper position defensively.
Miles was a big reason why the Cavaliers were even in the game down the stretch and he may be earning himself more minutes at the small forward spot as a result.
Earl Clark and Alonzo Gee, the two guys who Miles was competing in a three-way battle with for the starting SF job during training camp finished with one combined point on 0-of-6 shooting from the field.
The Bad: Waiters struggled, Jack shot an airball and Irving banged his elbow
Only speculating here, but I think the quick hook for Dion Waiters after 15 minutes of poor production was a bit more complicated than simply pulling him for what he did on the floor specifically.
Jarrett Jack filled in alongside Kyrie Irving by knocking down all four of his first half field-goal attempts. He would then extend that number to 5-of-5 before missing his first shot of the game in the third quarter.
Besides Jack, C.J. Miles also came off the bench to provide big minutes at the wing position. Waiters should've probably gotten another chance for some playing time late, but it shouldn't have been at the expense of either Miles or Jack. He should've gotten the second-half minutes that Alonzo Gee was awarded, if any, but Brown went another direction.
The problem for Jack, after going 5-for-5, was that he eventually finished 2-of-8 from there which included the late airball. But for everybody who is suggesting Irving should've gotten that shot Jack missed badly, keep in mind that a report surfaced after the game indicating that he hurt his shooting elbow during the third quarter.
According to a tweet from the PD:
"Kyrie Irving had an x-ray after game, banged elbow on the court and experienced numbness in the 3Q. He says he'll be fine at Indiana on Sat."
Good news that Irving plans to play tonight, however, in an attempt to get back into the win column after dropping one to the Al Jefferson-less Bobcats. Not going to be easy to earn a road victory tonight against an Indiana Pacers team I expect to finish first in the Eastern Conference during the regular season, but stranger things have happened.
Photo (C.J. Miles): AP Photo/Chuck Burton