It was not the way the Cavaliers wanted the regular season to start. The team seemed to lack both energy and focus all night long. They got close, but as they did the Raptors would pull away again.
The Cavs played awful defense for majority of the game. The Raptors seemed unstoppable from behind the 3-point line and enforced their will in the paint. First overall pick, Kyrie Irving had six points on 2 of 12 shooting. He did have seven assists, three rebounds, and one steal. He also had an extremley bad turnover near the end of the game. The pressure obviously got to Irving. But it’s easy to forget that the Cavs have not had much time to practice. It’s not hard to imagine Irving getting much better in the next few weeks with more practice time. In fact, it should be expected. Ramon Sessions picked up the slack and played well. Scoring a game high 18 points.
The other first round draft pick of the Cavs a different kind of night. Tristan Thompson was electric when on the floor. He had 13 points and five rebounds. Thompson had several big two handed slams that seemed to energized the crowd. If he can repeat this kind of effort, he could be something special and may find himself in the starting lineup soon.
He would likely replace Antawn Jamison, who was just plain awful. Don’t believe the stat line. It will not tell you the whole story. He had 15 points, but scored them on 6 of 20 shooting. Watching him shoot was very painful he took horrible shots and refused play any kind of solid defense. What makes his play even worse, is the thought that Jamison will be payed about $15 million this year. The Cavs would love to dump both him and his salary. But if he plays this way all season, who is going to want to trade for him?
The Cavs first unit lacks energy. Once he gets comfortable, Irving should provide energy. If Thompson continues to play well, he will be a starter soon. Gee could very well find himself in the starting lineup as well. But the Cavs first unit must start scoring. The second unit seems to be providing all the energy. And the Cavs will not win games if the bench will be forced to do all the work.