Kyrie Irving didn't have the sort of splashy debut some NBA rookies have in the Cavaliers' season-opening 104-96 loss to the Raptors on Monday — certainly, his six points in 26 minutes on 2-for-12 shooting left much to be desired, and his overall output was down significantly from the standard set by the last No. 1 NBA Draft pick to come to Cleveland.
Irving looked comfortable running the offense, but couldn't find his jumpshot. He was bothered by the Raptors' length in the paint and couldnt get easy layups to get going. He made some beautiful passes and didn't change my opinion about him at all. He's going to be a very very good point guard, it's just going to take a few games to figure it all out.
As basketball returned to the Q Monday night, the number one and number four picks in the 2011 NBA Draft gave mixed results for the Cavaliers. Tristan Thompson, the fourth picked ignited the offensive flow off the bench with 13, including 5-of-7 from the free throw stripe. Kyrie Irving, on the other hand, had a tough first night, one that was hopefully a learning experience for him: he posted six points in 26 minutes. The Cavs' second stringer at the point, Ramon Sessions, efficiently put up 18 for Cleveland.
The Raptors got almost 50 of their 104 points off of the pick and roll, and 45 points off their reserves, and were led by starters Jose Calderon and Demar DeRozan with 15 apiece. They also shot 85% from the free throw line, and went 9-of-21 from three point land.
Irving, the former Duke point guard and top draft pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, started but made just 2-12 shots from the field and finished with 6 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists in 26 minutes in his first game. Meanwhile, backup point guard Ramon Sessions delivered a strong performance for the Cavaliers with 18 points including 2-4 on three-pointers in 21 minutes off the bench.
In a matchup between teams that finished last (Cleveland) and second-to-last (Toronto) in the Eastern Conference, the Raptors took control in a 29-19 second quarter after the game was tied after one quarter. Cleveland led 23-21 with 22 seconds to go in the first quarter but did not lead again.
Cleveland was able to get some clutch buckets and finish the third quarter strong as they pulled to a 78-72 deficit at the hands of Demar DeRozan and the Toronto Raptors. Unselfish basketball and good passing have gotten the Cavs back in this one. Ramon Sessions has been effective scoring for Cleveland, leading all Cavalier scorers with 18.
The Cav’s hit a last second shot at the end of the first quarter to tie the game at 23 apiece, they wished the second quarter went half as good. Ramon Sessions led the Cav’s in scoring off the bench in his new role with eight, but the team shot just a hair over 33% from the floor. A tear drop by Kyre Irving got him his first points in his NBA career, but he came away with only three in the first half. Also a new addition to Cleveland, forward Omri Cappsi, had just one bucket in the first two quarters combined.
Toronto grabbed its biggest lead of the game, ten, to close the half behind a strong defensive effort. Nine blocked shots turned Cleveland back. Leandro Barbosa got into double figures in personal points in a hurry, as he dropped ten on the Cav’s. Toronto’s bench looked ready to go, posting 28 of their 52 first half points.
Kyre Irving and Tristian Thompson’s debut for the Cavaliers has been a little dawdling, but a solid run with under two minutes to go pulled them into a stalemate. The Cav’s started 1-for-12 from the floor, but then found the sweet spot behind veteran guard Anthony Parker ‘s two three-point conversions.
Rookie Forward out of Texas Tristian Thompson got his first career point from the free-throw line, but split the pair. The other rookie, the first overall pick out of Duke Kyre Irving got the start, but did not score in the opening twelve minutes. Toronto opened with four blocks, and got a seven point effort from Canadian big man Andrea Bargnani.
Scott decided to name Irving the team's starting point guard on Monday morning, according to the Akron Journal Beacon's Jason Lloyd. Scott told the media that he talked to Sessions about the decision while his only explanation to Irving was to hand him a red jersey -- the color starters wear for the Cavs.
"I don't have to tell him anything," Scott said, according to Lloyd, regarding his decision to explain just giving Irving the red jersey. Scott said he likes Sessions' veteran presence off the bench and wants Irving to keep getting better on defense, saying he thinks being around good defensive communicators like Jamison and Anthony Parker will help with that.