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Above the Rim

Nov 05, 2012 -- 7:39am

By Kenny Roda

So here are some early returns on the Cavaliers after only 3 games:

The Cavs beat the lottery team they played - Washington. They got clobbered by one of the top teams in the East - Chicago. They hung in there, but lost a tough one to a borderline playoff team - Milwaukee.  Sounds about right for the make-up of this year’s Cavs squad.

Kyrie Irving looks like he’s 100% healthy and has picked up right where he left off last season. He’s the one sure thing night in and night out for the Cavs. He abused the Wizards, was average against the Bulls and was Mr. 4th Quarter in that tough loss at Milwaukee.

Anderson Varejao is playing like he did right before he went down with the wrist injury a year ago. His opening night 23 rebound performance was a thing of beauty. Granted it’s only 3 games, but Andy is off to a double/double start, averaging 13 points and 15 rebounds a game. I don’t expect those numbers to stay that high, but I do expect a double/double for the year, or however long he’s in Cleveland.

No one questioned the drafting of Dion Waiters more than me. Having said that, I am pleasantly surprised with Waiters through the first 3 games. The game doesn’t seem too big for him and his defense is better than I expected.  I still have my doubts about him, but he’s played well at times for a rook.  Let’s hope it continues.

Tristan Thompson has been up and down so far as the starting power forward. Same with Alonzo Gee at small forward.

The bench has been the weakness in the early going, averaging just 20 points while shooting a dismal 32% as a unit.  C.J. Miles has been downright awful. He’s making Omri Casspi look like Ray Allen, shooting just 18% from the field.  Rookie Tyler Zeller has had moments, but not enough so far. Boobie is still struggling to find his shot. Luke Walton is old, while Donald Sloan has played OK. The bench is going to have to get dramatically better if this team is going to threaten 25 to 30 wins.

Now it’s off to play the Clippers, Warriors, Suns, Thunder and Nets on the road in the next nine days before returning home to host Dallas on November 17th.  It could be a long and painful trip for this young bunch if the bench doesn’t pick it’s game up!

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