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That was cruel, Kyrie Irving

Cleveland Cavaliers 106 Final
Recap | Box Score
104 Charlotte Bobcats
Bismack Biyombo, PF 16 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -12

Bismack is one of three starters (Hakim, Kemba) who didn’t see many minutes tonight. He rebounded well, but was invisible offensively, and committed one really silly foul with a push in the back to Tyler Zeller while running down the court when Cleveland was already in the penalty. If I remember correctly, that ended Bis’ night.

Jeffery Taylor, SF 27 MIN | 5-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 11 PTS | +13

Taylor was tasked with matching up with Kyrie Irving for extended chunks of the fourth quarter – and got torched. Can’t fault his effort, but the results weren’t what the Bobcats needed.

Kemba Walker, PG 24 MIN | 4-8 FG | 2-4 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 11 PTS | -9

Weird game for Kemba – he played decently while on the court, but once Ramon Sessions and Ben Gordon fueled a Bobcats’ comeback from 18 points down, Coach Dunlap rode them to the finish, and Kemba was a spectator.

Gerald Henderson, SG 33 MIN | 6-11 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 17 PTS | -2

Henderson was the reason the Bobcats were only down by 18 by the time they made their comeback. 4 of 4 on threes for the night for Hendo, before the long miss at the buzzer (30 feet-ish?). As pointed out by Dell Curry during the broadcast, Hendo hit 8 straight threes going back to the Hornets game – encouraging sign for expanded range, but let’s give it a bit more time.

Tyrus Thomas, PF 13 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | -7

Without the late contributions, this probably would have been an F, just for the two horrible forced jumpers that Tyrus loves so much and made sure to get in during his first time back on the court. But then he come up with two defensive rebounds in last couple of minutes and drew a charge on Kyrie Irving to help the Bobcats’ chances. It wasn’t enough, but credit where it’s due.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF 21 MIN | 3-10 FG | 1-2 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 7 PTS | +1

A rough night for MKG – he couldn’t finish and he couldn’t hang on to the ball, with 2 turnovers credited to him in the boxscore (I was thinking 3). Loved the rebounding and the hustle around the basket – but did not like, even a little bit, the three long jumpers Gilchrist settled for – he needs to learn he is open for a reason, and that reason is the opposition would really like for him to take those shots.

Ramon Sessions, PG 35 MIN | 4-11 FG | 12-12 FT | 5 REB | 6 AST | 20 PTS | +1

Sessions was aggressive tonight, attacking the paint and pushing the ball in transition (this seems like deja vu – if I’ve typed this before, I apologize). He didn’t have a great success rate from the floor – but it paid off in trips to the free throw line, where he cashed in. Ramon and Ben Gordon were the catalysts of the come back.

Ben Gordon, SG 28 MIN | 11-20 FG | 3-4 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 27 PTS | +7

Why does Ben get an “A” to Ramon’s “A+”. That shot he took at the 1:14 mark in the 4th quarter. The score was tied 102-all and the Bobcats grab a defensive rebound and Ben Gordon rushes up court, with just a single teammate against 4 Cavs. And takes a step-back 18 foot jumper with about 16 on the shot clock. While it was lack of a conscience about shot choice that helped the Bobcats get back in the game (since he was hitting a lot of shots), that one hurt.

Three Things We Saw

  1. Wow – Kyrie Irving is really, really good. Just when the Bobcats seemed to have all the momentum, after taking the lead in a game they had trailed by 18, Kyrie hits back to back three pointers and put the Cavs back on top by 4. From there it was a battle – but without those, momentum was favoring the Bobcats.
  2. With the Bobcats integrating Jeff Adrien and Hakim Warrick still, plus reintegrating Tyrus Thomas after the extended absence, the Bobcats’ bigs rotation is probably going to be very haphazard in the coming games. Dunlap does not have a lot of feel with any of these guys, and with Bismack so inconsistent (and Brendan Haywood constantly out of breath and flat footed), it will take some time to figure out what pairings work (and who can provide some defensive consistency).
  3. Not really Bobcats’ related, but it was good to see Shaun Livingston on the court, contributing. After watching him blow out his knee against the Bobcats years ago, I’m glad he has been able to return (and still wish the Bobcats had managed to hang on to him). He was a defensive pest against Charlotte tonight, using his length to harass on the perimeter and force turnovers, then using his height on offense to draw attention when posting up Bobcats’ guards.