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Go Kyrie! Go Cavs!

December 26, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Kyrie Irving with coach Byron Scott, December 11

[AP Photo, Carlos Osorio]

The Cavaliers (Cleveland’s NBA basketball team) opened their season tonight at home against Toronto. This means that Kyrie Irving, the first pick in last June’s NBA draft and my cousin (well, maybe not, but it’s fun to pretend), made his professional debut.

Three days after the draft, I wrote that “I’m not much for wearing official team clothing, but I see a Cleveland Cavalier jersey in my future.” If only I had remembered, as I surely would have if the NBA season weren’t delayed for two months, I would have put the jersey on my wish list for the holidays. But no matter, since the jersey wouldn’t have been available. According to the Cavalier online store, it still isn’t. I will be patient.

According to Tom Reed of the Cleveland Plain Dealer,

The Kyrie Irving era got off to an inauspicious start Monday at The Q.
But to pin the Cavaliers’ 104-96 loss to the Toronto Raptors on a 19-year-old rookie point guard is roundly unfair, not to mention misleading. Especially on a night the club’s collective effort was bad enough to give it a running start on the No. 1 pick next season.

The Cavaliers defended poorly, shot worse and needed a strong effort from their second unit just to keep them in the game against one of the NBA’s bottom feeders.

Irving, the top selection in the June draft, managed just six points on 2-of-12 shooting and never found his rhythm before a sellout crowd of 20,562 fans. He spent a good portion of the second half on the bench as backup Ramon Sessions helped the Cavaliers stay close with a team-high 18 points and six assists.

“It’s disappointing,” said Irving, who played 26 minutes. “You want to play really well when the whole world is watching. It’s a learning process.”

The point is an unforgiving position for first-year players. Not only did Irving struggle at the offensive end, but he had difficulty keeping the Raptors’ Jose Calderon (15 points, 11 assists) in front of him.

How have other recent high-profile point guards fared in their NBA debuts?
According to Stats LLC, Washington’s John Wall had 14 points, Chicago’s Derrick Rose scored 11 points and New Orleans’ Chris Paul collected 13 points.

“He looked OK for what was like his fifth game in a year,” said coach Byron Scott, who named Irving his starter on Monday morning. “He had seven assists and one turnover. The only thing he didn’t do was shoot the ball well.”

I trust that by the time my jersey arrives, Kyrie will be playing better. We’ll put in a big order. I know Dad will enjoy his. (He doesn’t read Ron’s View, so don’t tell him. It will be a surprise.)

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Categories: Clothing, Sports
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