Mark Duncan | AP
The Cleveland Cavaliers (16-10) entered the Q tonight with one of the most difficult challenges ahead of them thus far in the regular season. Facing off against the 21-5, now 21-6 Memphis Grizzlies, Cleveland had plenty to worry about with interior defense issues against on of the league’s most dominating frontcourts. However, the Cavs played a full 48 minutes of well-executed basketball extend to a new winning streak now having won consecutive games at home.
LeBron James led the Cavaliers with a double-double performance of 25 points and 11 assists, and Kyrie Irving followed his lead with 17 points and 12 dimes of his own. Irving made a huge impact on the game, recording a true Point Guard double-double and also controlling the pace of the game, as the Cavs had a +24 point differential with him on the floor. In total the Cavs shot 60.5% from the floor tonight against a top 5 ranked defense. That said, this game could’ve been a lot harder.
Memphis came in shorthanded today. Marc Gasol led his squad with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists, but without their best defender in Tony Allen and consistent aggressor in Zach Randolph, the Grizzlies knew it would be difficult to win in such a hostile Quicken Loans environment. However, regardless of the injuries to Memphis, Cleveland made the Grizzlies play their game at their speed and brought the necessary defensive intensity. Quite simply, the Cavs never looked back tonight, literally leading the Grizzlies for a full 48 minutes.
Contrary to what we predicted, tonight’s hero wasn’t Mike Mille; rather, it was the player Mike Miller has replaced in the starting Shooting Guard position from the beginning of the season: Dion Waiters. Waiters was tonight’s player of the game, bringing energy and toughness with 21 points in 28 minutes; he was the difference in the fourth quarter, leading the Cavs to a 14-point margin with 13 points in the 4th quarter. Tonight, Dion finally contributed like the efficient sixth man the Cavs have been in desperate need of. Consequently, Cleveland handled the second best team in the NBA. Don’t be fooled though! This game was more than a fundamentally sound effort on the Cavs part; there were plenty of highlight plays that had the Q in a frenzy, and Cavs Nation brings you the top 5 plays of the Cavs huge win against the Grizzlies!
Start the countdown at #5 on the next page!
Nathaniel S. Butler | Getty Images
#5 Andy With The Spin, The Drive, And The Hook!
While the focus of tonight’s game shifter to Dion Waiters, LeBron James and Marc Gasol, Anderson Varejao kept doing the Wild Thing. With a quiet 18 points and seven rebounds, Andy reminds us that he’s always hustling for his team.
Continue to #4 on the next page!
Nathaniel S. Butler | Getty Images
#4 Dont Even Bother, Marc.
If you can turn a simple pick-and-roll into an explosive finish like this, there is no hope.
Continue to #3 on the next page!
Jason Miller | Getty Images
#3 Kyrie Showing Finesse
The Aussie drives hard on the fast break and finishes with the smooth Euro-step, leaving Conley with no chance to contest.
Continue to #2 on the next page!
David Yapkowitz ·
David Liam Kyle | Getty Images
#2 Kyrie Takes The Foul And Finishes With The Reverse!
A debate about who the best transition scorer on the Cavs is starting to spark, as Kyrie continuously shows his prime ability to finish and disregard anyone in his way.
See the top play of the night on the next page!
#1 Story Of The Night: Dion And LeBron In Harmony.
Combined, Waiters and James scored 46 points, shooting 18-31 from the floor. Dion has had an ambiguous role, but today was the first time he seemed to mesh with the King. Up top, to LeBron James!