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Tuesday Night Showed How the Cleveland Cavaliers Should Play Basketball

January 9th, 2014 at 1:02 PM
By Pat Murphy

On Tuesday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers won in blowout fashion. The talk of the game was C.J. Miles 10 three pointers and his 34 points in 32 minutes.

Miles had the best night on the court, but what went unnoticed was how the two other guards played.

Kyrie Irving was an efficient 6-9 from the field for 16 points and eight assists. While Dion Waiters was only 5-14 for 12 points he also had eight assists.

'Kyrie Irving' photo (c) 2013, Erik Drost - license:

This balance and ball movement is something the Cavaliers have not had this often enough year.

There has been a lot of discussion on what is wrong with Irving. He has not consistently scored the big numbers Cleveland fans have grown to expect from his first two years in the league.

Over those two seasons, if the Cavs were going to win a game, it was going to be on Irving's shoulders. This season was supposed to be different. This was assumed to be a team that could contend for the playoffs and make some noise. The Cavaliers were talented enough that they did not have to rely on one player, yet at times they have.

On Tuesday things were different. Miles' 34 were obviously a big part of that, but that is the way things should be. This team has players that can score and distribute the ball not named Irving and fans saw that against the Philadelphia 76ers,

Insert Luol Deng.

This is where I believe this trade is going to impact the club the most. Yes, Deng is an experienced player, who has been deep in the playoffs, and can be a leader on this team. Yes he will add a another solid defensive player and give Cleveland the small forward they've been searching for.

What he can really do is balance things out.

Everyone who has watched the Cavaliers over the last two and half seasons has seen how Irving can takeover a game late if needed. So far, he has had to carry the team early and then be the go-to guy late.

Now with the likes of Waiters, Miles, and Deng, along with Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao, Irving should be able to pick his spots.

This is the best part of being on a good team. In Miami, LeBron James doesn't have to do it all himself every night. In any given game, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, or anyone else in their rotation can step up and be the guy.

The same is true for the Oklahoma City Thunder. It doesn't have to be Kevin Durant each and every night.

This does not mean big nights from Irving are over. He is the most talented player on 'Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters, and Kyrie Irving' photo (c) 2012, Erik Drost - license: this roster, but he's also only 21-years old. If he can have nights where he only takes eight shots, but distributes the ball effectively that would be a good thing for the Cavs.

They also don't need a player to score 30 or more points each night because they should be able to balance their scoring. If Irving, Deng, Waiters, and Miles all were to score between 15 and 20 points on a given night, in combination with the other players on the court, Cleveland would be in good shape.

This sets the Cavaliers up to be more efficient individually and save their legs a bit in case they need them late in the season, or potentially in the post-season.

This is a team falling belong expectations this year, but the pieces are there to make a run. If things can be more balanced and each player can allow the game to come to them, they are in a good position going forward.

Tags: Anderson Varejao, Basketball, C.J. Miles, Chris Bosh, Cleveland, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dion Waiters, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, Luol Deng, NBA, Philadelphia 76ers, Tristan Thompson

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