Fans in Cleveland sure didn’t have to wait too long after LeBron left to find their next phenom.
Second-year point guard Kyrie Irving, 20, scored 24 points, while rookie guard Dion Waiters, also 20, poured in 28 to lead all scorers as the Cleveland Cavaliers marched into Staples Center and beat the Clippers 108-101 Monday night.
Waiters was absolutely unconscious from beyond-the-arc, nailing seven of his 11 three-point attempts. The Cavs as a team shot a blazing 14-29 from three. Irving added four of his own, to go along with 10 assists.
The Clippers looked sluggish on both ends of the court for the second consecutive game, as repeated defensive lapses (I’m talking to you, DeAndre Jordan) proved fatal for L.A.
Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 20 on 9-14 shooting, and the team shot nearly 53 percent from the floor. He revealed Monday that he’s been playing with a burst bursa sac in his shooting elbow.
Unfortunately, their unraveling was ultimately their carelessness with the ball. Los Angeles turned it over a whopping 25 times, leading to 21 Cleveland points.
Chris Paul finished with 17 points and nine assists, but struggled to assert himself against the taller Alonzo Gee for the majority of the night.
Rookie reserve Tyler Zeller is another youngster that looked impressive for the Cavs, as he finished with 15 points and seven rebounds before being knocked from the game in the fourth after taking an elbow to the face. Anderson Varejao drilled midrange jumper after midrange jumper, and scored 15 to go along with 15 rebounds.
Cleveland kept the lead in the neighborhood of 9-13 points throughout much of the second half, only to see the Clippers repeatedly mount a mini-surge to get back into it, led by Jamal Crawford’s continued hot shooting to start the season. However, the Clips couldn’t ever quite reach the top of the mountain, much like what occurred during Saturday night’s loss to Golden State. Crawford finished with 19 off the bench, including four threes.
L.A. will host the Spurs on Wednesday night, while the Cavaliers will head north to take on the Warriors. Each team is now 2-2 on the year.
About the Author
Written by Taylor Smith
Taylor Smith is a writer for the Los Angeles Clippers.