The Cavs won their highly-anticipated season opener against Kyrie Irving and the Celtics, 102-99. Irving demanded to be traded over the summer and landed in Boston. The new-look Cavs added Derrick Rose, Jae Crowder and LeBron James' former Miami Teammate and friend, Dwyane Wade.
Add them to James and Kevin Love, and the court can feel a little crowded.
“You have so many guys who are used to shooting the ball, and you only have one ball,” said WKSU commentator Terry Pluto.
Tuesday’s opening victory wasn’t easy for anyone, including James, who missed most of training camp and only played one preseason game due to an ankle injury. Sweat was pouring off him after the game. When he met with reporters at half court, James joked about needing to get in shape.
“Ninety percent of the NBA can be in the best shape of its life and never score 29 points, 16 rebounds and 9 assists in a game,” Pluto said.
According to Pluto, the Cavs weren’t expecting the new to team to mesh instantly.
“They looked like a pickup game,” Pluto said. “A bunch of guys with some talent got together but they didn’t really know each other very well.”
Adding to the drama was former Cavalier Kyrie Irving coming out in a Celtics jersey after demanding to be traded earlier this year. The fans’ response was predictable, though not as bad as when James came back to Cleveland.
“They booed like I expected them to boo,” Pluto said.
Notably, the Cavs organization decided not to show a tribute video commemorating Irving’s time in Cleveland. That was probably for the best.
“I thought it would have been inflammatory,” Pluto said. “You try to make this as normal a game as you can without inflaming anything any more.”
If anything, Tuesday’s game proved James is still the best player in the NBA.
“Defensively, (the Cavs) have a lot of work to do,” Pluto said. “I’ll be more anxious to see where they are in about two weeks.”