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Cleveland Cavaliers

Final thoughts: Cavs 108, Clippers 101

By Jason Lloyd Published: November 6, 2012

LOS ANGELES: While Dion Waiters was methodically chopping down the Clippers with 28 points and seven 3-pointers Monday night, I received this question via Twitter.

"Has any NBA team ever had back to back ROYs?" 

I had to laugh. It wasn't that long ago when it seemed no one in Cleveland who worked outside of Cleveland Clinic Courts even wanted Waiters. He was short, fat, he wasn't even good enough to start in college and, well, he wasn't Harrison Barnes. And the Cavs just had to draft Barnes because people at ESPN and guys like this idiot thought Barnes would be a nice fit with Irving.

Now, after hitting all those 3-pointers and getting to the basket at will in the victory over the Clippers, fans now are wondering if he can follow Irving's Rookie of the Year award with one of his own.

Let's take a deep breath here. 

Waiters was sensational Monday, no doubt. But he's not going to make 7 of 11 3-pointers most nights. He shot around 36 percent on 3-pointers last season, and while he's gotten off to a great start from long range, let's not expect it every night. 

If he's shooting 11 3-pointers every game, the Cavaliers are in trouble. But on this night, it worked because Waiters is a pretty good basketball player. I have no idea if he's going to be in the running for Rookie of the Year. Given where he was drafted, he certainly could be in the conversation. But I'd expect Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal to have an impact in the race, too.

The Cavs will simply be thrilled if Waiters continues to develop and continues to build a little chemistry with Irving. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Waiters' big night was that he did it despite early foul trouble and Irving starting off blistering hot in the first quarter.

Irving had 16 points and couldn't miss in the first quarter, He struggled the rest of the night, missing 12 of his next 14 shots until sticking the dagger with a 3-pointer in the final minute. While Irving was scuffling, Waiters was smoking.

I have no idea whether or not Waiters was the right pick, but I've been saying since draft night fans have to be patient and give him a chance. That goes for days like this, too, when he was sensational. He's still going to struggle. He's still going to have miserable games. 

But in his last two games, he has proven he is fearless, he is terrific with the ball in his hands and he can shoot a little, too. And maybe, just maybe, the Cavs knew what they were doing when they drafted him.

Waiters scored 28 points Monday night. Barnes has scored 24 points through the first three games of his career. We won't know for years whether or not the Cavs got the pick right, but games like this should at least give fans a little more patience ... and hope.

Stats

Cavs: Dion Waiters 28 points, seven 3-pointers; Kyrie Irving 24 points, 10 assists, Anderson Varejao 15 points, 15 rebounds, Tyler Zeller 15 points, 7 rebounds. Clippers: Chris Paul 17 points, 9 assists; Blake Griffin 20 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, Jamal Crawford 19 points.

Key stat

Irving and Waiters, who combined are 40 years old, together scored 52 of the Cavs' 108 points.

It was over when...

Irving sank a 3-pointer with 28 seconds left to put the Cavs ahead 107-101.

He said it

“I thought they came of age the last game (at Milwaukee) and they’re just getting better. They’re still getting used to each other. They still haven’t played together that much, but it’s starting to come along a lot better than I thought.” -- Cavs coach Byron Scott on the play of Irving and Waiters

Up next

The Cavs (2-2) travel to the Golden State Warriors (2-2) on Wednesday.

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