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Cleveland Cavaliers

Final thoughts: Cavs 91, Pistons 86

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 17, 2011

* Kyrie Irving was quicker than I was expecting. Maybe not John Wall fast, but pretty fast. Byron Scott swore he's better defensively than he showed, which is a good thing. He got beat off the dribble by Will Bynum and Brandon Knight. Fine players, but he's not exactly Derrick Rose or John Wall or Rajon Rondo, if you know what I mean. He needs to be better.

* Scott pointed out Irving's five turnovers, but don't read too much into it. First game jitters, although Irving seemed to tire late in the fourth quarter. He got sloppy with the ball and his decisions later in the game, but that was his first extended time on the floor in a long, long time.

* The Tristan Thompson pick will continue to be scrutinized, but I like what I saw tonight. His length (7-3 wingspan) will allow him to really be a defensive beast in shot blocking and rebounding. I jokingly compared his jumper tonight to Joakim Noah's, but that's actually the player who I thought of watching Thompson. Noah also has a hideous shot, but somehow they fall. He's also a nemesis in the paint and on the boards. Thompson can be the same way.

* Mychel Thompson is playing because Manny Harris can't and he got off to a brutal start. I'm writing about Thompson for Sunday, but there was a time tonight I was worried if he'd still be on the team by then. His first two shots were blocked, he looked unsure of himself handling the ball and he looked completely overwhelmed at first. Then he began settling in.

* I talked to Mychel Thompson's dad, Mychal, the former No. 1 overall pick. He insists his son can play in the NBA because he's a good shot blocker (like the old man), he knows how to play defense and he has a high basketball IQ. He knows how to play the game. After listening to that, then watching him play tonight, I kept thinking of Anthony Parker. It took a few years for Parker to stick in this league, but he finally made it because he does a little bit of everything, even though he doesn't excel at any of it. Parker might have the highest basketball IQ on this team. That might be Thompson's future role, too.

* I latched onto the Samardo train early in the preseason last year and I'm not getting off. He's a bit undersized and he can't really get off the ground, but he has the strength of a mule and he's learning how to play defense. Fun watching him grow.

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