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Cleveland Cavaliers

Final thoughts: Nets 103, Cavs 100

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 30, 2012
Miles shoots vs Nets
C.J. Miles shoots over the Nets' Joe Johnson during the second half Saturday in New York. Miles tied a team record with eight 3-pointers and scored a season-high 33 points, but the Cavs lost at the buzzer 103-100. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

BROOKLYN, N.Y.: Final thoughts from another difficult Cavs loss at the buzzer...

* If ever there was a night to give someone other than Kyrie Irving the final shot, this was it. Now let me be clear, I have no problem with Byron Scott putting the ball in Irving's hand at the end of the game. He made a 3-pointer to pull them within 101-100 just seconds earlier and he has hit countless big shots for this team since entering the league.

* That being said, C.J. Miles was 8 of 10 on 3-pointers and the Cavs needed a 3-pointer to force overtime. It was an incredible shooting display from a streaky shooter who right now is hotter than Olcay Gulsen (Google her, trust me). The fact Scott went directly to Irving despite Miles' torrid hot hand reaffirms what we already knew: When the Cavs need a basket at the end of the game, give it to Irving and get out of his way.

* Tyler Zeller is struggling right now, which isn't all uncommon for a rookie going around the league for the first time. He has dealt with Tyson Chandler, Kevin Garnett, Roy Hibbert and now Brook Lopez over the last two weeks, and many of those games came while Anderson Varejao was sidelined. There's a good chance Zeller might be a little tired, but he'd probably never admit to it. 

* I like what I'm seeing out of Tristan Thompson, who is getting more assertive in the post. The Cavs don't really have a guy they can throw the ball to in the post and have him go get a basket. I don't think for a moment Thompson is that guy, but his work with Zydrunas Ilgauskas appears to be paying off. Thompson had 17 points and 15 rebounds tonight and really did some work in the post.

* But he still needs to get quicker going up. Luke Walton hit Thompson with three fantastic looks tonight under the basket, but only one of them went in. Thompson still seems to take to long to load up and get off his feet, which gives defenses time to recover.

* Say what you want about Walton. I've poked fun in recent days at his tights, his knee-high socks and his creaky body, but he knows how to play the game. That's why Scott is sticking with him in his rotation right now. It isn't always pretty, and he's hardly a good defender, but he had another solid line tonight with four points, six assists and four rebounds in 30 minutes. If nothing else, he provides a steady hand for a sometimes erratic second unit and gets the ball to guys in places where they can be effective.

* Dion Waiters, like Zeller, is hit or miss. Tonight was a big miss. He was 2 of 8 shooting and a relative non-factor in the game. He missed all eight of his attempts in the second half on Friday and he missed the only three he took in the second half on Saturday. His shooting percentage is down to .325.

* The Cavs will have a couple of days off before their tour around the Island of Misfit Toys continues with a visit from the dysfunctional Sacramento Kings on Wednesday. They had a chance against the hair-on-fire Nets, who fired their coach after a couple of bad weeks. The Kings are the pure definition of a hot mess, what with the DeMarcus Cousins saga and countless other problems, and that game is followed by a trip to Charlotte on Friday to face a Bobcats team that has lost 17 straight and counting. 

* The Cavs will take Sunday off, then practice Monday and Tuesday. That should be enough time to get Shaun Livingston some minutes if Scott chooses to use him. Scott is intrigued with Livingston's 6-foot-7 frame for a point guard, but he has bounced around the league the last few years following a gruesome knee injury. I'll have more on Livingston on Monday.

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