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Cleveland Cavaliers

Final thoughts: Raptors 104, Cavs 96

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 26, 2011

For much of the night, I really felt like Alonzo Gee and Ramon Sessions were the two best players on the floor. I'm not sure if that's a credit to their vast improvement or an indictment on the rest of the team.

Kyrie Irving looked lost at times, but I'm chalking it up to simply first game jitters. There will likely be many more nights like this, but he will also have nights where he dazzles. All part of the learning curve for a rookie.

Tristan Thompson looked OK. He still can't shoot from the field and it's 50/50 when he's at the free-throw line. But he'll get hustle buckets on offensive putbacks and he'll get easy dunks when teams stop paying attention to him offensively.

The real surprise for me was Gee, who spent part of the lockout playing in Poland and showed better range and defensive awareness than he did all last season. It's way too early to get carried away over one game, but the Spurs liked him, they just didn't have room for him. And the Spurs don't miss on guys very often. Worth watching.

Sessions made three 3-pointers all of last season (3 of 15), but he hit on two against the Raptors. There were times last season when Sessions got out of control with the ball, but tonight he was poised and played well with no really bad lapses on either end.

The Cavs' bench was more productive than the starters for the early half of last season, before Scott switched up the lineup and made some of those scorers the starters. It will be worth waiting to see if history repeats itself.

But just to be clear, barring a complete collapse, Kyrie Irving is the starter on this team. Period.

Key stat
The Raptors shot 43 percent on 3-pointers (9 of 21). The Cavs were the worst team in the league at defending the 3-pointer last season (41 percent).

He said it
"It’s disappointing. You want to play really well when the whole world is watching. It’s just one game. We’re 0-1 and we have 65 games to go. It’s a learning process.” -- Kyrie Irving, after his 2 for 12 debut

Up next
The Cavs (0-1) travel to the Detroit Pistons (0-1) on Wednesday. The Cavs already split a pair of preseason meetings with the Pistons.

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