The Cleveland Cavaliers struggled often against the Atlanta Hawks, dropping their third game in a ro
w Sunday afternoon in a 103-87 loss at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Cavaliers (16-26) played their first game of the season without Ramon Sessions, as he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, March 15 along with teammate Christian Eyenga. Sessions’ absence was definitely noticeable because he is usually one of the biggest contributors off the bench. The Cavaliers bench was outscored 27-18. Samardo Samuels added six points and collected six rebounds off the bench.
The bench’s performance wasn’t the only weak spot for the Cavaliers as starting shooting guard Anthony Parker was benched to start the second half. The reason for Parker being sat down to start the second half was due to his lackluster first-half play. He allowed Atlanta Hawks guard Joe Johnson to score 17 points in the first half, causing head coach Byron Scott to sit down Parker to see if Daniel Gibson could have any success.
The Sunday woes of the Cavaliers extended further than from a dismal bench performance, as Cleveland shot a measly 39.3 percent from the field.
The bad shooting day was led by a trigger-happy Antawn Jamison who shot 6-22 from the field and finished with 17 points. Jamison, who had been on fire with a personal record of eight straight games with 20 points or more, has kind of cooled off as he has finished with less than 20 in the past two games.
All was not wasted on Saturday, however, as once again the rookie Kyrie Irving performed like he has been playing in the NBA for awhile. Irving was a perfect 6-6 from the charity stripe, adding 19 points, 10 assists and two steals to his stat line. Irving also recorded the first double-double of his career on Sunday, but most definitely not his last.
Alonzo Gee also put in a hard day’s work and has shined as a starter ever since coach Scott promoted him. Gee clocked in 35 minutes on Sunday, scoring 20 points and grabbing 9 boards. Another solid outing from Gee should have Cavalier fans excited about the forward’s future with the team.
With the lack of production from Parker and the departure of Sessions guards Manny Harris and recently acquired Donald Sloan saw action on Sunday, but were very limited. With Parker contributing less and less each game, Harris and Sloan could start to see serious minutes off the bench. Harris, in only one minute of play, shot 2-2 and scored four points.
On another note, small forward Luke Walton, who was acquired in the trade with the Lakers, suited up for the game, but did not see any action. Walton, who has been fighting an illness, could see be on the court for the first time as a Cavalier on Monday against the New Jersey Nets.
The Cavaliers will be traveling to Prudential Center to face the Nets on Monday night. Tip-off is at 7:30.