Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/30/12
CLEVELAND – There might come a day when the Cavaliers deal center Anderson Varejao. However, whenever they think about trading him, they should pop in a videotape of him from the Cavs' 94-84 victory over the Washington Wizards in the season opener Tuesday for both teams. The 6-foot-11, 260-pound Varejao established career highs in rebounds (23) and assists (nine), as he took advantage of the Wizards' porous defense. It didn't help that the Wizards were missing two key big men in Nene (foot) and Kevin Seraphin (calf). Varejao ended with nine points and made 3 of 7 shots. Point guard Kyrie Irving led all scorers with 29 points, six rebounds and three assists. He knocked down 3 of 6 shots from the three-point line. His sidekick, rookie Dion Waiters, displayed a scorer's touch in his first NBA game, finishing with 17 points. The play everyone will remember came with 8:33 left in the third quarter. Waiters stole the ball from Wizards guard Bradley Beal and went in for a slam dunk. Beal ended with eight points, three rebounds and three assists. He was the No. 3 overall pick in the draft and Waiters went one pick later. The Wizards used a staggering 16-0 run in the fourth quarter to take the lead. Reserve guards Jordan Crawford and Jannero Pargo and backup center Earl Barron fueled the surge in the fourth quarter. That forced Cavs coach Byron Scott to go back to his starters, and, that included Irving. He had several key baskets down the stretch for the Cavs. Forward Tristan Thompson ended with a double-double with 12 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. The Wizards had two scorers in double figures. Crawford had a team-high 11 points, while center Emeka Okafor added 10. The Cavs bullied the Wizards on the boards in the first half, 26-19. Varejao pulled down nine rebounds at halftime, as they extended their lead to 50-39. Varejao was elbowed to the neck/throat area with about six minutes left in the first quarter. He was taken to the locker room, but was back on the bench for the second quarter. The Cavs sped out to a 31-24 lead after the first quarter, as they shot 50 percent from the field. The Wizards were held to 36 percent shooting from the floor. There was a minor surprise when Coach Byron Scott went to the bench and used Luke Walton at power forward instead of Samardo Samuels. Wizards guard Bradley Beal banged in two three-pointers in the first quarter for his six points. NOTES: When the Miami Heat upended Oklahoma City in the NBA Finals last June, the rivalry with the Cavaliers just about ended as well. "When they won, it was the end of the end of the end of the end of the whole thing," Cavs owner Dan Gilbert said. "In a way it was a little bit of a relief." When LeBron James left in free agency in the summer of 2010, Gilbert sent the now-infamous letter saying the Cavs would win a title before the Heat. "Looking back, it wasn't the most brilliant thing I've ever done," Gilbert said. ... Gilbert said he talked to new Browns owner Jimmy Haslam III recently for 45 minutes on the phone. He said they hope to meet face-to-face in the near future. "He's the right guy for this town," Gilbert said. "He's passionate for this town." ... Some of the Cavs players had trouble making it to shootaround Tuesday morning at Cleveland Clinic Courts. Daniel Gibson said he lost power at his house, but relied on a generator ... at least for a while. "It bounced back at first, but then like 3 or 4 o'clock (in the morning), the whole thing shut down." ... The Wizards were playing without two starters in guard John Wall (knee) and center Nene (foot).
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