Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 12/26/11
CLEVELAND -- If folks werent feeling overly frustrated about the Cavaliers 104-96 loss to visiting Toronto on Monday night, this wouldnt be Cleveland. If folks werent panicked about Kyrie Irving, they would just be worried about something else. And if the Cavs would have made a few more free throws got a couple more stops or grabbed even one or two key rebounds well, folks would point out some other area thats lacking. But Im here to tell you to relax. Seriously. Anyone remember last seasons opener? Anyone remember how the Cavs beat Boston? Anyone remember what happened after that? I know, wed just as soon forget about most of last year. But the point is, things werent as good as they might have seemed after beating the Celtics. And theyre not likely as bad as they might look now. As for Irvings debut, it could have gone worse. Just ask Cavs coach Byron Scott, who said the No. 1 overall draft pick wasnt too bad, considering its like his fifth game since last year. Irving finished with six points, seven assists and just one turnover in 26 minutes. Scott said about the only thing Irving did wrong was miss shots (2-for-12 from the floor). Thats hardly a travesty when you compare it to how some of todays elite point guards fared in their first NBA game. Chris Paul of the L.A. Clippers was just 3-for-7 shooting in his debut with New Orleans. Derrick Rose of Chicago went 3-for-9. Steve Nash of Phoenix went 0-for-1. And Jason Kidd of Dallas went 3-for-10 in his first game, and yes, 2-for-12 in his second. On the bright side, Irving is a level-headed young man who understands all of this. He admitted he suffered plenty of jitters at first, but is smart enough to know that those eventually go away. Heck, they may already be gone for good. I didnt shoot particularly well, or as well as I wanted, but its a learning process, he said. On to the next one. None of this is intended to sugarcoat an overall flat performance by the Cavs. Their defense and rebounding were severely lacking, and thats how you win games. They also probably dont want Antawn Jamison shooting 20 times a night, or even Anderson Varejao shooting 12. Ideally, theyll be able to move the ball with the same relative ease that the Raptors exhibited on their way to a sizzling 42-for-79 from the field. On top of that, newcomer Omri Casspi was invisible at small forward. Also, while the Cavs want their bench to play well, they likely arent real big on it outplaying the starters. But thats what happened, as the man who backs up Irving, Ramon Sessions, was the teams MVP. Sessions played an aggressive floor game, making his usual drives to the basket and even burying a couple of uncharacteristic 3-pointers for team-high 18 points to go with six assists. And you already know about No. 4 overall pick Tristan Thompson and his long and athletic ways around the basket. The rookie power forward finished with 12 points, five rebounds and tons of hustle. Hes like Anderson Varejao with hops. Granted, this may not be the start you wanted from the Cavs. You were probably hoping for something that at least resembled a well-oiled machine. You might even be worrying that this is destined to be just more of the same. But its not. Irving is almost certain to make more shots. Thompson is only likely to keep getting better. This team can actually be fun as it grows. They may not win much, and there will even be a few blowout losses. That I promise. Its just the way life goes in the NBA. Still, theres no reason to get down in the dumps. Try to accept the fact the Cavs are a work in progress and try to enjoy the ride. Can it be bumpy, frustrating? You bet. But if it should happen to all work out, we wont even remember games like the one Monday. Follow Sam Amico on Twitter @SamAmicoFSO
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