Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/30/12
CLEVELAND - There might come a day when the Cavaliers deal center Anderson Varejao. They figure when the youngsters on the team get ready to compete, the 30-year-old Varejao is going to be too old. However, whenever they think about trading him, they should pop in a videotape of Tuesday's game, when the Cavs defeated the Washington Wizards 94-84 in the season opener 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 finished with nine points and made 3 of 7 shots. His 23 rebounds were just two off the Cavs' record set by Rick Roberson on March 4, 1972, at Houston. "He's so valuable to us on both ends of the floor," Cavs coach Byron Scott said. 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. Late in the game, Scott seemed a bit anxious on the sideline. Irving touched him on the leg and said, "Don't worry about it, Coach. I got it." Irving's sidekick, rookie Dion Waiters, displayed a scorer's touch in his first NBA game. He finished with 17 points. The play everyone will remember came with 8:33 left in the third quarter. He 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. "I wasn't worrying about that," Waiters said of his steal. "It's a learning experience. I'm more comfortable now." 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 Scott to go back to his starters, and unfortunately for the Wizards, that included Irving. He had several key baskets down the stretch for the Cavs, who outscored the Wizards, 20-8 in the last seven minutes. Washington coach Randy Wittman was disappointed with the way his team competed. "That wasn't the team I've seen the last four weeks," he said. "I watched them do things tonight that I didn't ever see these guys do. (The Cavaliers) dictated the tempo, which I thought was key." The Cavs outrebounded the Wizards, 54-39. "We can't get beat up on the boards like we did or shoot free throws like we did and give yourself a realistic chance to win," Wittman said. Forward Tristan Thompson ended with a double-double with 12 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. The Wizards had just two scorers in double figures. Crawford had a team-high 11 points, while center Emeka Okafor added 10.
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