Career Night For Anthony Bennett as Cavs Win Third Straight

Anthony Bennett: This man continues to impress me. After all the adversity he’s dealt with; the shoulder injury, the boos from his home crowd shortly after his debut, his weight issues, his slumps in 2013, the list goes on. He has now lost 30 pounds since he was drafted. He’s averaged 10.8 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in the last 10 games and he’s been playing 20 minutes or more per night. Bennett has got confidence and it plays a huge part into his success (Richard Sherman said it best: “confidence is a prerequisite for success”). People all over Twitter and Cleveland are rooting for the underdog and are now behind him every step of the way. He’s even got a few nicknames such as “Big Daddy Canada”, “AB15”, and my personal favorite “King Bennett”.

King Bennett had 19 points and 10 rebounds last night, a career high in points, and his first career double-double. Dan Gilbert, after the game, tweeted: “Congrats @anthonybennett on the 1st of countless double/doubles you will toll. Proud of you for ignoring the malcontents. Keep grinding!” That was his only tweet of the night. Luol Deng had 22 points, Dion Waiters had 20 points and 8 assists, and Tristan Thompson had 16 points and 13 rebounds. But this was Anthony Bennett’s night, his moment to shine.

Amid all the talk of him rotting on the bench for two weeks and his lack of playing time, as well as talk of him willing to go down to the Developmental League, he stuck it out on the bench. Mike Brown did this strategically to get him more comfortable and confident in practice, essentially a restart for his mind to gather itself and relax. He watched, and watched, and anticipated getting onto the court. As this was happening, his confidence, energy, and efficiency increased. Brown then knew it was time to play him, simply put he was “ready”.

David Griffin, the newly acting GM of the Cavs (also VP of Basketball Operations), told his team they’re either all in or “all out”. Whatever “all out” means, it sure was a wake-up call for these Cavs, who have won their last three games against the likes of Washington, Memphis, and Sacramento. The offense is efficient, they are moving the ball and racking up the assists, and there are actual signs of the Cavs having fun! Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters seem to even be gelling with each other.

In my previous article on the Cavs, I said I would give them until the All-Star break to turn this thing around. Turns out, that’s what it looks like. But it’s far from over, they are still games out of the 8th and final playoff spot in the East, and still have a long way to go before they can hope of making the playoffs. They play Detroit at the Palace tonight at 7:30, who has also won thre in a row since firing someone (Mo Cheeks, Mo Problems as I like to joke).

(Did I mention the Cavs barely needed Kyrie Irving tonight, who only had 13 points and six assists?)

With regards to Anthony Bennett, the sky’s the limit for him. Mike Brown said “we’ve seen him better than this. This is only the beginning for him.” The Wine & Gold really have confidence in this kid. But, it is fair to note, with all the Kwame Brown comparisons Bennett receives, that on March 17th, 2004, against the Sacramento Kings, Kwame had 30 points and 19 rebounds (this was during his 3rd season in the NBA, with the Wizards at the time); he never came close to those numbers ever again. But, it is also fair to note that this is Bennett’s rookie season, and with the help of Irving and veterans Jarrett Jack, Luol Deng, and the rest of the Cavs, this kid can be molded into a great player with the support of his team (mentoring is something Kwame didn’t experience early in his career with the Wizards).

For now, the Cavs are on the lookout for a playoff spot, and there’s a new King in town. Big Daddy Canada has only just begun his surge into the NBA’s big lights.

 

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