The Cleveland Cavaliers traveled to Colorado on Friday for a fast-paced contest against the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets and Cavaliers are two different types of teams: the Nuggets like to run like crazy and score on fast breaks every chance they get, and the Cavs are a slower-paced team that head coach Mike Brown is trying to mold into a prideful defensive squad.
On Friday night, the Cavs managed to beat the Nuggets at their own game. Trying to keep up with the Nuggets is a risky game, but the Cavs held their own for sure. Despite trailing at the end of the first quarter, 29-26, the Cavs outscored the Nuggets 42-28 to take a 68-57 halftime lead.
The Cavs wouldn’t let the Nuggets take the lead back. Tristan Thompson led the way for the Wine and Gold with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Kyrie Irving scored 23 points and dished out four assists.
The biggest positive for the Cavs, other than the 117-109 road win, was the continued dominance on the glass by center Anderson Varejao. With 16 more rebounds on Friday, Varejao is now averaging 13.6 rebounds in his last 12 games. Varejao has become a very impactful rebounder in his previous three seasons. In 2012, he averaged 11.5 rebounds during his injury-shortened 25-game season, and in 25 games last season, he averaged a league-high 14.4 rebounds. On the season, Varejao is averaging 10.1 rebounds, but over half of his games have come off of the bench for the Cavs. With Andrew Bynum gone, expect Varejao’s rebounding numbers to continue to increase.