Able to fight off a late rally with some buckets from Anderson Varejao, the Cleveland Cavaliers upended the Brooklyn Nets, 98-94, for their first victory of the season. It was an impressive effort for the new-look Cavs against a Nets team aiming to make a Finals run.
While the Cavaliers typically go as star guard Kyrie Irving goes, the team's big men came through Wednesday night. With Irving's shot falling wayward -- he was just 4-of-16 on the night -- the team got strong performances from Varejao and Tristan Thompson against a strong Brooklyn front line.
Thompson was especially impressive during the first three quarters as the Cavaliers built a nine-point lead. After opening the game with a pair of misses in the first minute, the third-year big man delivered the rest of the way with 18 points and nine rebounds on 8-of-13 shooting. Meanwhile, Varejao added 11 points and eight rebounds, and Irving still compiled 15 points, nine assists and seven rebounds despite a weak shooting effort.
The Nets struggled badly on offense, shooting just 40 percent from the field. The team's starting front line -- Brook Lopez, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce -- combined to score 46 points on 18-of-34 (53 percent) shooting, but the rest of the roster faltered and hit just 15-of-48 (31 percent) shots from the field.
Also worth noting from the game was the brief appearance of center Andrew Bynum. Returning after a year-plus of injuries, he played eight minutes off the bench.