Dion finished the game with 24 points on 11-18 from the field in just 23 minutes, matching Kyrie for scoring in 15 less minutes. floaters, 3 pointers, drives and one emphatic dunk. But what stood out to me more than anything was trust in his team, not demanding the ball and his ability to adapt to play with a player he hasnt played in an nba game with yet, Spencer Hawes. Take early into the game for example. 4:32 remaining in the first quarter, Dion has Manu Ginobili on an ISO, but instead kicks the ball out to a wide open Hawes for a 3 pointer.
Not only would Dion of a month ago have driven the ball in this situation, but he damn well wouldn't be passing out to anyone above the free throw line. If anything, he would have driven and passed to Deng on the far corner. Instead, he shows composure, faith in his new team mate, and gets rewarded. Put this down to lack of 'bounce' coming off an injury. But id like to think it is due to a rising maturity and understanding of the game.
Earlier on in the game, Dion looked to still favour his right hand, shooting a teardrop instead of a strong left handed layup. however as the game progresses I noticed some nice little improvements that were worth noting.
He showed the confidence in his mismatch against a smaller matchup to post up, and instead of giving up on a play when the ball didnt come, he showed patience and made a perfect cut at the right time to an easy bucket (1:00 remaining in Q1)
Then what happened? Dion brought his LEFT HAND, something not only has he struggled with this season, but he has actively gone to his right hand on the left hand side, getting blocked a higher percentage of the time than if he would have simply gone left.
Take this play: 7:18 left in Q2. Dion easily beats his man, and gets to the basket where help defence is waiting, if he used his right hand here, it would be a block, however he finished with a PERFECT high glass finger roll that got me out of my seat as I watched.
Hopefully this gets some energy and faith into Dion and he continues to make improvements. I think that playing in the rising stars challenge has given Dion the mindset that to be a star in the NBA he has some work to do. I expect big things.
Granted, the Spurs gave the Cavs a thrashing, but positives can be drawn from the game, and I will draw them
This team has got me excited again and I can't wait to see the Cavs playing playoff basketball again.