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Find out the scoop on the CAVS from award-winning sports writer Bob Finnan.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Raptors at Cavs

TORONTO RAPTORS (11-2) 110, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (5-7) 93
Quicken Loans Arena
Saturday
Radio: WTAM-AM 1100, WMMS-FM 100.7, La Mega-FM 97.7
TV: Fox Sports Ohio


QUICK SHOTS: 1. This team is now lost four in a row. Remember, there were people predicting they'd win 70-some games. That's, obviously, absurd. Unless things turn around quickly, this could be one of the biggest flops in NBA history.

2. It's hard to say when was the best time to face the Raptors, who are tied with Memphis for the best record in the league. The Raptors have a lot going for them right now, starting with their backcourt of DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry and backup Lou Williams. That trio combined for 79 points against the Cavaliers. Their roster is deep and talented. Let's not forget that they are well-coached with Dwane Casey.

3. I'd like to say the same thing about the Cavaliers. Right now, I can't. David Blatt's rotations and player substitutions are a mess. Bench players don't know when they are playing or if they are playing. On Friday in Washington, Dion Waiters was the fifth player Blatt brought into the game off the bench. He just tossed Brendan Haywood into the game after not seeing action in weeks. Maybe it was because he used to play in Washington. 

4. The players are starting to get bewildered. Their body language is terrible - and that starts with LeBron James. Blatt had better get a handle on all this in a hurry.

5. Blatt is hinting at a change in the starting lineup. Get Shawn Marion out of there. He can't shoot or handle, yet he's their starting shooting guard. I'd put Dion Waiters back in the starting lineup.

6. Kevin Love had a season-high 23 points and seven rebounds against the Raptors. That came at the right time, too. He looked like he was ready to go off on somebody.

7. Cavaliers guard Will Cherry spent five games with the Raptors in the preseason. Then he was waived and signed by the Cavs. He was guarding Lou Williams when he started going off. He ended with 36 points. Cherry is a D-League player. He's not an NBA player, and Williams recognized that in a hurry.

8. This Raptors team puts up points (110), but doesn't turn the ball over (8). Tonight was the third time they've had eight turnovers in games this week.

UP NEXT: vs. Orlando, Quicken Loans Arena, 7 p.m. Monday

STARTERS
SF LeBron James (6-8, 250) vs. Terrence Ross (6-7, 198)
PF Kevin Love (6-10, 243) vs. Amir Johnson (6-9, 249)
C Anderson Varejao (6-11, 267) vs. Jonas Valanciunas (7-0, 270)
SG Shawn Marion (6-7, 228) vs. DeMar DeRozan (6-7, 219)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 193) vs. Kyle Lowry (6-1, 204)
INACTIVE LIST
Cavs - G Matthew Dellavedova, C Alex Kirk
Raptors - F James Johnson, F/C Tyler Hansbrough
OFFICIALS
Scott Foster, Dedric Taylor, Josh Tiven


Friday, November 21, 2014

Cavs at Wizards

WASHINGTON WIZARDS (8-3) 91, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (5-6) 78
Verizon Center
Friday
Radio: WTAM-AM 1100, WMMS-FM 100.7, La Mega-FM 97.7
TV: Fox Sports Ohio, ESPN

QUICK SHOTS: 1. The Cavaliers are a sub-.500 team. Yes, I'm aware they are just 11 games into the season. The Cavaliers just aren't gelling like many thought they would. "It's just Game 11," apologists will say. How long are you going to use that excuse? It's Coach David Blatt's job to get this mess straightened out. Thus far, he's been a bit lacking in the leadership department. Patience is starting to run thin. This thing is starting to get away from them.


2. The Wizards are undoubtedly one of the top four teams in the Eastern Conference. The Cavaliers are going to see one of the other four Saturday when they play host to Toronto. Heck, for all we know, they could lose that one, too. Washington is a possible second-round playoff foe for the Cavaliers. If that happens, that would be a difficult series. Unlike in 2006, 2007 and 2008, the Wizards are capable of actually beating the Cavaliers in the playoffs. They are 5-0 vs. East teams at home this year.


3. The Cavaliers - more specifically Blatt - has to figure out a way to take advantage of Kevin Love's vast talent. Thus far, he's been a little above mediocre. He's shooting 38 percent from the field and is averaging 15 points and 10 rebounds. Those are Drew Gooden numbers. Not necessarily Kevin Love numbers.


4. The Kyrie Irving-John Wall match-up was one to keep your eye on. Irving has scored 20 or more points in six consecutive games. He's averaging 23.7 points in that six-game span. Wall is averaging 24 points, 10.2 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 2.9 steals in five games at Verizon Center this season. He leads all NBA guards with seven double-doubles, including five at home. Irving is the better jump shooter of the pair, but Wall is more athletic and a better playmaker. Wall was the best player on the court with a game-high 28 points, six rebounds, seven assists and four steals. He was 12 of 20 from the field.


5. The Cavaliers' bigs were totally outplayed by backup Kevin Seraphin, who finished with 12 points, six rebounds and three blocks. Some might not have heard of him, but they did after Friday's game. He was very good around the basket.




UP NEXT: vs. Toronto, Quicken Loans Arena, 7:30 p.m. Saturday

STARTERS
SF LeBron James (6-8, 250) vs. Paul Pierce (6-8, 230)
PF Kevin Love (6-10, 243) vs. Nene (6-11, 250)
C Anderson Varejao (6-11, 267) vs. Marcin Gortat (6-11, 240)
SG Shawn Marion (6-7, 228) vs. Garrett Temple (6-6, 195)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 193) vs. John Wall (6-4, 207)
INACTIVE LIST
Cavs - G Matthew Dellavedova, C Alex Kirk
Wizards - G/F Martell Webster, G Glen Rice
OFFICIALS
Ron Garretson, Sean Corbin, Justin Van Duyne

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Spurs at Cavs

SAN ANTONIO SPURS (7-4) 92, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (5-5) 90
Quicken Loans Arena
Wednesday
Radio: WTAM-AM 1100, WMMS-FM 100.7, La Mega-FM 97.7
TV: Fox Sports Ohio, ESPN

QUICK SHOTS: 1. Make no bones about it, Coach David Blatt made some peculiar decisions with his rotation and to quote him, they "paid the price." First of all, either Kyrie Irving or LeBron James needs to be on the court at all times. One can't yank both players off the floor and expect to play with teams like the Spurs. 

2. Blatt has been asked over and over about the mounting minutes. Well, he cut James' minutes and ran Joe Harris into the ground. Harris played 27 minutes in the game, including the last 20 in a row. Unfortunately, he didn't do much with five points.

3. James wasn't happy with the turnover at the end of the game, but he was happy with the progress the Cavaliers made. They competed on the defensive end. They held the Spurs to an opponent season-low 92 points and forced 16 turnovers. Irving was impressive with the way he hounded Tony Parker. Parker had eight points and three assists in 34 minutes. He shot 2 of 7 from the field. That is how Irving has to defend.

4. San Antonio was missing four rotation players with injuries, including guard Patty Mills (right shoulder surgery), forward/center Tiago Splitter (tightness in right calf), forward Matt Bonner (stomach virus) and guard Marco Belinelli (strained right groin). Some how they still found a way.

5. Forward/center Boris Diaw had 19 points, six rebounds, seven assists, three steals and a block. Both his points and assists were season highs. He just knows how to play. He knows how to make the right basketball play. If he needs to score, he does it.

6. As former Knicks and Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said in today's News-Herald, the Cavs' defense will decide how far this team goes this year. The ESPN analyst is absolutely right, too. Unless the Cavs buy in, they will be hard-pressed to get to the Eastern Conference finals. You know darn well that Chicago isn't going to have the same problem.

7. Lakers guard Kobe Bryant took over the league's lead in scoring over Cavs forward LeBron James. It could be a battle all season for league supremacy.

8. I have to admit I'm infatuated with Gregg Popovich. I love what his team is about. I love what he's about. I love everything about him, except for his surely moods. If a reporter doesn't ask a question the right way, he'll jump on him and almost try to embarrass him. He did it tonight in his pregame scrum with the media. 

UP NEXT: at Washington, Verizon Center, 7:30 p.m. Friday

STARTERS
SF LeBron James (6-8, 250) vs. Kawhi Leonard (6-7, 230)
PF Kevin Love (6-10, 243) vs. Tim Duncan (6-11, 250)
C Anderson Varejao (6-11, 267) vs. Boris Diaw (6-8, 250)
SG Shawn Marion (6-7, 228) vs. Danny Green (6-6, 215)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 193) vs. Tony Parker (6-2, 185)
INACTIVE LIST
Cavs - G Matthew Dellavedova, C Alex Kirk
Spurs - G Patty Mills, F/C Tiago Splitter
OFFICIALS
Ed Malloy, Derrick Collins, Leroy Richardson

Monday, November 17, 2014

Nuggets at Cavs

DENVER NUGGETS (3-7) 106, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (5-4) 97
Quicken Loans Arena
Monday
Radio: WTAM-AM 1100, WMMS-FM 100.7, La Mega-FM 97.7
TV: Fox Sports Ohio, NBA TV

QUICK SHOTS: 1. The Cavaliers split the season series with the Nuggets. They handled the Nuggets in Denver on Nov. 7, 110-101. That was the start of the Cavaliers' four-game winning streak. Of course, that streak ended tonight.

2. Point guard Ty Lawson missed the earlier meeting. He made his presence felt tonight, as he destroyed anyone who tried to guard him. He had a game-high 24 points, 12 assists and two steals. It got so bad, the Cavaliers tried LeBron James on him in the late going, to no avail. 

3. For the first time since March 3, 2000, at Dallas, the Cavaliers had four players score 20 or more points. Yet, they never reached 100 for the game. It also showed they got almost nothing from the other players on the roster.

4. Guard Dion Waiters had a season-high 20 points for the Cavaliers, including 16 in the second half. He made 9 of 16 attempts from the field.

5. The Cavaliers connected on 10 3-pointers. They've reached double digits in 3-point goals in three of the last four outings. 

6. Swingman Mike Miller must be less than 100 percent. He played four scoreless minutes in the game. He did attempt a 3-pointer. He's 2 of 11 from behind the arc this season. The Cavaliers are still waiting for him to make some positive plays. He was brought to the team to help spread the floor. He still does that, but soon opposing teams will quit guarding him at the 3-point line.

7. Forward LeBron James came into the game leading the league in scoring at 27.8 points per game. In his previous five games, he averaged 31.6 points, 6.2 rebounds and 7.6 assists. He was named Player of the Week for the 46th time in his career earlier in the day.

UP NEXT: vs. San Antonio, The Q, 7 p.m. Wednesday

STARTERS
SF LeBron James (6-8, 250) vs. Wilson Chandler (6-7, 225)
PF Kevin Love (6-10, 243) vs. Kenneth Faried (6-8, 228)
C Anderson Varejao (6-11, 267) vs. Timofey Mozgov (7-1, 250)
SG Shawn Marion (6-7, 228) vs. Arron Afflalo (6-4, 215)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 193) vs. Ty Lawson (5-11, 195)
INACTIVE LIST
Cavs - G Matthew Dellavedova, C Alex Kirk
Nuggets - C Jusuf Nurkic, F/C J.J. Hickson
OFFICIALS
John Goble, Haywoode Workman, Sean Wright


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Hawks at Cavs

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (5-3) 127, ATLANTA HAWKS (5-4) 94
Quicken Loans Arena
Saturday
Radio: WTAM-AM 1100, WMMS-FM 100.7, La Mega-FM 97.7
TV: Fox Sports Ohio

QUICK SHOTS: 1. The Cavaliers made quick work of the league's hottest team with a 41-point first quarter. The Hawks had won four in a row coming into Saturday's game, but were no match for the Cavaliers. Coach David Blatt's team has now won four in a row. Atlanta had won its last four meetings against the Cavaliers, including all three games last season.

2. Some people are forgetting about the Hawks in the Eastern Conference playoff race. When it's all said and done, they'll be among the top eight teams. They have three formidable players, including Paul Millsap, Al Horford and Jeff Teague. Millsap is averaging 16 points and eight rebounds.

3. Teague also has had much success against Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving, who had much to do with his team's comeback in Boston on Friday. Irving had 15 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter. He started draining 3-pointers in the fourth. He ended up 3 of 7 from behind the arc. The most impressive thing about the way he's playing is the lack of turnovers. He played 68 minutes in games against Boston and Atlanta, respectively, with a turnover. He held Teague to just five points.

4. Forward LeBron James is averaging 31.8 points in the Cavaliers' win streak. He's starting to take over late in the games, which is needed right now.

5. Rookie guard Joe Harris is making his move. The coaches love how hard he's playing. He's also making big shots in key junctures of the game. He had a career-high 12 points, four rebounds and four assists against the Hawks. He will continue to get more and more minutes. He defends, which is needed on this team.

UP NEXT: vs. Denver, The Q, 7 p.m. Monday

STARTERS
SF LeBron James (6-8, 250) vs. Thabo Sefolosha (6-7, 220)
PF Kevin Love (6-10, 243) vs. Paul Millsap (6-8, 246)
C Anderson Varejao (6-11, 267) vs. Al Horford (6-10, 245)
SG Shawn Marion (6-7, 228) vs. Kyle Korver (6-7, 212)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 193) vs. Jeff Teague (6-2, 186)
INACTIVE LIST
Cavs - G Matthew Dellavedova, C Alex Kirk
Hawks - F DeMarre Carroll, F/C Adreian Payne
OFFICIALS
Derrick Stafford, Nick Buchert, Gediminas Petraitis

Friday, November 14, 2014

Cavs at Celtics

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (4-3) 122, BOSTON CELTICS (3-5) 121
TD Garden
Friday
Radio: WTAM-AM 1100, WMMS-FM 100.7, La Mega-FM 97.7
TV: Fox Sports Ohio

QUICK SHOTS: 1. LeBron James exploded for a season-high 41 points and seven assists for the Cavaliers. His team needed every one of them. They fought all the way back from a 19-point deficit to see the Celtics have a chance to win the game at the end.

2. However, Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, who was being guarded by Shawn Marion, lost the handle on the ball and never got up a shot at the buzzer. This is the same man who dished out a game-high 16 assists. Yet, in crunch time, he loses the handle. An incredible turn of events.

3. Cavaliers coach David Blatt's homecoming couldn't have been better. He grew up in Framingham, Mass., about 20 miles west of Boston. He lived and died with the Celtics as a kid. Obviously, he's no longer a huge Celtics fan. The Cavaliers improved to 3-2 on the road this season, which made Blatt's day.

4. The Cavaliers committed just 11 turnovers in the game, which led to 14 points for the Celtics. James had three turnovers. The rest of the starting lineup had two. Point guard Kyrie Irving played 41 minutes in the game. He didn't have a turnover.

 5. The Cavaliers have been one of the best free-throw shooting teams in the league. However, on Friday, they converted 28 of 37 (76 percent). Had they been better at the foul line, they would have won handily. 

6. The Cavaliers ran into old friend Tyler Zeller, who was dealt to Boston in July. The Cavaliers were trying to carve out cap space to sign James. It had to be done. Yet, Zeller would have been a solid backup center for years to come. As soon as he was traded, the Cavaliers front court was a bit depleted. And on top of that, he was a neat guy. Also, Dwight Powell is a member of the team. He never played with the Cavaliers, but was on their roster all summer. Zeller ended with eight points and no rebounds in 15 minutes.

5. The Cavaliers have now won three in a row, including their last two on the road. The Celtics had a three-game winning streak snapped against the Cavaliers. Boston swept the season series against them last season. 

6. The Cavaliers shipped rookie center Alex Kirk to the D-League on Friday. He be in the lineup for the Canton Charge's home opener against Delaware on Saturday. He'll miss at least the Cavaliers' two weekend games vs. Boston and home against Atlanta.

UP NEXT: vs. Atlanta, The Q, 7:30 p.m. Saturday

STARTERS
SF LeBron James (6-8, 250) vs. Jeff Green (6-9, 235)
PF Kevin Love (6-10, 243) vs. Jared Sullinger (6-9, 280)
C Anderson Varejao (6-11, 267) vs. Kelly Olynyk (7-0, 238)
SG Shawn Marion (6-7, 228) vs. Avery Bradley (6-2, 180)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 193) vs. Rajon Rondo (6-1, 186)
INACTIVE LIST
Cavs - G Matthew Dellavedova, C Alex Kirk
Celtics - C Vitor Faverani, G Marcus Smart
OFFICIALS
Bill Spooner, Marat Kogut, Scott Wall

Monday, November 10, 2014

Pelicans at Cavs

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (3-3) 118, NEW ORLEANS PELICANS (3-3) 111
Quicken Loans Arena
Monday
Radio: WTAM-AM 1100, WMMS-FM 100.7, La Mega-FM 97.7
TV: Fox Sports Ohio

QUICK SHOTS: 1. Stop the presses. The Cavaliers are moving the ball and when that happens, they score points, lots of points. They dished out a season-high 27 assists. They have 52 assists in the last two games after the debacle in Utah when they had a franchise-low six assists. 

2. That ball movement led to 13 3-point goals. Forward Kevin Love drained 6 of 9 from the 3-point line and Kyrie Irving connected on 4 of 7. 

3. Yet, was Coach David Blatt happy with the effort? No. He's concerned with the Cavaliers' defense. When a team allows 111 points, they are usually talking about a loss afterward. They were pretty good offensively, sparked by LeBron James' triple-double. He ended with 32 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. He was fantastic.

4. I touched on this in my game story, but there were more than a few whispers about his lack of explosion It came back on Monday. He apologized for playing below the rim at shootaround on Monday. He went out and had some high-flying dunks against the Pelicans. I have a feeling he'll be all right.

5. Love talked a bit about Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson after the game. He said he has one of the quickest releases on his shot in the league. You really have to crowd him at the 3-point line. If you don't, he's going to make a 3-pointer. He made 8 of 12 from behind the arc en route to 32 points. 

6. The Cavaliers outrebounded New Orleans, 45-40. They have to assert themselves on the boards. They should be the best rebounding team in the league. James, of course, was the team's leading rebounder. Who was next on the stat sheet? Shawn Marion with eight.

7. James, Irving and Love combined for 61 of the Cavaliers' 67 points in the second half. Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson and Marion had field goals in the second half.

8. How good is Anthony Davis? I think he's the best power forward in the league. He's better than Love, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge and anyone else you can think of. His line on the stat sheet read like this: 27 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals, 3 blocks. He was 12 of 21 from the field. Make sure you check out David Glasier's feature on him in the paper.

UP NEXT: at Boston, TD Garden, 7:30 p.m. Friday

STARTERS
SF LeBron James (6-8, 250) vs. Tyreke Evans (6-6, 220)
PF Kevin Love (6-10, 243) vs. Anthony Davis (6-10, 220)
C Anderson Varejao (6-11, 267) vs. Omer Asik (7-0, 255)
SG Shawn Marion (6-7, 228) vs. Eric Gordon (6-3, 215)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 193) vs. Jrue Holiday (6-4, 205)
INACTIVE LIST
Cavs - G Dion Waiters, G Matthew Dellavedova
Pelicans - F Luke Babbitt, F Darius Miller
OFFICIALS
Joe Crawford, Pat Fraher, Ben Taylor