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

Thursday, January 31, 2008


Cavs blog by Bob Finnan

With just seconds remaining in the first half of Wednesday's game in Portland, Coach Mike Brown's life probably passed before him.

On a drive to the basket, All-Star forward LeBron James came up limping. He went to the locker room with about 20 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Word soon circulated that James had a sprained right ankle.

He came out to start the third quarter, but clearly his ankle bothered him. He played tentatively for most of the third quarter. Then in the fourth, he went spastic. He scored 17 of his game-high 37 points in the final quarter. He outscored the Trail Blazers, 17-15, in the fourth quarter. His driving layup with 0.3 seconds left was the game-winner in the Cavs' 84-83 win.

James said afterward, his ankle will likely be barking in the morning. Remember, the Cavs face Seattle tonight, the final game of the three-game West Coast trip.

Another injury to a key player would have been disastrous. The Cavs are already missing guard Sasha Pavlovic and forward/center Anderson Varejao.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Andy sidelined

cavs blog by Bob Finnan

Of course, the Cavs aren't saying, but the sprained left ankle suffered by valuable forward/center Anderson Varejao appears to be serious.

If he's forced to miss a few games, that will affect the Cavs' big-man rotation in a big way. He rolled his ankle with 3:12 left in the third quarter of Sunday's win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Andy had been leading all NBA reserves in rebounds with 8.7 per game. In his last six games, he was averaging 9.5 rebounds. He had just four on Sunday before limping off the court.

One option could be to give veteran Donyell Marshall some playing time. He's back to full health, and has been active in each of the last two games.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Bitter loss for wine and gold

Cavs blog by Bob Finnan

No matter what the players are saying, the Cavaliers' 110-108 loss to the Phoenix Suns was a bitter pill to swallow.

That was evidenced by All-Star forward LeBron James kicking over a garbage can on the way to the locker room. This guy plays with fire, and plays to win. He must have missed three or four layups in this game. Some how, they rolled off the rim.

"We had a good effort," James said, "but at the end of the day it's a loss."

There haven't been many losses since the calendar turned to January. Their last loss was in Atlanta on Jan. 9.

They were playing so well, it was going to take a good effort from the opposition to beat them. That's what it took from the Suns, who made 17 of 33 3-pointers.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wild and crazy night at The Q

Cavs blog by Bob Finnan

The Washington Capitols' Earl Lloyd, the first African-American player in the NBA, was on hand for Wednesday's game. He took the court on Oct. 31, 1950. “The Big Cat” played 560 games in nine NBA seasons. He was part of the Cavs’ Black Heritage Celebration.

He got to watch one of the zaniest games ever played in the building. The Cavs aren't nearly this good, and the Wizards aren't nearly this bad. Both teams came into the game riding hot streaks, but the Cavs just knocked the socks off the Wizards.

This could come into play later in the season, as the two teams could be competing for a high seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Cavs moved into fourth place on Wednesday, and have their eye on the third spot.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Horrible memory

Cavs blog by Bob Finnan

When Cavs center Zydrunas Ilgauskas crashed to the floor Monday in his team's 97-90 win over Miami, it brought back vivid memories of a terrible time for him.

This reporter flashed back to Dec. 22, 2000, when he broke a bone in his foot in the same arena. The Cavs had gotten off to a great start that season, 15-7, under then Coach Randy Wittman.

Wittman thinks the Cavs would have made the playoffs that year. Instead, when Ilgauskas went down in a heap, the season went down the tubes.

When Heat center Mark Blount fell into the side of his right leg on Monday, I could tell that Z was scared he had suffered another devastating injury. Instead, he said his calf was painful afterward, and his right knee appears to be OK.

I'm sure he'll be tested further when the Cavs get home. But Z - and the Cavs - might have dodged a bullet on Monday.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Saved by the bell

Cavs blog by Bob Finnan

Spurs swingman Manu Ginobili caused the Cavs' defense fits the entire night. He was practically unguardable for long stretches of that game. He made 10 of 15 shots en route to his 31-point effort.

Luckily for the Cavs, he missed the one that counted, as time expired. He had a clean look at a 15-foot jumper, but it hit off the front of the rim.

Cavs coach Mike Brown was asked how teams keep Ginobili in check.

"I did pray before I came to the game," Brown said. "I think that helped."

On second thought, maybe it didn't. Ginobili had a game-high 31 points.

He's quite a load, as is guard Tony Parker (23 points, six assists) and power forward Tim Duncan (20 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks).

The Cavs (21-18) are officially on a roll, and have struggling Miami next on the schedule on Monday.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Harder than it should have been

Cavs blog by Bob Finnan

Even though the Memphis Grizzlies have lost five in a row, they certainly didn't roll over for the Cavs on Wednesday at FedExForum.

The Cavs needed every one of LeBron James' 51 points to escape with a 132-124 win. It was the most points scored by the Cavs since Jan. 15, 1993, in a 132-120 victory over Indiana - 15 years to the day.

It was James' fourth career 50-point game. All have come on the road. It was the fourth time he's topped 40 points this year (the Cavs are 4-0).

They are 4-1 in overtime games this season. They've now won eight of their last 10 games to move two games over .500 (20-18).

They travel to San Antonio at 8:15 p.m. Thursday for their first appearance there since the NBA Finals. The game will be televised by TNT.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Rebounding dominance

Cavs blog by Bob Finnan

Before the game, everyone scurried around Quicken Loans Arena trying to figure out whether Cavaliers forward/center Anderson Varejao was going to play.

The 6-10, 240-pounder had bruised his knee and strained his Achilles tendon on Wednesday in Atlanta. With three off days after the Charlotte game, maybe it made more sense not to play on Friday.

But Varejao wanted to play. He tested it out on the practice court before the game to see if he was able. The doctors gave him the OK.

He went out and had perhaps his best game as a pro. He had a season-high 16 points and matched his career high with 18 rebounds. Teammate LeBron James had a career-high 19 rebounds. It was the first time in team history the Cavs have had two players record at least 18 rebounds.

It was a banner night all around, as the Cavs won 113-106 in double overtime.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Sasha's problems

Cavs blog by Bob Finnan

Talk about invisible minutes. Let's examine Cavaliers shooting guard Sasha Pavlovic's night in Atlanta.

He was 0 of 2 from the field, 0 of 1 from the 3-point line, didn't get to the foul line, had no points or assists, one rebound, one turnover and four personal fouls. He played almost 15 minutes, and it would have been hard for Coach Mike Brown to play him any more.

Sasha really followed up his 13-point effort against Seattle with a strong game, huh? This guy is totally lost right now, even worse than Larry Hughes. Hughes continued his "fine" play with five points and five rebounds. However, he was 2 of 11 from the field.

If the Cavs starting backcourt isn't the worst in professional basketball (that might include the D-League), then please set me straight. Luckily for the Cavs, Brown recognizes it, too, and has been getting Hughes and Pavlovic out of the game, especially in the pivotal fourth quarters.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Sympathy for the devil

Cavs blog by Bob Finnan

Upon walking to the Cavaliers coach Mike Brown's post-game press conference on Tuesday, I ran into agent Dan Fegan.

While I wondered aloud why Fegan was on hand, one smart aleck said, "To renegotiate."

Guffaws ensued. I stopped to talk to Fegan after I left the locker room. He said he spent two days in Cleveland visiting his client, Cavs forward/center Anderson Varejao, who is playing very well right now. He had 14 points and nine rebounds on Tuesday.

"He's so important to this team," Fegan said.

Fegan said he had just visited Charlotte, where he has clients Jason Richardson and Matt Carroll.

He said he wanted to get around and visit all of his clients in the league.

Just so you know, he didn't have horns coming out of the top of his head. He was quite friendly and very well spoken. He probably is a great guy, too, until you sit across from him on the negotiating table.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Some observations from another country

Cavs blog by Bob Finnan

Why has Damon Jones sat on the bench for seven games? It's absolutely absurd, especially with the putrid guard play we've watched for most of this season.

The guy knows how to play. Bottom line. He can shoot the 3-pointer, which is always needed in today's NBA. There's no question he should be in Coach Mike Brown's rotation.

Speaking of point guards, Toronto's Jose Calderon is going to make a lot of money. I'm in the opinion that he's better than the injured T.J. Ford. He's certainly more dependable. He had 16 points, 11 assists and four rebounds on Sunday against the Cavs. He's going to be a restricted free agent this summer.

Also, even though Raptors forward Chris Bosh has a great video on You Tube promoting his status in the All-Star Game, he was anything but a monster on the boards in Sunday's game. He had 23 points and five rebounds in Sunday's game.

LeBron James obviously loves playing in Toronto. He had a career-high 56 points three years ago in Toronto. His 24-point performance in the fourth quarter on Sunday was amazing. He just got in a roll and never stopped. It was fun to watch.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Not an easy win

Cavs blog by Bob Finnan

No matter who the Cavaliers seem to play, fans expect a blowout.

The Sacramento Kings waltzed into Cleveland on Friday missing four players, including starters Mike Bibby, Kevin Martin and Ron Artest.

So, naturally, the fans expected the Cavs to roll over them. Not so fast there guys. As LeBron James described, these are still NBA players the Kings are putting out on the floor. Lesser known players, yes, but still capable players.

Guard John Salmons is getting his chance to shine in those players' absences, and he is starting to shine.

Point guard Beno Udrih is also playing well. Since we're on the subject, why didn't the Cavs take a look at him when Minnesota waived him? He's a pure point guard who can score and run the offense. It looks like a no-brainer to me.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Defense is name of game

Cavs blog by Bob Finnan

There's no question, when the Cavs defend, they win. It's as simple as that. In their last four games, the Cavs have held their opponents to 40.5 percent shooting and an average of 85.8 points.

It's not a sexy topic, and perhaps the readers are tired of hearing about it, but that's what it's going to take for the Cavs to continue the run they are on. They've won 3 of the last 4 games, and have several winnable games coming up on the schedule.

The Hawks shot 40.5 percent from the field on Wednesday in the Cavs' 98-94 win. By the way, the Hawks have talent, as evidenced by the fact they are over .500.