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

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tale of two players

Cavs playoff blog by Bob Finnan

In three home games in this series, Cavs center Zydrunas Ilgauskas has averaged 19 points and 8.7 rebounds.

In the two road games, he's been a different player and averaged 9.0 points.

It's important that he shows up in Game 6. That's because the Wizards are going to come out with fire in their eyes with a chance to knot the series at 3 games apiece.

Z was good on Wednesday, though, with 19 points, six rebounds, two blocks and two steals. He was 8 of 11 from the field.

He totally outplayed Wizards center Brendan Haywood, who had four points and five rebounds before fouling out.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Big Ben

Cavs playoff blog by Bob Finnan

Now that was the kind of performance the Cavaliers have been looking for from veteran power forward Ben Wallace.

The 6-9 forward had 12 rebounds, four on the offensive glass, two blocks, two steals and two assists. He didn't score, but didn't attempt a shot from the field. He missed both free throw attempts.

"All he cares about winning," Cavs forward LeBron James said. "You never see a power forward with no shot attempts."

Actually, the Cavs don't want Wallace to shoot - ever. Maybe if he has a wide-open dunk. He's not exactly Carlos Boozer on the offensive end. Wallace has become quite surly to reporters as of late. The few people who know him say he gets that way in the postseason.

He's not been saying much to the media since he was asked about a foul he had on Caron Butler early in the series. When asked about it, he said, "You're asking me about that foul? This is the playoffs." And, that was it.

He can be a mime as far as I'm concerned if he continues to play like he did on Sunday. He definitely impacted the game, something he hasn't done much of since he was sent to Cleveland on Feb. 21.

He did a good job of Brendan Haywood for a long stretch of Sunday's game. He's becoming a key part of the playoff puzzle for the Cavs. If the Cavs get past the Wizards - they'll likely close out the series on Wednesday - he'll be needed against Celtics forward Kevin Garnett in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

They want a split

Cavs blog by Bob Finnan

The Cavs were beaten, pounded, ripped and torn in Game 3 at the Verizon Center. It's hard to imagine them playing any worse after their 108-72 humbling loss. The Wizards are very much alive in the series and trail, 2-1.

But the Cavs wanted a split in these two games in Washington. If they accomplish that on Sunday in Game 4, they'll be able to go home in Game 5 and close out the series. So, all is not lost.

Wizards swingman Caron Butler finally emerged in the series with a strong game. After all, he's been guarded by Wally Szczerbiak, anything but a good defender. One smart aleck said Butler has made Szczerbiak looked like Bruce Bowen in the first two games of the series.

No one played well for the Cavs, who turned the ball over 23 times and shot just 39.7 percent from the field.

Monday, April 21, 2008

No suspension

Cavs blog by Bob Finnan

It's unlikely that Wizards center Brendan Haywood will be suspended by NBA vice president of operations Stu Jackson after his flagrant-2 foul on LeBron James.

James said while in mid-air, he reminisced about breaking his wrist in an AAU game in Chicago during his junior year. I remember being in Chicago that summer for the pre-draft camp. Some kid named James was tearing it up that summer, but he wasn't quite on my radar yet.

I knew who he was, but he wasn't with the Cavs yet, and every media outlet in Northeast Ohio hadn't started covering all his high school games just yet. That didn't happen until his senior year, and every paper, radio station and TV station in the upper part of the state started chronicling his every move.

He was dominant on the prep level, and he's dominant in the NBA right now. He was fabulous in Monday's game with 30 points, 12 assists, nine rebounds and two blocks. The Wizards can't defend him, certainly not by DeShawn Stevenson.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Entertaining series

Cavs blog by Bob Finnan

This is going to be a knock-down, drag-out playoff series.

Things are just starting to heat up. The Cavs' little skirmish just before halftime was just the tip of the iceburg. There could be a fight before it's all said and done.

That's why Coach Mike Brown stressed for his team to keep its poise in this series. The Cavs prevailed in Game 1, 93-86.

There was a lot of talking going on, and a lot of physical play. LeBron James got hit in the mouth on one drive to the basket in the first quarter. He came back on the next possession and elbowed Andray Blatche in the jaw.

Players were being knocked down all over the court. It looked more like a hockey match.

Both teams expected this kind of series. Game 1 didn't disappoint.

There's not much separating these two teams. The Cavs pay more attention to defense, while the Wizards are far superior on offense. Guard Gilbert Arenas didn't look like he missed 66 games this year with knee surgery when he poured in three 3-pointers in a span of 1:33 in the first and second quarters.

He finished with 24 points and said he wore down a bit at the end.

Swingman Caron Butler is a bit banged up, which might account for his 14 points and four rebounds. Many thought he'd shred Wally Szczerbiak, but the latter held his own on the defensive end. Expect the Wizards to concentrate on this matchup a little more in Game 2.

Now, the Cavs have to find someone to defend power forward Antawn Jamison, who had 23 points and 19 rebounds. He's a bit unorthodox in his approach, but he definitely gets the job done.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I got a 'noser'

Cavs blog by Bob Finnan

For the third time in the last four seasons, I correctly predicted the Cavaliers' record in the preseason. In the Oct. 31 paper, I predicted the Cavs would go 45-37. After Wednesday's loss to Detroit, that was their record.

I was getting scared toward the end of the season, but I hit it right on the nose.

If only I was so accurrate in the stock market.

Monday, April 14, 2008

No refunds given

Cavs blog by Bob Finnan

The Cavs are shooting for their franchise-record 33rd sellout of the season on Wednesday against the Detroit Pistons. It will be Fan Appreciation Night, as almost a million dollars in prizes will be given away.

Fans might want to attend to try to win a free Kia.

But they won't be real excited when they get there and they find out LeBron James probably won't play. Don't be surprised if Coach Mike Brown also sits Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Ben Wallace.

Fans might get their first extended look at Lance Allred, who might play a lot.

There will also be a change in the starting lineup at shooting guard. Sasha Pavlovic will probably be out for the rest of the year. He was taken out of the arena in a wheelchair.

The most logical choice would be to insert Devin Brown back as the starter. His other option would be to stick Wally Szczerbiak in there at the "2." Wally didn't play a second in the Philadelphia game on Monday.

I talked to Sasha at length before the game about being in and out of the lineup. He had no idea he was going to start on Monday. None of the players have any idea of playing time. Coach Mike Brown said only LeBron James and Zydrunas Ilgauskas are a lock to be in the starting lineup.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Going back to D.C.

Cavs blog by Bob Finnan

The Cavs are headed back to Washington for the first round of the playoffs. The Cavs need a win tonight in Philadelphia or on Wednesday against Detroit to wrap up the No. 4 seed.

The Cavs have to finish one game ahead of the Wizards to earn homecourt advantage in the frist round. The two teams are tied 2-2 in the season series, but the Wizards hold the second tie-breaker (conference record).

It's going to be a battle, and one the Cavs might not be favored to win. They are limping toward the finish line. They played horrible against the worst team in the laegue on Sunday. If they take that kind of effort into the Wizards series, they will get obliterated.

Some in the media say they are going to pick the Wizards in the seven-game series. I'm not quite there yet. I think LeBron James might be the difference in the series, especially with all the trash talk coming out of Washington. Guard Gilbert Arenas is really spouting off about the Cavs on his blog on It's worth checking out.

It's going to be fun, especially when James goes against DeShawn Stevenson in Game 1. It was Stevenson who called James "overrated" the last time the Cavs were in D.C.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Boobie's foot

Cavs blog by Bob Finnan

There was a funny scene in the locker room after the Cavs' loss to Chicago. While congregating around LeBron James, one Chicago-area reporter stepped on Daniel "Boobie" Gibson's foot.

He let out a yelp. "Oh, (expletive)!" he yelled.

Many players laughed, including James.

If Gibson had shown that much emotion on the court, the Cavs would have been better off. He missed all six of his shots from the field and all four from behind the arc for zero points.

He did play good defense in the second half, but he's got to make some shots. Guard/forward Wally Szczerbiak is in the same boat. He was just 1 of 5 from the field for two points in Friday's game.

Those two players get paid to make shots. Any defense, rebounds or assits they provide are a bonus. Gibson, however, is capable of doing so much more than make shots, even though he's pegged a shooter.

Coach Mike Brown said Szczerbiak is a natural scorer, even though he's been up and down since coming to the Cavs.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

'No rhyme or reason'

Cavaliers blog

When I asked Cavs coach Mike Brown why he decided to play Sasha Pavlovic for the first time in five games, he replied, "There's no rhyme or reason."
Well, the same can be said about his rotations. Sometimes (often times?) they just don't add up. Yes, Brown needed to play Daniel "Boobie" Gibson to get him up to snuff. He was playing 20-some minutes in the last few games and not really getting the job done. But it paid off on Wednesday against New Jersey, when Gibson had 12 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals.
He's needed for this team to get where it needs to go.
But why Damon Jones hasn't been playing just doesn't make sense. Inevitably, Brown will come back to Jones. He did it in the playoffs two years ago against Washington, when Jones' big shot closed out the series. He deserves to be playing, even though Brown must find minutes for Gibson and Wally Szczerbiak.
It's going to be practically impossible to also find minutes for Pavlovic. After all, there are only so many minutes to split among X-number of players. And, no matter what Brown does, he'll be questioned by fans and the media. He's got to go with his gut and worry about the consequences later.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

LBJ isn't right

Cavs blog by Bob Finnan

He leads the NBA in fourth-quarter scoring.

But in the last two games, LeBron James has been ordinary. That's not a word used very often when describing James. On Saturday, James was 1 of 7 from the field for four points in the fourth quarter. On Thursday against Chicao, he was 1 of 5 for one point in the final quarter.

Do you think something is off here? We're talking about the best player in the league, a guy who has dominated teams in the fourth quarter all season. Suddenly, he can't do what he's done all season.

Back spasms have hampered his game. He's not able to take over games in the late going, and the Cavs have not been able to compensate for it. He probably should shut it down for a few games just to get ready for the playoffs.

But the problem with that is that the Cavs have yet to wrap up the fourth seed in the playoffs. If they had already clinched, I'm sure Coach Mike Brown would sit James and allow him to heal.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Bang the gong

Cavs blog by Bob Finnan

In the fourth quarter of the Cavs' frustrating loss to Chicago, Anderson Varejao found a wide-open Ben Wallace under the basket.

Wallace went up for the slam dunk, but couldn't elevate over the rim. Before he even hit the ground, the arena's sound system played the gong sound.

A little background is in order. Whenever Wallace blocks a shot or makes a big dunk, they play the gong sound. On Thursday, after the missed dunk, someone hit the button and aborted it quickly. So, it was really an abbreviated bong.

People in the stands howled with laughter. Not so much because the 6-9 Wallace missed the dunk, but because of the sound effects.

I have to admit, it was one of the funniest things I've seen in a while.