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

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Very good team

I can't impress you readers enough with how good a team the Atlanta Hawks have become. With that said, the Cavs just dismantled the Hawks for about three quarters on Saturday.

The Hawks came back in the late going to make the final score look respectful, 102-96. The Hawks are the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference. It's not out of the question that they could be the Cavs' second-round opponent.

If that's the case, it won't be an easy series by any means. I've become a big fan of Al Horford, who has really grown as a player. He had a game-high 11 rebounds in Saturday's game.

The Hawks' backcourt of Mike Bibby and Joe Johnson is also very strong. Johnson had 24 points to lead the Hawks.

If these two teams meet in the playoffs - I'm not sure who to pick between Atlanta and Miami - the Cavs' backcourt of Mo Williams and Delonte West will be hard-pressed in the matchup.

ANDY SHOWS UP - The Cavs weren't completely sure Anderson Varejao was going to play in the Hawks game. He was questionable coming in with a quad bruise.

Cavs coach Mike Brown did his Sgt. Schultz routine before the game when asked about Varejao's status. "I know nothing," he said.

Varejao finished with eight rebounds, a total that was matched by rookie Darnell Jackson.

HIGH ON DARNELL - Now, one can see why Brown is so high on Jackson. He plays hard, hits the boards and isn't afraid to knock someone on his butt. Jackson played 17 minutes on Saturday, compared to four by rookie J.J. Hickson.

Wasn't Hickson the Cavs' first-round pick last year? Am I missing something here? Jackson's ceiling might be what we're seeing right now. Hickson's ceiling is a possible starting power forward. I'm not saying he has star qualities, but he's way more talented that Jackson.

But he doesn't have the drive to succeed that Jackson has. And that might be the reason one rookie is playing and one is sitting on the bench.

GIB'S COMEBACK - Daniel Gibson has had back-to-back eight-point efforts in the last two games. He's played well since Brown went back to him in the rotation.

The Cavs hope he continues to play at that level.


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