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

Friday, January 30, 2009

Rip job on Cleveland

Wonder if Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel has ever been to Cleveland?

If he has, he has a very low opinion of our beloved town. Yes, it snows a lot in Northeast Ohio. Yes, it might not be a tropical location like Orlando. But it's our home, darn it, and I don't want to read hacket jobs like his column in today's Sentinel.

Bianchi was hell bent on writing that James was leaving the Cavs, regardless of what James had to say about the matter.

Who knows, he might be right. Perhaps James will leave for New York in 2010. None of us know right now.

Weighing in on All-Star snub

Cavs blog by Bob Finnan

It's hard to fathom that Cavaliers guard Mo Williams didn't make the All-Star Game. I had convinced myself that he would make it. I was absolutely convinced.

There are a couple things that bothered me about the Eastern Conference squad. I realize Devin Harris is a major talent and is having an outstanding year, but he's playing for a team that was 6 games under .500 at the beginning of the night.

The Cavs started the night with the best record in the league. Why did the East coaches disregard that fact?

I thought Magic guard Jameer Nelson deserved a spot on the team, but I take offense to forward Rashard Lewis making it over Williams.

He's a 3-point shooter who doesn't do much else.

The other reserve guard was Atlanta's Joe Johnson, an absolute lock to make the team.

I could tell that Williams was hurt by the snub. There was not much he could do about it. So, what did he do on Thursday? Have a horrible shooting night by making 4 of 15 shots en route to 12 points and three assists.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Is there interest in Brad Miller?

Cavs blog by Bob Finnan

After watching the Los Angeles Lakers' game last week, I'm convinced the Cavs need another big man. He could have been playing at Quicken Loans Arena Tuesday night.

Kings center Brad Miller is available. Could the Cavs have interest? Even though Miller wasn't drafted upon leaving Purdue, he's a quality big man. The problem is he's overpaid for what he does. He'll make $11.4 million this year and $12.3 million next year.

The Cavs want to keep their financial flexibility in the summer of 2010, so adding Miller wouldn't ruin that.

The 7-foot, 261-pounder is a native of Indiana and might welcome another stint in the Midwest, especially for a team that could be headed for the NBA Finals.

They'd have to deal guard/forward Wally Szczerbiak in such a deal, and they'd miss his outside shooting. Miller had seven points and six rebounds in the Cavs' 117-110 win.

Cavs coach Mike Brown was downtrodden after the game. His answers were short and terse. He was extremely disappointed in the Cavs' defensive effort.

They just didn't compete on that end of the floor. The Kings are a talented offensive team and don't really try to stop teams.

The Cavs hammered the Kings on the boards, 49-25, and outscored them on second-chance points, 22-3.

The Cavs are now 15-2 against Western Conference teams this season. They are also 23-0 when they score 100 or more points.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Success on West Coast

Cavs blog by Bob Finnan

The annual West Coast trip used to be where the Cavs went and were never heard from again. They'd go west and get smashed and then be forced to pick up the pieces when they got home.

That hasn't been the case in the last few years. They actually go west and win games. They finished a 4-game trip on Saturday by beating the Utah Jazz, 102-97, at EnergySolutions Arena.

Utah is not an easy place to play, but when a team has players like LeBron James (33 points, 14 rebounds and 9 assists) and Mo Williams (25 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists), it is able to win anywhere.

Two of the biggest thorns in the Jazz's sides - Williams and shooting guard Sasha Pavlovic - strangely enough were drafted by Utah in 2003. Pavlovic had 13 points, including two free throws with 16 seconds remaining.

He was the Jazz's first-round pick out of Serbia-Montenegro in 2003 - 19th overall - and Williams was their second-rounder from Alabama. He was the 18th pick in the second round.

The Cavs lost their first game on the trip in Los Angeles. The Lakers were on a mission. If the Cavs were at full strength, they might not have beaten the Lakers that night.

But they rebounded and prevailed in the final three games of the trip, including quality wins over Portland and Utah. In between was the buzzer beater over Golden State.

LBJ's heroics

Cavs blog by Bob Finnan

All-Star forward LeBron James' clutch 19-foot, step-back jumper over Ronny Turiaf at the buzzer shocked the Warriors, 106-105, on Friday at Oracle Arena.

It capped off a fabulous night by James, who ended with 32 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and three steals. He made 10 of 24 shots.

Swingman Stephen Jackson had given the Warriors the lead with a 22-footer over James with 6.4 seconds left.

The Cavs (33-8), missing two starters, struggled against the Warriors (13-31).

They fell into the trap of trying to beat the Warriors at their own game, which is galloping up and down the court. Everything is a fastbreak for Coach Don Nelson's team. It's common for them to fire up shots just seconds into the shot clock. They do have a great scoring team - they were ranked No. 2 in the NBA in scoring behind the Los Angeles Lakers - and a plethora of options.

The way to beat them is to play the game at your pace. The Cavs do like to run on occasions, but they also must adhere to their halfcourt offensive principles. That's a foreign thought to the Warriors.

The Cavs are now 2-1 on the 4-game West Coast trip. They can cap off a highly successful trip with a win in Utah tonight. It won't be easy since it's the last game of the West Coast trip, in addition to it being the tail end of a back-to-back set.

But don't give up hope. As you've probably noticed, this is a special season, and one that could end up in the NBA Finals.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Talk about quality wins

Cavs blog by Bob Finnan

Talk about quality wins. The Cavs' 104-98 victory over Portland at the Rose Garden on Wednesday was impressive.

The Cavs were bullied on the boards by the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday. That was anything but the case on Wednesday. Not only did the Cavs win the battle of the boards, 39-35, they kept 7-foot Greg Oden and 6-11 LaMarcus Aldridge in check.

Guard/forward Wally Szczerbiak came up big for the Cavs with a season-high 10 rebounds. Even shooting guard Sasha Pavlovic managed to grab 4 rebounds after being shut out against the Lakers.

LeBron James and Mo Williams combined for 67 points. Williams had a season-high 33, as he made a career-high 6 3-point goals in nine attempts. In all, the Cavs were 11 of 19 from behind the arc.

The Cavs shot 53 percent from the field and 58 percent from behind the arc.

The Cavs don't own a two-game losing streak all year. After every one of their 8 losses, they've responded with a win in the next game. That's an amazing stat.

When the Cavs led, 74-69, after three quarters, that was a good omen. They are now 28-1 when leading after three quarters this season, 11-1 on the road. They are now 12-2 against the Western Conference this season.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Some thoughts on Tinseltown

Cavs blog by Bob Finnan

The Cavs are 7-0 after losses this season. Let's see how they come out in Portland on Wednesday.

In their 105-88 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday, it was the first time the Cavs really missed 7-3 center Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Z is not even on the trip. He stayed in Cleveland to start some court work. He's recovering from a sprained left ankle and a chipped bone in his ankle.

The Lakers outscored the Cavs by 14 points in the paint. The Cavs don't have a 7-footer on their active roster. The Lakers had two in their starting lineup (and another on the bench in Chris Mihm, who rarely sees the court).

Power forward Pau Gasol was particularly lethal with 22 points and 12 rebounds. He made 11 of 13 shots, and combined with center Andrew Bynum to make 17 of 23 attempts.

They exploited the Cavs in the paint.

Cavs center Anderson Varejao rebounded from a poor night against New Orleans last Friday to have 10 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks against the Lakers. Rookie J.J. Hickson also had a good night with 11 points, four rebounds and two blocks.

It was the most lopsided loss of the season for the Cavs, who had a 5-game winning streak snapped against the Lakers. The Cavs are 11-2 against the West.

The struggles will likely continue in Portland. It will be the first time they've seen Greg Oden in the NBA.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Paul confused

Cavs blog by Bob Finnan

Hornets guard Chris Paul said he has no idea why he was ejected with a minute to play in Friday's game.

"That's a good question," he said. "It's funny because I'm here in Cleveland a lot of the summer."

Two guys sitting courtside asked Paul what he was called for on a play.

"I said, 'They called an offensive foul. Ain't that a trip,' " Paul said.

Unforunately, the official heard the conversation and threw him out.

"The ref heard it and ejected me," Paul said. "I ain't got no reason to lie. I didn't say no curse words. Do you think that's a reason to get ejected from a game?"

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Larry, who?

Cavs blog by Bob Finnan

Remember a player by the name of Larry Hughes? He plays for the Chicago Bulls and is disgruntled by his minutes in Coach Vinny Del Negro's rotation.

Guess what? He's probably real "happy" with his minutes in Thursday's nationally televised game against the Cavs.

He suffered the indignity of a DNP-CD. Apparently, if he's going to complain about his minutes and playing time, he's not going to play. The Bulls are probably tired of his griping.

The Bulls are overloaded with guards. Hughes is the odd man out and they'll likely trade him by the deadline. In all probability, the former Cavs guard will be somewhere else soon.

The Bulls did a heck of a job defensively on Cavs forward LeBron James. He missed 20 of his 28 shots from the field.

"Before the game, I was hoping (NBA commissioner) David Stern would change the rules so we could throw 10 guys at him (James)," Del Negro said.

There's an outside change forward/center Ben Wallace will return for tonight's game against New Orleans.

That will give the Cavs a boost. They'll need it, too, since they'll be playing without guard Delonte West. He fractured his right wrist. He's one of those glue players that made the Cavs so special. They'll miss him dearly, especially when trying to defend Hornets point guard Chris Paul tonight.

If it was up to West, he'd likely play with the fractured right wrist. Remember, he's a lefty. He even told TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager that he wanted to get a soft cast on his wrist and play on the West Coast trip.

Ah, Delonte, you can't play. Maybe by now, he'll understand that. Someone said at the United Center he could miss between 6 to 8 weeks. The Cavs will know for sure after his MRI this morning.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tenneessee musings

Cavs blog by Bob Finnan

X Cavs forward LeBron James' 10 assists matched Memphis' entire total as a team.

X The Cavs have won 10 of their first 11 games against the Western Conference.

X James is shooting 51 percent from the field and 78.8 percent from the free-throw line. Both stats would be a career high.

X Guard Mo Williams missed a free throw on Tuesday in Memphis. He's now shooting 94.9 percent from the line.

X As mentioned in the game story, the Cavs outscored the Grizzlies, 36-3, from the 3-point line. The Cavs matched their season high with 12 3s in 21 attempts.

X The Cavs led by just three points, 53-50, with 9:13 remaining in the third quarter. They went on a 19-6 run in the next 5 minutes to open up a comfortable lead.

X James' triple-double marked the first such feat against the Grizzlies since Tracy McGrady on Dec. 5, 2007.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Tip of cap to Gilbert

Cavs blog by Bob Finnan

First of all, it took gall for the Portland Trail Blazers to send out an e-mail to all 30 teams in the league regarding the Darius Miles' situation.

Basically, it threatened the teams with litigation if any of them signed Miles.

Cavs owner Dan Gilbert doesn't take kindly to threats. He shot off an e-mail to the Blazers and said even though they had no intention of signing Miles - they've been there; done that - they didn't like the threat.

Don't be surprised if someone does sign Miles, which will screw the Blazers in a number of ways. It will prevent them from signing big-name talent this summer and also cause them to pay the luxury tax.

Actually, I wouldn't mind it if someone signed Miles to a 10-day contract just to see the Blazers squirm.

But my hats off to Gilbert. He stood up to the Blazers. He refuses to be bullied by anyone.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I love crab cakes

Cavs blog by Bob Finnan

Way too much is being made out of LeBron's James' "crab dribble."

But like he said, "Everything I do is a big deal."

He said many of the people writing about the crab dribble have no athletic ability.

"It’s easy for people who don’t play the game of basketball to say something about a particular move," he said. "They’ve never touched a basketball in their lives. They just report about it."

I beg to differ, Mr. James. I averaged well over 6 points a game in the church league my sophomore year in high school. I would like an immediate retraction.

Just because I have no athletic ability - he's right, by the way, I have no game - it doesn't mean I can't report on what I see.

There were two guys dressed in red crab outfits at the Cavs' game on Wednesday against Charlotte. They held a sign: "Free the Crab."

The best skit on the night came after a 3-pointer by G Daniel "Boobie" Gibson. They showed a movie clip from "Mrs. Doubtfire" where Robin Williams sets his fake breasts on fire while cooking in the kitchen.

The caption read: "Boobie's on fire."

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Observations from our nation's capital

Cavs blog by Bob Finnan

They just love the Cavs at the Verizon Center.

When they introduced the Cavs before the game, they showed each player on the scoreboard.

Here's what they said about the Cavs' starters:

LeBron James: Leads team in turnovers.
Anderson Varejao: Leads team in personal fouls.
Delonte West: Enjoys drawing in free time.
Mo Williams: Shortest player on team.

This is the 12th time in the last three seasons the Cavs have played at the Verizon Center. I've been here so often, I feel like it's a home away from home.

They also serve ice cream at halftime, which is a major treat for the media. I refrained, I'd like you to know.

After practice on Saturday at Cleveland Clinic Courts, Cavs forward J.J. Hickson rushed to his apartment before the Cavs' flight to D.C. Why? He supposedly forgot to pack for the trip.

That's priceless.

G/F Wally Szczerbiak told me about his knee problems before the game. He has a contusion on the bursa sac.

That reminded me of one of my favorite leads since I've covered the team. Former Cavs forward/center Shawn Kemp had a bruised bursa sac, but played and had a huge game, something like 28 points and 16 rebounds.

My lead to my game story was: "Stick that in your bursa sac."

It probably didn't make much sense, but it made me laugh.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Amazing numbers

Cavs blog by Bob Finnan

The most amazing thing about Friday's game was the fact that LeBron James had just eight shots, yet the Cavaliers scored 117 points.

He amassed 11 assists and constantly found Anderson Varejao and Ben Wallace around the basket. They were a combined 15 of 25 from the field.

James had just three field goals on the night. The Cavs shot 51 percent from the field and abused the Bulls.

By the way, there's something drastically wrong with the Bulls. They shouldn't be this bad. The problem is they have a bunch of me-players. Ben Gordon is a fabulous talent, but I wouldn't want him on my team. He takes care of himself. He doesn't make anyone else on the court better.

One could say the same thing about Larry Hughes. He's unhappy again (when is he happy?) and probably wants out. It's not going to be easy to trade him, but it can be done.