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

Monday, February 7, 2011

Game 52: Cavs at Mavericks

DALLAS MAVERICKS (36-15) 99, CAVS (8-44) 96
at American Airlines Center
RADIO/TV: WTAM/Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT HAPPENED: The Cavs are getting a ton of national exposure, but it's for all the wrong reasons.

They lost their NBA-record 25th consecutive game on Monday. The Cavs have also dropped 34 of the last 35 games, as well as 26 in a row on the road.

They succumbed by only three points to the league's hottest team. The Mavericks have won nine in a row and have been purring since they got back All-Star forward Dirk Nowitzki.

Speaking of the 7-foot German, he should get fined and possibly suspended for taking a swipe at Cavs guard Ramon Sessions in the fourth quarter. Sessions ran into Nowitzki and sort of hit him with an elbow. Nowitzki swung his elbow at him and missed. Had he connected, it would have knocked Sessions cold.

The officials didn't even call it a flagrant foul.

In the late going, Cavs forward Antawn Jamison made a 3-pointer to pull his team to within three points. The Cavs got a stop on the other end.

Guard Anthony Parker’s long 3-point attempt bounced off the front of the rim with about 5 seconds left. It would have sent the game into overtime. Forward Jamario Moon got the ball in the waning second, but apparently wasn’t aware of the time remaining. Instead of shooting the ball, he inexplicably passed it to Jamison as time expired.

Center J.J. Hickson led the Cavs with 26 points and 12 rebounds, both game highs. But he had a costly offensive foul with 56 seconds left.

Sessions continues to play his best basketball of the year. He finished with 19 points, 13 assists and six rebounds. He committed just two turnovers in 40 minutes.

Jamison, who shot just 8 of 23 from the field, added 18 points and 11 rebounds.

Guard Jason Terry had 23 points for the Mavs. He continues to be a thorn in the Cavs' side. Nowitzki had just 12 points.

It's amazing just how far the Cavs have dropped. I remember a conversation I had with a die-hard fan before the season started. I was trying to convince him that the Cavs were bad. Now, I was thinking 30-some-wins bad. Nothing like this.

But the team has floundered under Coach Byron Scott. I think it's safe to say he won't be getting any Coach of the Year votes. He does have them playing with fire right now. In fact, they have in the last four games. They were tied or had the lead in the fourth quarter of all four. But they just don't know how to close out games.

Some of that has to be a reflection on Sessions, since he's the point guard.

The Cavs are close to getting their backcourt in order. In the next week or so, Mo Williams will return. For now, Scott will go with a four-man guard rotation with starters Anthony Parker and Ramon Sessions and backups Daniel Gibson and Manny Harris.

If only the Cavs had that kind of depth up front.

It was like a family affair for Jamison on Monday. He played for the Mavs during the 2003-04 season. Also, he was teammates with current Mavs Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson in Washington.

Also, he was a college teammate of Haywood at the University
of North Carolina. They reached the Final Four in 1997-98.

SF Christian Eyenga (6-5, 210) vs. Peja Stojakovic (6-10, 235)
PF Antawn Jamison (6-9, 235) vs. Dirk Nowitzki (7-0, 245)
C J.J. Hickson (6-9, 242) vs. Tyson Chandler (7-1, 235)
SG Anthony Parker (6-6, 210) vs. DeShawn Stevenson (6-6, 210)
PG Ramon Sessions (6-3, 185) vs. Jason Kidd (6-4, 210)
Cavs – C Anderson Varejao, F Leon Powe, G Mo Williams.
Mavs – G Rodrigue Beaubois, G/F Caron Butler.
Bill Kennedy, Brent Barnaky, Kevin Fehr.


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