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

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Game 20: Celtics at Cavs

at Quicken Loans Arena
RADIO/TV: WTAM/Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT HAPPENED: The Cavs know they can come back on the Celtics no matter how large the lead is. They built a 22-point bulge on the Cavs on Tuesday, but they stormed back and cut the deficit to two points.

The Cavs couldn't get over the hump, however.

Coach Byron Scott told the team he was proud of it afterward. They really did play their hearts out. This team is lacking in the talent department. Since we're on the subject, it could use a 6-10 power forward who can score and rebound, a shooting guard who can actually make shots and a slick small forward. Besides that, it's pretty good (just kidding).

The Celtics were without guard Rajon Rondo (sprained right wrist), who has missed the last seven games after taking a hard fall in the Toronto game on Jan. 18. He adds a different dimension to the Celtics' attack - offensively and defensively.

His replacement, second-year guard Avery Bradley, is an outstanding on-the-ball defender. He's in the same class as Rondo on the defensive end, which is saying something.

Regardless of who the Celtics throw at Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving, they might be at a disadvantage. Irving is playing as well as any point guard in the league right now. His confidence is sky-high.

Irving finished with 21 points and six assists on Tuesday. He had just two turnovers in a career-high 37 minutes. Coach Byron Scott said he had no choice but to play Irving big minutes on Tuesday. His backcourt is depleted by injury.

The Cavs played without shooting guards Anthony Parker (back spasms) and Daniel Gibson (neck infection). Scott started undrafted free agent Mychel Thompson (eight points, 2 of 4 from the 3-point line), which tells you what you need to know about Christian Eyenga. He remains glued to the bench.

Scott has been trying to send him a message about practicing harder. What's happening is that they are starting to lose Eyenga. His head is probably spinning right now wondering what's going on. That's also the case for backup center Semih Erden, who is out of the rotation altogether. He's probably wondering why he's been saddled with DNP-CD in the previous four games. 

UP NEXT: The Cavs will travel to Orlando at 7 p.m. Friday at Amway Center.

SF Omri Casspi (6-9, 225) vs. Paul Pierce (6-7, 235)
PF Antawn Jamison (6-9, 235) vs. Kevin Garnett (6-11, 253)
C Anderson Varejao (6-11, 260) vs. Jermaine O'Neal (6-11, 255)
SG Mychel Thompson (6-6, 211) vs. Ray Allen (6-5, 205)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. Avery Bradley (6-2, 205)
Cavs – F Luke Harangody, G Daniel Gibson 
Celtics - G Keyon Dooling, G Rajon Rondo 
Joe Crawford,  Bennie Adams,  Karl Lane



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