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

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Game 22: Mavericks at Cavs

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

WHAT HAPPENED: This was the Cavs' first win over a team above .500 this season. The defending NBA champion Mavericks have now lost three in a row. They have been struggling as of late, winning just three of their last eight games.

Future Hall of Fame point guard Jason Kidd has been sidelined with a strained right calf. He didn't make the trip to Cleveland. He was injured against Utah on Jan. 27 and has missed the previous four games. His replacement, former Cavs guard Delonte West, was very good in his place with 11 points, seven assists and three steals.

"These Cleveland fans are more than fans," West said after the game. "They are friends. It's good seeing a lot of their faces in the same seats. They have a great owner here. They have a great nucleus of young guys. This organization is on its way. I can see them being a contender a few years from now."

West, who played with the Cavs from 2007-10, was guarding Kyrie Irving on the latter's drive to the basket that won the game. Irving was lethal down the stretch and ended with 20 points and seven assists.

He's getting better right before our eyes. It's actually fun watching him turn into an All-Star.

The Cavs snapped a three-game losing streak to the Mavs. They won despite shooting just 39.8 percent from the field. They had just nine turnovers. They also pulled down 17 offensive rebounds, seven by league leader Anderson Varejao.

He's just been playing out of his mind. He had 17 points and 17 rebounds on Saturday.

Forward Dirk Nowitzki led all scorers with 24 points. He made 9 of 15 from the field. The Mavs should have gone to him more often, as Cavs forward Antawn Jamison was at a size disadvantage in the matchup.

Jamison, who played for the Mavs from 2003-04, made Nowitzki work on the other end, too, with 19 points and nine rebounds.

All three injured players - guards Anthony Parker (strained lower back) and Daniel Gibson (neck infection) and forward/center Tristan Thompson (sprained left ankle) were held out of Saturday's game. The Cavs want them to practice on Monday before they decide whether to activate them.

Rookie Mychel Thompson has been struggling with his shot, but he buried two 3-point goals in the third-quarter comeback on Saturday.

UP NEXT: The Cavs travel to Miami at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at AmericanAirlines Arena.

SF Omri Casspi (6-9, 225) vs. Shawn Marion (6-7, 228)
PF Antawn Jamison (6-9, 235) vs. Dirk Nowitzki (7-0, 245)
C Anderson Varejao (6-11, 260) vs. Brendan Haywood (7-0, 263)
SG Mychel Thompson (6-6, 211) vs. Vince Carter (6-6, 220)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. Rodrigue Beaubois (6-2, 182) 
Cavs – G Anthony Parker, F Tristan Thompson, G Daniel Gibson 
Mavs - G Jason Kidd, F/C Sean Williams 
Monty McCutchen,  Curtis Blair,  Tre Maddox


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