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

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Game 35: Cavs at Wizards

Verizon Center
Radio/TV: WTAM/Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT HAPPENED: Coach Byron Scott made two significant changes to the starting lineup. First, he finally benched Omri Casspi at small forward. Many wondered why that wasn't done 10 games ago.

The Cavs gave Casspi a long leash after he got off to a slow start. Everyone kept saying he'd snap out of it and kept making excuses for him. Scott even said he plays like a pit bull. That was anything but the case. He played a lot of invisible minutes, just out on the floor doing nothing.

Alonzo Gee is a better player. Take advantage of it. Gee had 11 points, five rebounds and two assists in 33 minutes. Casspi had three points and three rebounds in 10 minutes.

Scott also benched center Semih Erden. He never got off the bench and suffered a DNP-CD. Ryan Hollins earned his first start of the season and was quite good with 15 points and seven rebounds in 31 minutes, all season highs.

Guard Kyrie Irving looked for him several times on alley-oop passes, something that hasn't been done since Baron Davis was on the team.

Even though the moves seemed to work, the Cavs still lost their fifth consecutive game. That's their longest losing streak of the season. They also have games coming up this week against Utah, Denver, Oklahoma City, Houston and Toronto. Five games could turn into 10 in a hurry.

Irving returned after a one-game absence with an "illness" on Friday. One theory is that the Cavs probably thought they would have been hard pressed to win the Bulls game whether Irving played or not. They might have decided to rest him and take their chances against John Wall and the Wizards on Saturday.

Irving was good on Saturday with 20 points and six assists in 31 minutes. Wall was better with 24 points, five rebounds and five assists.

The Wizards snapped a six-game losing streak. Things haven't gone well since they fired Flip Saunders on Jan. 24 and replaced him with interim coach Randy Wittman. Wittman, of course, coached the Cavs for two seasons. 

UP NEXT: The Cavs host Utah at 7 p.m. Monday at Quicken Loans Arena.

SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Chris Singleton (6-9, 225)
PF Antawn Jamison (6-9, 235) vs. Trevor Booker (6-8, 235)
C Ryan Hollins (7-0, 240) vs. JaVale McGee (7-1, 250)
SG Anthony Parker (6-6, 210) vs. Jordan Crawford (6-4, 195)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. John Wall (6-4, 195) 
Cavs – G/F Christian Eyenga, C Anderson Varejao 
Wizards - F/C Ronny Turiaf 

Tony Brothers,  Curtis Blair,  Haywoode Workman


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