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

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Game 37: Cavs at Nuggets

Pepsi Center
Radio/TV: WTAM/Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT HAPPENED: This was one of the most exciting games of the season. Remember, the Nuggets have had the Cavs' number over the years. They came into Wednesday's game having won four in a row over the Cavs in the lopsided series, as well as eight of their last 10.

They pounded the Cavs twice last season and averaged 122 points in the two games. Denver scored 80 points in the first half of the Jan. 15, 2011, game, a franchise record for a Cavs' opponent.

The Cavs have never matched up well against the Nuggets. Never have and probably never will. They didn't compete very well when LeBron James was on the team. It must be the high altitude.

So, what happens on Wednesday? The Cavs came out ready to play. were actually aggressive and played rugged defense. It's about darn time! I have a feeling it was because of some guy that had No. 2 on his jersey.

Cavs coach Byron Scott made two significant moves to his starting lineup. He didn't have many more buttons to push. It was up to the players to start earning their money, and they did.

They snapped a six-game losing streak. Forward Antawn Jamison was fantastic with a game-high 33 points, one off his season high. He made 11 of 21 from the field.

He's right on guard Kyrie Irving's tail for the team's scoring lead, 18.6-18.3.

Irving, once again, was great in the fourth quarter. He scored the winning basket with 4 seconds left, and then defended Ty Lawson on an ill-fated layup attempt at the final buzzer. He was playing with five personal fouls, too.

He ended with 18 points, five rebounds, eight assists and three steals. he was 8 of 16 from the field. This kid has made a major impact on the Cavs.

Forward Alonzo Gee, in his third game as the starting small forward, added 19 points, seven rebounds, three assists, a game-high four steals and one block. He is definitely a keeper.

Part of the Cavs' recent problem is at shooting guard where none of their players can seemingly make a shot. That's not a good thing. Anthony Parker and Boobie Gibson are slumping. Manny Harris should be given a chance. Do you really want to see more minutes for AP? This is his last year with the team - we're assuming - and possibly in the NBA. Harris could be someone you want to bring back next year. He has some future in the league, but it won't be realized sitting on the bench.

Some new blood is needed at shooting guard in the worst way.

That takes us to the center position. Ryan Hollins, Semih Erden and Samardo Samuels can't get the job done. Clear them out. Give them a one-way ticket out of town after the season.

I have to tell you, I don't like how Irving has been starting games. He tries to get his teammates involved instead of just coming out firing. This team is so inept offensively, he's one of the few players who can score. What's he trying to do, get AP or Hollins going? C'mon. Shoot the ball and get to the basket. That's the only way the Cavs will have a chance. 

UP NEXT: The Cavs travel to Oklahoma City at 8 p.m. Friday at Chesapeake Energy Arena. 

SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Corey Brewer (6-9, 188)
PF Antawn Jamison (6-9, 235) vs. Kenneth Faried (6-8, 228)
C Ryan Hollins (7-0, 240) vs. Nene (6-11, 250)
SG Anthony Parker (6-6, 210) vs. Aaron Afflalo (6-5, 215)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. Ty Lawson (5-11, 195) 
Cavs – G/F Christian Eyenga, F Luke Harangody
Nuggets - G/F Rudy Fernandez 
Derrick Stafford,  Eric Lewis,  Tre Maddox


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