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

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Game 42: Hawks at Cavs

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

WHAT HAPPENED: There have been several moving parts surrounding the Cavs in the last three days. Guys coming and going.

After all the maneuvering, are they a better team than they were on Wednesday? Probably not. And that's fine with some people. Getting that sacred draft pick is all that matters to them.

This team was still just 2 1/2 games behind the New York Knicks for the No. 8 playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. A much larger divide is likely coming in the last 24 games.

Looking at this team heading into the season, it didn't have the look of a playoff team. At one point this season, the Cavs overachieved and put themselves in the thick of the race. Losing Ramon Sessions is going to hurt.

Several new players, and one that was here before, have been brought aboard. Coach Byron Scott said if they see someone they like, they could add another young player.

Luke Walton, Donald Sloan and Manny Harris have been added. Sessions and Christian Eyenga have been dispatched to the Lakers.

The reason Sessions will be missed is that they don't have a legitimate backup point guard. I've never seen Sloan play. He's compact and stocky at 6-2, 205 pounds. Scott will try Daniel Gibson at the spot initially, but he'll likely play himself out of it. He struggles at the point guard position. He had just three points and two assists on Sunday, even though he did pull down a season-high eight rebounds.

So, Sloan might actually play. Why not? What do they have to lose?

The same can be said about Walton. Is he better than Omri Casspi right now? Probably. Don't be shocked if the 31-year-old Walton plays ahead of Casspi if it's strictly a basketball decision. But it's not, as we know. The Cavs want Casspi to succeed. Like Walton, they have him under contract for one more year.

We talked on and on about Toronto not matching up well with the Cavs. The Hawks fit into that category, too. They just do whatever they want against the Cavs. They've won their last six games against the Cavs, who haven't won in the series since April 2, 2010. The Cavs have also lost their last three home games against the Hawks.

Atlanta spanked the Cavs on Jan. 21, 121-94. Tristan Thompson, who is making his first NBA start today at center, sprained his ankle against the Hawks in the earlier meeting.

The Cavs are just 3-13 this season against East playoff teams. 

UP NEXT: The Cavs travel to New Jersey at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Prudential Center. 

SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Joe Johnson (6-7, 240)
PF Antawn Jamison (6-9, 235) vs. Josh Smith (6-9, 225)
C Tristan Thompson (6-9, 227) vs. Zaza Pachulia (6-11, 275)
SG Anthony Parker (6-6, 210) vs. Kirk Hinrich (6-4, 190)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. Jeff Teague (6-2, 181) 
Cavs – C Anderson Varejao, F Luke Harangody 
Hawks - F Marvin Williams, C Al Horford
Mike Callahan,  Tommy Nunez Jr.,  Sean Wright


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