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

Monday, March 19, 2012

Game 43: Cavs at Nets


Prudential Center
Radio/TV: WTAM/Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT HAPPENED: Kyrie Irving scored 14 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter. He's Mr. Fourth Quarter. However, things were a bit tense there for a while.

Of course, the Cavs dealt Ramon Sessions in the five-player trade with the Los Angeles Lakers last Thursday. The Cavs didn't have another player on the roster who was a pure point guard. They had Daniel Gibson waiting in the wings, but he’s a combo guard. Yes, he can give you minutes at point guard, but he’s a more natural shooting guard.

They signed D-League point guard Donald Sloan last Friday, and he was pressed into action on Monday at the Prudential Center. He scored 11 points, had three rebounds and one assist in the Cavs’ win over New Jersey.

Gibson suffered an ankle injury in the second half and didn’t return.

When Irving got in foul trouble – he ended with five personal fouls – Sloan was needed. Adding more suspense is the fact that G Manny Harris was mysteriously inactive on Monday, even though the Cavs had two players already not playing – C Anderson Varejao (fractured wrist) and F Luke Harangody (on assignment in D-League).

Sloan stepped in and played 20 minutes in his Cavs’ debut. He made 4 of 6 shots, including a 3-pointer. If he plays like that, he’ll earn more playing time.

Center Tristan Thompson certainly made up for a so-so debut in the starting lineup. In his first game as the starting center on Sunday against Atlanta, he finished with seven points and six rebounds. He was fantastic against New Jersey on Monday with a career-high 27 points, 12 rebounds (eight offensive) and a block. He was 12 of 16 from the field, several on dunks.

All of a sudden, F Antawn Jamison can’t make a shot. In his last three games, he’s shooting 26.3 percent from the field (15 of 57). His scoring has dipped to 14.3 points in the last three games. On the season, Jamison is averaging 18.3 points and is shooting 41.2 percent from the floor.

The Nets have lost five of their last six, including three in a row. The Cavs snapped their three-game losing streak on Monday.

The Cavs were sellers at the trade deadline. The Nets were buyers. They added forward Gerald Wallace for a first-round pick in the 2012 draft. The pick is protected in the top three. What possessed them to deal that pick is beyond me, even though I love how hard Wallace plays.

The Cavs and Nets are still in the Eastern Conference playoff race on paper. In reality, neither of them are going to make it.

The Nets are expected to move from Newark, N.J., to Brooklyn next year.

Whether they can hang onto their lone marquee player - guard Deron Williams - is yet to be seen. He  could opt out of his contract this summer.

UP NEXT: The Cavs travel to Atlanta at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Philips Arena. 

SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Gerald Wallace (6-7, 220)
PF Antawn Jamison (6-9, 235) vs. Kris Humphries (6-9, 235)
C Tristan Thompson (6-9, 227) vs. Sheldon Williams (6-9, 250)
SG Anthony Parker (6-6, 210) vs. MarShon Brooks (6-5, 200)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. Deron Williams (6-3, 209) 
Cavs – C Anderson Varejao, F Luke Harangody, G Manny Harris
Nets - F Damion James, C Brook Lopez 

David Jones,  Scott Bolnick,  Eric Dalen


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