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

Friday, January 11, 2013

Game 38: Cavs at Nuggets

Pepsi Center
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM), WFUN (970 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT HAPPENED: The Nuggets improved to 13-2 at home this year. They had to work hard to slip past the pesky Cavs.

The Nuggets have now won four in a row. All five starters were in double figures for Denver, led by forward Danilo Gallinari. His 3-pointer with 54 seconds left iced it for the Nuggets.

Other than point guard Kyrie Irving, not many of the Cavs played well. Irving had a game-high 28 points, seven assists and five steals. He shot 11 of 26 from the field, 2 of 9 from behind the arc and 4 of 5 from the foul line.

If it seemed like the Cavs got bullied on the boards, it's because they did, 56-35. That's embarrassing.

Center Tyler Zeller paced the Cavs with eight rebounds. Many of his 33 minutes were "invisible." He just ran around out there. He managed two points, on a late follow slam. Remember when he was draining jump shots. That doesn't happen any more.

He did block three shots.

The Nuggets played two 7-footers together on the court for much of the game. Of course, they have three 7-footers on their roster. By the way, I've never seen Kosta Koufos play as well as he did on Friday. The former Ohio State center had a career-high 21 points, six rebounds and one block.

He played inspired basketball.

Power forward Kenneth Faried is one of my favorite players. He's relentless on the boards. He's averaging 9.9 rebounds per game. He had a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds. He always has a smile on his face, even when he's grabbing your jersey and throwing an elbow into your chops.

A lot of teams missed on Faried, who led the nation in scoring the year he was coming out in the draft.

This is the start of a five-game, 10-day road trip for the Cavs. This is a rugged trip for the Cavs, with stops in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Portland and Utah. They could go 0-5 on the trip. I bet they'll win one game no one expects to win.

That could have come on Friday had they not been outscored in the fourth quarter, 26-15. The Cavs just served it on a platter to the Nuggets. Sure, the Cavs played hard, but they didn't always play smart. Their 15 turnovers led to 14 Denver points.

The Nuggets committed 22 turnovers on the night.

They are not going to make it to the NBA Finals, but I like this Denver team. Any team that brings Andre Miller off the bench is a deep squad.

One of the funniest things I've ever encountered had to do with Miller, a former Cavs' first-round pick. He had a little kid in the locker room sitting next to him at The Q. Radio reporter Jeff Sack made over the little kid and finally told Miller what a cute little girl he had.

Miller wasn't happy.

"He's a dude, man!" Miller yelped.

Sack backed out of the locker room embarrassed.

LAST GAME: The Cavs defeated Atlanta on Wednesday, 99-83.

UP NEXT: The Cavs travel to the Los Angeles Lakers at 9:30 p.m. Sunday at Staples Center.

SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Danilo Gallinari (6-10, 225)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 227) vs. Kenneth Faried (6-8, 228)
C Tyler Zeller (7-0, 250) vs. Kosta Koufos (7-0, 265)
SG C.J. Miles (6-6, 222) vs.Andre Iguodala (6-6, 207)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. Ty Lawson (5-11, 196) 
Cavs – C Anderson Varejao
Nuggets - F Wilson Chandler, F Quincy Miller
Bennett Salvatore, Dick Bavetta, Kevin Cutler


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