Game 49: Bobcats at Cavs
Quicken Loans Arena
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM), WFUN (970 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio
WHAT HAPPENED: Let's get this out of the way: The Bobcats might not be real successful in the NBA Development League right now.
That team doesn't have an overabundance of talent. I like their backcourt of Gerald Henderson and Kemba Walker. I consider Ramon Sessions the best backup point guard in the NBA. Other than that, forget it.
They are heading toward the No. 1 pick in the draft. Their bigs are weak. They are starting Jeff Adrien at power forward. Not more than a few people in The Q even knew who he was. He played at UConn, in case you were wondering. I had to look it up, and I follow this stuff for a living.
The Bobcats are high on center Bismack Biyombo. He blocked two shots on Wednesday. He did little else. He's undersized at 6-9. He only gets by because of his uncanny 7-3 wingspan. He's more of a specialty player. He just doesn't do much for me.
Their starting five combined for 33 points. That's hard to do.
This team needs Michael Kidd-Gilchrist playing a lot of minutes. His concussion is getting better. He could be a few days off. Coach Mike Dunlap said he's getting much better. Even though he's not a great shooter, he's a high energy player. The Bobcats need him in the lineup.
Let's move onto the upstart Cavs. They've now won six of their last nine games. They are playing very well. They've also won five of their last six at The Q.
The Oklahoma City Thunder found out how well the Cavs are playing last Saturday. They beat one of the league's best teams in the Thunder. They also had the best road mark in the league.
The Cavs want to continue their hot streak against Orlando on Friday. The Magic have lost 11 in a row and are missing several key players. Heck, they're not that good at full strength. The real test will be Saturday vs. Denver.
The Cavs hope they've turned the corner. They now have a legitimate bench, aided by the additions of center Marreese Speights and shooting guard Wayne Ellington. Things are falling into place.
They still need a big night from guard Kyrie Irving, and he's been playing like the All-Star that he is.
Irving nailed the game-winner on Jan. 4 in Charlotte with a 12-foot jumper with 1.0 second remaining in a 106-104 win.
The Cavs are taking care of the basketball. Irving and backup point guard Shaun Livingston get most of the credit. In their last 10 games, the Cavs are averaging 12 turnovers. They had just six turnovers on Wednesday, which is a season low. They led to just four points.
Conversely, the Bobcats committed 13 turnovers, which led to 22 points for the Cavs.
The Cavs are fifth in the NBA in opponents' turnovers at 15.6 per game.
They've had fewer turnovers or tied than their opponent in 19 of their last 23 games. It's keeping them in games.
CORRECTION: Kidd-Gilchrist is a client of CAA Sports, not Klutch Sports. Of course, he doesn't play for Washington, either, since he was the No. 2 pick of the Bobcats last June. There were rumors that the Cavs were trying to move up to the second pick, presumably to draft MKG, who was working out in Cleveland before the draft.
NEWS FEED: Rick Bonnell's story on Bobcats forward/center Byron Mullens' comeback attempt in the Charlotte Observer.
LAST GAME: The Cavs defeated Oklahoma City on Saturday, 115-110.
SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Jeffery Taylor (6-7, 225)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 227) vs. Jeff Adrien (6-7, 245)
C Tyler Zeller (7-0, 250) vs. Bismack Biyombo (6-9, 245)
SG Dion Waiters (6-4, 221) vs. Gerald Henderson (6-5, 215)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. Kemba Walker (6-1, 184)
Cavs – C Anderson Varejao, G Josh Selby
Bobcats - F Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Bennett Salvatore, Tony Brown, Josh Tiven