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

Friday, March 15, 2013

Game 65: Cavs at Mavericks

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

WHAT HAPPENED: The Cavaliers led by one point heading into the fourth quarter, 68-67.

That's when the total collapse occurred. They were outscored by the Mavericks, 29-18, in the fourth. They made just 7 of 19 shots (36.8 percent) and committed six turnovers. They allowed the Mavs to embark on a 15-2 run in the fourth.

Mavs guard Rodrigue Beaubois scored with 10:49 left for a 71-70 lead and never looked back.

Beaubois looked like the best player on the court. He scored nine of his team-high 18 points in the fourth. Darren Collison added 13 points and five assists. They were unstoppable for the Mavs.

The Mavs' bench was outstanding. It outscored the Cavs, 60-19. Other than Luke Walton's three 3-point goals, the Cavs got very little scoring off the bench.

If you think Friday's game was tough, wait until the Cavs pull into San Antonio on Saturday. It's the second night of a back-to-back, on the road, against a 50-win team. Even without Tony Parker, the Spurs could put a hurtin' on the Cavs.

The Cavs don't normally play well against the Spurs in San Antonio. With no Kyrie Irving, it could get ugly.

The Mavs looked a bit vulnerable on Friday. They have played in San Antonio on Thursday and lost. They were missing their top rebounder in Shawn Marion. Dirk Nowitzki is not the player he once was. He was 6 of 17 from the field on Friday.

All five starters scored in double figures on Friday for the Cavs, led by Dion Waiters' game-high 21 points and two steals. But he had no assists and just two rebounds. No one wants him to become a shameless gunner. He made 9 of 19 shots.

Shaun Livingston added 13 points, five rebounds, six assists and three steals. He made 5 of 11 from the field.

I have to give kudos to Cavs center Tyler Zeller. He recorded his fifth double-double of the season with 10 points, a team-high 10 rebounds and two steals. There's no reason this guy can't have games like this on a regular basis. He's certainly got the talent. It's a matter of competing. 

He totally outplayed Mavs center Chris Kaman, who had four points and no rebounds. 

The Mavs have won five of the last six meetings with the Cavs, including a 103-95 victory at The Q on Nov. 17. They've also beaten the Cavs in 10 of the last 12 games in Dallas.

Waiters is becoming the Cavs' go-to guy, even if Scott doesn't want to admit it. He'll be a first-team All-Rookie performer when the season is over. 

I have a feeling he'll finish third in the Rookie of the Year voting behind Damian Lillard and Anthony Davis.

Zeller, who has an outside chance to be a second-team pick, was originally drafted by the Mavs with the 17th overall pick in the 2012 draft. His draft rights were sent to Dallas for its No. 24 overall pick and two second-rounders. One of the second-rounders, Marquette forward Jae Crowder, pulled down a career-high 14 rebounds on Friday.

The Cavs played without backup shooting guard Wayne Ellington, who missed the game with a sprained ankle.

He was injured in the Washington game on Tuesday.

In Livingston's five starts, he's averaging 13 points, 2.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists. He's also shooting 55.6 percent from the field.

Waiters has served as the backup point guard, a role he fills very well. Scott has also moved Daniel Gibson back into his rotation. If he can stay healthy for two or three games, it will give him a chance to get back in Scott's good graces.

The Cavs are 5-11 this season without Irving, 9-22 since he's entered the league.

This will be a transition period for the Cavs. They'll have to learn how to play without Irving - possibly for the last 17 games of the season.

NEWS FEED: Eddie Sefko's story in the Dallas Morning News on forward Shawn Marion's injury problems.

LAST GAME: The Cavs defeated the Washington Wizards on Tuesday, 95-90. 

UP NEXT: The Cavs travel to San Antonio at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at AT@T Center.

SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Jae Crowder (6-6, 235)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 227) vs. Dirk Nowitzki (7-0, 245)
C Tyler Zeller (7-0, 250) vs. Chris Kaman (7-0, 265)
SG Dion Waiters (6-4, 221) vs. O.J. Mayo (6-4, 210)
PG Shaun Livingston (6-7, 175) vs. Mike James (6-2, 188)
Cavs - C Anderson Varejao, F Kevin Jones, G Kyrie Irving 
Mavericks - F Shawn Marion, G Jared Cunningham
Bill Spooner, Pat Fraher, Courtney Kirkland


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