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

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Warriors' Curry goes off for 54 points

Morning roundup: Stephen Curry, buzzer-beaters and more make for amazing night of hoops ‹ Digital First Media | Photos: 0 | Spundge CI: 22686890
Led by Stephen Curry's 54-point game, Wednesday night was very likely the best night of basketball this season. That and more sports stories from overnight.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Game 58: Raptors at Cavs

Quicken Loans Arena
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM), WFUN (970 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT HAPPENED: This is the first of five consecutive home games, as well as 12 of 15 at The Q. This is the point in the season they need to make a charge.

That's exactly what they are doing. They've won four of their last five games. They actually finished 7-5 in February, their first winning month since You Know Who left town.

There could be two more winning months in March and April, if they stay healthy. This team has definitely turned the corner.

Both the Raptors and Cavs have revamped their seasons after big trades with the Memphis Grizzlies. Toronto acquired forward Rudy Gay on Jan. 30. Since then, the Raptors are 7-5. That doesn't include the Jan. 30 game at Atlanta when Gay didn't play.

The Raptors are actually talking about playoffs (playoffs?) for the first time in years. They are five games behind No. 8 Milwaukee for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot at the beginning of the night.

The Cavs received center Marreese Speights and guard Wayne Ellington from Memphis on Jan. 22. Since then, they are 10-6, including their upset in Chicago on Tuesday.

All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving missed his second consecutive game with a hyperextended right knee. There's a chance he'll return for Friday's game against the Los Angeles Clippers. One would think he'd want to face Chris Paul in the worst way.

They haven't missed a lot with veteran Shaun Livingston in the starting lineup at point guard. He has averaged 15 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists in the two starts. Obviously, he's a different player and doesn't score as easily and effortlessly as Irving, a 23.3-point scorer on the season.

The key to Toronto's recent success is its improved defense. In 11 games in February, they are holding teams to 92.6 points per game - fourth fewest in the NBA. They've held opponents under 100 points in eight of the last nine games.

One hurdle for the Cavs was the fact they are just 3-13 this season on the second night of a back-to-back. Make that 4-13.

NEWS FEED: Frank Zicarelli's story on the Raptors in the Toronto Sun.

LAST GAME: The Cavs defeated Chicago on Tuesday, 101-98.

UP NEXT: The Cavs host the Los Angeles Clippers at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Quicken Loans Arena.

SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Rudy Gay (6-8, 230)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 227) vs. Amir Johnson (6-9, 237)
C Tyler Zeller (7-0, 250) vs. Jonas Valanciunas (7-0, 257)
G Dion Waiters (6-4, 221) vs. DeMar DeRozan (6-7, 217)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. Kyle Lowry (6-0, 205) 
Cavs – C Anderson Varejao, G Josh Selby 
Raptors - F Linas Kleiza, F Mickael Pietrus
Tony Brothers, JT Orr, Leroy Richardson

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Game 57: Cavs at Bulls

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

WHAT HAPPENED: The Cavs haven't beaten the Bulls since March 19, 2010 - a span of 11 consecutive games. They attempted to stop that nasty streak without their best player, point guard Kyrie Irving, who missed Tuesday's game with a hyperextended right knee.

But they finally prevailed over the Bulls in a nip-and-tuck, rough-and-tumble game.

Fans who voted for this game to be nationally televised by NBA TV probably had second thoughts when they found out All-Star point guards Derrick Rose of Chicago and Irving were going to miss the game. But those fans got a see an intense game. By the way, Rose hasn't played in a game this year after having knee surgery.

Veteran Shaun Livingston made his first start with the Cavs at point guard. He finished with 15 points, two rebounds and two assists.

The players of the game, however, were Dion Waiters and Luke Walton.

Waiters, whose play has picked up in the last few weeks, had a team-high 25 points and two rebounds. He made 10 of 16 from the field.

Walton simply played his butt off. He ended with eight points, five rebounds, a team-high five assists and a steal. Just outstanding.

They might not have won the game without him. His hustle play caused a turnover off Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich with 15.1 seconds left. It was the hustle play of the game.

The Bulls normally just pummel the Cavs with their toughness, execution and superior defense. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is one of the top defensive coaches in the NBA - bar none. The Bulls had beaten the Cavs by a combined 65 points in the previous three games this season.

But the Cavs matched Chicago's aggressiveness and toughness on the night, despite playing without Irving and his 23.3-point average.

The Cavs outrebounded the Bulls, 39-34. They also shot 49.4 percent against Chicago, quite a feat.

The Cavs finished 2-1 on the rough road trip, and really should have won them all. One can really tell this team has turned the corner. They are 9-6 since the Jan. 22 trade that netted center Marreese Speights and Wayne Ellington. It has transformed the Cavs' season.

The Cavs are now 9-22 on the road this season.

NEWS FEED: Joe Cowley's story in the Chicago Sun-Times about the Bulls' frustrations.

LAST GAME: The Cavs lost to Miami on Sunday, 109-105.

UP NEXT: The Cavs host Toronto at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena.

SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Luol Deng (6-8, 220)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 227) vs. Carlos Boozer (6-9, 266)
C Tyler Zeller (7-0, 250) vs. Joakim Noah (6-11, 232)
G Dion Waiters (6-4, 221) vs. Richard Hamilton (6-7, 197)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. Kirk Hinrich (6-4, 190) 
Cavs – C Anderson Varejao, G Josh Selby 
Bulls - G Derrick Rose
Gary Zielinski, Tre Maddox, Leon Wood

Monday, February 25, 2013

Kyrie bobblehead on March 4

Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving's first official bobblehead will be given away on Monday, March 4, against the New York Knicks.

Fans in attendance will receive the inaugural Irving bobblehead suited up in his No. 2 gold uniform. Throughout the night the Cavs and fans will celebrate the All-Star with video highlights, contests and surprises,

At halftime, 50 lucky fans will be randomly selected to receive a limited collector’s edition bobblehead of Uncle Drew. Each bobblehead will be individually numbered and presented in a display case.

“Pepsi MAX is excited to partner with the Cleveland Cavaliers to help celebrate Kyrie Irving, one of the game’s most dominant and exciting players,” said Louis Arbetter, marketing director of Pepsi MAX. “As huge basketball fans ourselves, it has been a true pleasure working with Kyrie to bring the Uncle Drew story to life.”

Link to Uncle Drew:”

Single game tickets to all Cavs home games are available by calling 800-820-CAVS (2287), on, all northern Ohio Discount Drug Mart locations and the Quicken Loans Arena Box Office. Tickets purchased by phone or at will be delivered through Flash Seats, the primary method of ticketing for the Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Game 56: Cavs at Heat

MIAMI HEAT (40-14) 109, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (18-38) 105
AmericanAirlines Arena
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM), WFUN (970 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT HAPPENED: This one should hurt. The Cavs had an eight-point lead, 97-89, with 5:16 remaining in the game, yet allowed the Heat to come back.

It was exactly like the last meeting at AmericanAirlines Arena on Nov. 24. They lost that game on Ray Allen's 3-pointer with 18 seconds left, which capped a 9-0 run to close the contest.

This time, the Cavs had two major defensive blunders down the stretch. One was in transition when Shane Battier found himself wide open and he buried a 3. The other came with 24.4 seconds left when Dwyane Wade drove right down Broadway en route to a dunk and a 105-101 lead.

The Cavs were supposed to switch on the play. He turned the corner on Dion Waiters, and that was Alonzo Gee's cue to step in front of Wade and prevent him from getting all the way to the basket. He didn't, and Wade exploited the Cavs' defense.

Coach Byron Scott was upset about the two plays, and rightfully so. But the breakdowns continue to happen time after time.

What he shouldn't be miffed about was the Cavs' never-say-die attitude against the defensive NBA champion Heat. They have now won 11 in a row and are the hottest team in the league.

They had 20- and 22-point leads on the Cavs, yet the latter kept coming back. They blitzed the Heat in the third quarter, 36-17, to take an 82-81 lead entering the fourth.

Swingman C.J. Miles shot the Cavs back in the game. He finished with 19 points and made 5 of 9 from behind the arc.

Waiters was outstanding with a team-high 26 points and three assists. He made 11 of 17 from the field and couldn't be stopped attacking the basket.

Guard Kyrie Irving had 17 points and five assists, while power forward Tristan Thompson finished with 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

The Cavs shot 50 percent from the field and outrebounded the Heat, 35-34.

Forward LeBron James led all scorers with 28 points and eight assists. It was Wade, though, that really hurt the Cavs with 24 points, five rebounds, six assists, two blocks and one steal. He had 15 points in the fourth quarter.

The Cavs would love to finish 2-1 on this trip. It ends in Chicago on Tuesday, which is not a good thing. The Bulls just show up on the court and beat the living crap out of the Cavs. It's been going on since Scott arrived on the scene.

The Cavs were a bit short-handed, as guard Daniel Gibson (personal reasons) and forward Omri Casspi (appendectomy) wasn't in uniform.

The Cavs are now 8-22 on the road this season. On the second night of a back-to-back, they are 3-13.

NEWS FEED: Barry Jackson's story in the Miami Herald on the Heat winning their 10th game in a row.

LAST GAME: The Cavs defeated Orlando on Saturday, 118-94.

UP NEXT: The Cavs travel to Chicago at 8 p.m. Tuesday at United Center.

SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. LeBron James (6-8, 250)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 227) vs. Udonis Haslem (6-8, 235)
C Tyler Zeller (7-0, 250) vs. Chris Bosh (6-11, 235)
G Dion Waiters (6-4, 221) vs. Dwyane Wade (6-4, 220)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. Mario Chalmers (6-2, 190) 
Cavs – C Anderson Varejao, G Josh Selby 
Heat - F Jarvis Varnado
Ed Malloy, Nick Buchert, Violet Palmer

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Game 55: Cavs at Magic

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

WHAT HAPPENED: This was the most winnable game on the three-game road trip. The Cavs blasted the Magic by outscoring them in the second half, 67-43, including 39-22 in the fourth quarter.

The 67 points were the most points scored by the Cavs in a half this season. Their 39 points matched the most they've scored in a quarter (39 in the fourth vs. Oklahoma City on Feb. 2).

More importantly, the Cavs were able to rest their starters. None of their starters played a minute in the fourth quarter.

The Cavs had seven players reach double figures in scoring. Backup center Marreese Speights paced the Cavs with 18 points, eight rebounds and one block.

The star of the game was center Tyler Zeller, who finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and one block. The rookie from North Carolina was shredded by Orlando center Nikola Vucevic the last time the two teams played on Feb. 8.

Vucevic had a career-high 25 points and 13 rebounds in that game at The Q, as Zeller was totally overmatched. Vucevic had six points and seven rebounds on Saturday in 30 minutes.

Everyone asks us to be patient with Zeller. I just haven't seen much improvement in his game. He had a game recently where he didn't attempt a shot. That's ridiculous, especially for someone who can bury a 15-foot jumper. In the New Orleans game, he had two rebounds in 22 minutes. It's hard to wrap your mind around that one. He is a 7-footer, isn't he?

It's all about being aggressive for Zeller. When he plays with aggression, he gets good results. He had six offensive rebounds on Saturday. He competed on the boards and was quite good.

In the master plan at the beginning of the season, he was supposed to be the first big man off the bench. He was perfectly suited to that role until Anderson Varejao went down.

The other rookie, guard Dion Waiters, is making his move. He's not taking as many boneheaded shots, where he looks like the leaning tower of Pisa. He had been shooting 59 percent from the field in the previous six games. That's impressive. He made just 5 of 16 on Saturday. He ended with 12 points, four rebounds and four assists.

Kyrie Irving also had 12 points, but he dished out a game-high nine assists.

Orlando is playing without forward Glen Davis (foot), forward Al Harrington (knee) and guard Jameer Nelson (knee). Forward Hedo Turkoglu (suspended) is also out.

The Magic sent J.J. Redick to the Bucks for three players that don't know the offense or the defense: forward Tobias Harris and guards Doron Lamb and Beno Udrih. In a separate deal, they acquired forward Hakim Warrick from Charlotte for Josh McRoberts.

The Cavs were playing without guard Daniel Gibson, who didn't make the trip to Orlando because of personal reasons, and forward Omri Casspi, who was taken to the hospital with a stomach ailment. Both players have fallen completely out of Coach Byron Scott's rotation.

The Cavs are now 8-21 on the road this season. They have a back-to-back at Miami on Sunday. The Heat are the hottest team in the NBA and have won 10 in a row.

NEWS FEED: Mike Bianchi's column on the J.J. Redick trade to Milwaukee in the Orlando Sentinel.

LAST GAME: The Cavs defeated New Orleans on Wednesday, 105-100.

UP NEXT: The Cavs travel to Miami at 6 p.m. Sunday at AmericanAirlines Arena.

SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Maurice Harkless (6-8, 210)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 227) vs. Andrew Nicholson (6-9, 250)
C Tyler Zeller (7-0, 250) vs. Nikola Vucevic (7-0, 240)
SG Dion Waiters (6-4, 221) vs. Arron Afflalo (6-5, 215)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. E'Twaun Moore (6-4, 191) 
Cavs – C Anderson Varejao, G Josh Selby 
Magic - F Glen Davis
Sean Wright, Dick Bavetta, Scott Twardoski

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Game 54: Hornets at Cavs

Quicken Loans Arena
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM), WFUN (970 AM)/ESPN, Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT HAPPENED: The Hornets are in the same boat at the Cavs: Swimming up river. However, both teams have young stars to build around. The Cavs are building around budding superstar Kyrie Irving. The Hornets are building around Anthony Davis.

The Hornets lost to Chicago on Tuesday, so they were playing a back-to-back. That worked in the Cavs' favor, as they outscored the Hornets, 37-31.

The future Pelicans - I still laugh when I hear that - are played without guard Eric Gordon. He's their second-leading scorer at 16.4 per game. The Hornets don't play him in back-to-back games.

This could have been Cavs backup center Marreese Speights' last game with the team. The trade deadline is Thursday and his name has been making its rounds. I'm not advocating trading him. He's a valuable piece to the Cavs' much-improved second unit.

Coach Byron Scott said he doesn't expect the Cavs to make any deals.

Trading him would leave the Cavs high and dry for a backup center. But if you could get a late first-round pick for him - let's say 22 - I'd do it.

You can never have enough first-round picks. That's been GM Chris Grant's motto.

The Cavs snapped a three-game losing streak overall and to the Hornets.

This is the last game of a seven-game homestand. The Cavs finished 4-3.

NEWS FEED: Here is video of Eric Gordon talking about the trade deadline in the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

LAST GAME: The Cavs lost to San Antonio on Feb. 13, 96-95.

UP NEXT: The Cavs travel to Orlando at 7 p.m. Friday at Amway Center.

SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Al-Farouq Aminu (6-9, 215)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 227) vs. Anthony Davis (6-10, 220)
C Tyler Zeller (7-0, 250) vs. Robin Lopez (7-0, 255)
SG Dion Waiters (6-4, 221) vs. Austin Rivers (6-4, 200)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. Greivis Vasquez (6-6, 211) 
Cavs – C Anderson Varejao, G Josh Selby 
Hornets - none
Bill Kennedy, Eddie F. Rush, Brent Barnaky

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Kyrie Irving wins Three-Point Shootout

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Game 53: Spurs at Cavs

Quicken Loans Arena
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM), WFUN (970 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT HAPPENED: The Spurs are generally considered the best team in the league. Of course, the Cavs took them to the wire before succumbing.

They won when the Cavs had a defensive lapse with 2.9 seconds left, which allowed forward Kawhi Leonard to bury a 3-pointer for the game-winner.

The Spurs have now won 14 of their last 15 games.

It seems like any lineup Coach Gregg Popovich throws out on the floor finds a way to win. They play hard every night - every play, really - the way it's supposed to be.

They have the perfect dynamic on that team with Pop and the three All-Stars in Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. The star players lead and the role players follow.

Duncan, a sure-fire Hall of Famer, had missed eight of their last nine games. He probably wasn't at his best, but he ended with 13 points, six rebounds, three assists and a game-high five blocks.

He had two key offensive rebounds in the last 2 minutes of the game. He's missed some time with a sore left knee. I have to tell you I love watching him play.

Ginobili was limited with a sore left hamstring. He played 9:43 and still managed five points and six assists.

I think everyone knew the Cavs would come back strong after their horrible performance against Minnesota on Monday.

Parker, an MVP candidate, was the best player on the floor. He had 24 points and seven assists and did pretty much what he wanted.

Pop recently referred to small forward Kawhi Leonard as "Bruce Bowen with skills." You got to love, Pop. He says whatever the hell he wants, whenever the hell he wants.

Leonard does have skills. He had 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks. Just love that guy. As an aside, he also has probably the biggest hands in the NBA. That's pretty much a useless fact, but my heads full of stuff like that.

The last thing the Cavs wanted to do was head into the All-Star break riding a three-game losing streak. That's exactly what happened.

Everyone was longing for the Kyrie Irving-Parker match-up on Wednesday. Well, it was a total mismatch. Irving played probably his worst game of the season: a season-low six points, three rebounds, seven assists and five personal fouls.

He looks worn down, like he has no legs. So, he's off to Houston for All-Star festivities and parties every night. Let's hope he shows some constraint and gets some rest.

The Spurs are 4-1 on their nine-game, 16-day rodeo road trip that wraps about the All-Star break.

The Cavs are 3-3 on their seven-game home stand. They had hoped to go 5-2 on the homestand. That went up in smoke on Wednesday. 

NEWS FEED: Jeff McDonald's story on how the system is the star in San Antonio..

LAST GAME: The Cavs lost to Minnesota on Monday, 100-92.

UP NEXT: The Cavs host New Orleans on Feb. 20 at Quicken Loans Arena.

SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Kawhi Leonard (6-7, 225)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 227) vs. Tim Duncan (6-11, 255)
C Tyler Zeller (7-0, 250) vs. Tiago Splitter (6-11, 240)
SG Dion Waiters (6-4, 221) vs. Danny Green (6-6, 210)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. Tony Parker (6-2, 185) 
Cavs – C Anderson Varejao, G Josh Selby 
Spurs - G Cory Joseph, G Stephen Jackson
Marc Davis, Olandis Poole, Sean Wright

Monday, February 11, 2013

Game 52: Timberwolves at Cavs

Quicken Loans Arena
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM), WFUN (970 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT HAPPENED: I'm calling this the worst loss of the season. You could see this building as the game wore on. The Timberwolves gained confidence because the Cavs allowed them to hang around.

It all starts with the Cavs' defense, or lack thereof. Unless things change, this could possible cost Byron Scott his job.

Let's dig into this a little more. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert wants a team that defends with the best of them. He wants a team that hangs its hat on defense. That's not the Cavs.

Gilbert was proud of the way the Cavs used to defend in the Mike Brown era. They got after teams. Of course, once they lit a fire under LeBron James, he quickly became the best defender in the league, and still is.

Scott talks a good game. He says he sees improvement in the Cavs' defense. However, I don't see that improvement on the court.

On Monday, it was horrible. The T-Wolves shot 52 percent from the field and 57 percent from the 3-point line. In the fourth quarter, the T-Wolves shot 75 percent from the field. They outscored the T-Wolves, 51-46, in the second half.

The T-Wolves were playing without five key players, most notably power forward Kevin Love. It doesn't matter when the Cavs play poor teams. They usually play down to their level.

Love has missed 19 games and is expected to be sidelined until late March.

That's too bad for Cleveland fans. The Olympic champion is fun to watch.

This was a game the Cavs should have won. They had won three of their previous four games. The Cavs lost the earlier meeting with Minnesota on Dec. 7, 91-73.

This was Ricky Rubio's debut at The Q. He had been injured in the past. He finished with 13 points, 10 assists and five steals. He's a joy to watch.

Keep your eye on Kyrie Irving's sprained left ankle. A team spokesman said Irving was fine, but those things have a way of changing overnight. Stay tuned.

NEWS FEED: Jerry Zgoda's story on the struggling Timberwolves in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

LAST GAME: The Cavs lost to Denver on Saturday, 111-103.

UP NEXT: The Cavs host San Antonio at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena.

SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Mickael Gelabale (6-7, 215)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 227) vs. Derrick Williams (6-8, 243)
C Tyler Zeller (7-0, 250) vs. Nikola Pekovic (6-11, 281)
SG Dion Waiters (6-4, 221) vs. Luke Ridnour (6-2, 173)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. Ricky Rubio (6-4, 194) 
Cavs – C Anderson Varejao, G Josh Selby 
Timberwolves - F Chase Budinger, G Malcolm Lee, G Brandon Roy
Monty McCutchen, Nick Buchert, Mark Lindsay

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Game 51: Nuggets at Cavs

Quicken Loans Arena
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM), WFUN (970 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT HAPPENED: The Nuggets don't have one representative on the Western Conference All-Star team. And, when you look at their deep and talented roster, they have no real superstar.

But if you equate that with not being a good team, you'd be wrong. Dead wrong.

The Nuggets are darn good. They are well-coached. They are also nine deep of legitimate players. Any team that brings Andre Miller off the bench must be pretty good, and they are.

They are long. They have three 7-footers on the roster. Small forward Danilo Gallinari is listed as 6-10, but you can't convince me he's not a 7-footer.

Power forward Kenneth Faried isn't a 7-footer. They generously list him at 6-8. He just plays so hard. He's a shorter version of Anderson Varejao, only way more athletic.

The Cavs hung with the Nuggets for much of the night, but had trouble closing out quarters. You have to play all the way through against teams like that. They're just too good.

The Cavs had two players with 20 or more points. Guard Kyrie Irving had a game-high 26 points, but 12 came in the fourth quarter. He sat for a long time in the third with foul trouble. That wasn't a good thing.

Forward Alonzo Gee, mired in a terrible shooting slump, had 20 points, two off his career high. However, 15 came in the first six minutes. After that, he didn't do much.

Tristan Thompson, who has been fabulous for the last month or so, was held to just 11 points and four rebounds. He wasn't much of a factor.

Speaking of being almost invisible, the two rookies played a total of 50 minutes. Center Tyler Zeller and guard Dion Waiters combined to score 10 points. Waiters was non-existent with three points. Zeller had seven points and six rebounds. He was 1 of 3 from the field. He had a total of one field goal in the two weekend games. Not acceptable.

I know he's going through growing pains. He's not getting it done for me. He's getting minutes right now not because he's earning them, but because the front office thinks he should be. He's not even been bad as of late. He's been nothing.

I'm actually kind of disappointed in his play.

The Nuggets are 7-2 on the road in the last nine games of the Cavs' series. Denver has also gone 10-3 against the Cavs since the start of the 2006-07 season.

In the past, the Cavs just haven't matched up well against Coach George Karl's team.

The Q was sold out on Saturday, only the fourth of the season. The others were the Oklahoma City game and the first two of the season: vs. Washington and Chicago.

NEWS FEED: Benjamin Hochman's story on Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried in today's Denver Post.

LAST GAME: The Cavs defeated Orlando on Friday, 119-108.

UP NEXT: The Cavs host Minnesota at 7 p.m. Monday at Quicken Loans Arena.

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 Dion Waiters (6-4, 221) vs. Andre Iguodala (6-6, 207)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. Ty Lawson (5-11, 195) 
Cavs – C Anderson Varejao, G Josh Selby 
Nuggets - F Quincy Miller, G Julyan Stone
Bennis Adams, Derrick Collins, Scott Twardoski

Friday, February 8, 2013

Game 50: Magic at Cavs

Quicken Loans Arena
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM), WFUN (970 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT HAPPENED: The Cavs have scored at least 115 points in their last three games and are averaging 108.3 in their last seven games at The Q.

The last time the Cavs scored at least 115 points in three consecutive games was Jan. 15-20, 1993.

Wow. How's that for expert commentary?

Are things coming together for the Cavs? They've won three in a row, six of the last seven and seven of the last 10. They are also 11-11 in their last 22 games since Dec. 22.

Saturday's game against surging Denver is going to be a barnburner. The Nuggets have won eight in a row.

The Magic have hit the wall. They are so banged up right now, even though their starting backcourt of Jameer Nelson and Arron Afflalo can do some damage.

They've now lost 12 in a row. They haven't won since Jan. 16 vs. Indiana. They sure didn't look like a team that had lost 12 in a row to me.

Since the Magic's last victory, the Cavs are 7-3. Not only are they healthy, they are playing extremely well. They are also playing the soft part of their schedule. They have finally found out how to win at home and are 9-13 at The Q. They are 3-0 on their current seven-game homestand. They should be tearing up right now, and they are taking advantage of it.

In their last seven home games, the Cavs are averaging 27.1 assists compared to just 10.9 turnovers.

Kyrie Irving is averaging 25.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 2.3 steals in his last 17 games. He is shooting 48.6 percent from the 3-point line and 90.1 from the foul line in that stretch. 

NEWS FEED: Brian Schmitz's story on the injury-plagued Magic in today's Orlando Sentinel.

LAST GAME: The Cavs defeated Charlotte on Wednesday, 122-95.

UP NEXT: The Cavs host Denver at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Quicken Loans Arena.

SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs.Maurice Harkless (6-8, 210)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 227) vs. Andrew Nicholson (6-9, 250)
C Tyler Zeller (7-0, 250) vs. Nikola Vucevic (7-0, 240)
SG Dion Waiters (6-4, 221) vs. Arron Afflalo (6-5, 215)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. Jameer Nelson (6-0, 190) 
Cavs – C Anderson Varejao, G Josh Selby 
Magic - F/C Glen Davis, F Al Harrington
Mike Callahan, Kevin Cutler, Gary Zielinski

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

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.

UP NEXT: The Cavs host Orlando at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Quicken Loans Arena.

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

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Game 48: Thunder at Cavs

Quicken Loans Arena
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM), WFUN (970 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: The Thunder have the second-best record in basketball. They have the potential to come into The Q and put a hurtin' on the struggling Cavs. Oklahoma City lost to Miami in last year's NBA Finals. They have the firepower to win the whole enchilada, despite trading away mercurial guard James Harden.

If the Cavs come out and play close to the way they did on Friday, the Thunder will lay a 30-point loss on them. The Cavs sleep-walked through their 18-point defeat to the Pistons. Very few players showed up, other than power forward Tristan Thompson and reserve big man Marreese Speights.

With a league-best 29.6-point scoring average, Thunder forward Kevin Durant is in search of his fourth consecutive scoring title. He became the seventh player in NBA history to capture three consecutive scoring crowns. Michael Jordan was the last player to win three straight scoring titles (1995-1998).

Cavs forward Alonzo Gee will have his hands full tonight. He'll need some help to defend the 6-9 Durant.

Point guard Russell Westbrook is also one of the top players in the league. The Thunder come at teams in waves. They have a deep and talented roster.

The Cavs are reeling right now, having lost two in a row. Their defense was non-existent in each of those losses. Just when some people were starting to feel good about them again, they revert right back to where they were.

Hopefully, they haven't started to tune out Coach Byron Scott. He deserves a better fate. I wonder sometimes if the players are even listening to what he has to say.

Unfortunately with this team, everything starts with point guard Kyrie Irving. When he doesn't have a big night, this team isn't competitive. When he's making shots and making things happen, they can be quite good. He freely admitted on Friday he was pissed off and disengaged. He did stand up and take the blame.

Something is a little off about the entire scenario. I'm sure he'll come out tonight with some fire. They usually play well against the top teams. For one thing, it catches their attention. They know they'll have to perform in order to compete. Against some of the lower-rung competition, they play down to their level.

Strange bunch, this 2012-13 Cavs team.

Opposing teams are shooting a league-worst 47.4 percent against the Cavs this year. In the last two games, the Warriors and Pistons shot a combined 53.9 percent from the field.
"Maybe we need to go back to 2 1/2- or three-hour practices and run up and down the floor," Scott said. "I asked our guys if they were content being 13-34, because if they are, let me know and we can make some changes."
NEWS FEED: Berry Tramel's Q & A about emotional Russell Westbrook in the Daily Oklahoman.
LAST GAME: The Cavs lost to Detroit on Friday, 117-99.

UP NEXT: The Cavs host Charlotte at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena.

SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Kevin Durant (6-9, 235)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 227) vs. Serge Ibaka (6-10, 235)
C Tyler Zeller (7-0, 250) vs. Kendrick Perkins (6-10, 270)
SG Dion Waiters (6-4, 221) vs. Thabo Sefolosha (6-7, 215)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. Russell Westbrook (6-3, 187) 
Cavs – C Anderson Varejao, G Josh Selby 
Thunder - C Daniel Orton
David Jones, Brent Barnaky, Brian Forte

Friday, February 1, 2013

Game 47: Cavs at Pistons

The Palace of Auburn Hills
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM), WFUN (970 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT HAPPENED: Cavs guard Kyrie Irving dodged a bullet when newly acquired Pistons guard Jose Calderon missed Friday's game with visa problems. Brandon Knight, however, played, and played well.

He totally outplayed the Cavs' All-Star. Knight, the No. 8 pick in the 2011 draft, finished with 20 points, six rebounds, 10 assists, two steals and one block. He made 7 of 14 from the field, 2 of 4 from the 3-point line and 4 of 4 from the foul line.

Irving, the top selection in the 2011 draft, managed 14 points and four assists. It was his second subpar performance in a row.

Irving wasn't alone, however. His backcourt mate, Dion Waiters, was totally invisible in 22 minutes. In fact, backup point guard Shaun Livingston was much better with eight points and six assists before fouling out.

The Pistons actually shot better from the field (54.2 percent) than they did from the foul line (53.5 percent). They have some major bricklayers at the foul line with Andre Drummond, Charlie Villanueva and Greg Monroe.

That will have to be addressed.

Calderon came from the Raptors in the three-way trade with Memphis and the Pistons. Detroit traded forward Tayshaun Prince, who had spent his entire career with the Pistons.

The Pistons now have an overabundance of point guards in Calderon, Brandon Knight, Rodney Stuckey and Will Bynum. They will pair Calderon and Knight in their starting backcourt.

I've never been able to figure out why the Raptors were so apt to deal Calderon. Every time I saw him play, he played well.

The Cavs have lost their last five games to the Pistons, including their last three at The Palace. They dropped to 0-3 vs. Detroit this season.

It's not so much a match-up thing. It's more of an effort thing. They play harder and with more fire than the Cavs. They've also got more overall talent, better big men and guards.

The Cavs played without forward Luke Walton (sore left ankle and foot/death in family) and guard Daniel Gibson (sprained right big toe). That wasn't the reason they got blown out.

Gibson's minutes are starting to get pinched. C.J. Miles has been shifted to small forward on the second unit, Wayne Ellington is the backup shooting guard and Livingston the point guard. Where does that leave Boobie?

On the bench. Don't be shocked if he's included in a deal at the deadline. He doesn't appear to be in the Cavs' future plans. The fact that he just can't stay healthy doesn't help his cause.

Drummond, one of the top rookie big men in the league, continues to impress. He had nine points, five rebounds and a block. He's clearly ahead of Cavs rookie center Tyler Zeller, who had two points and two rebounds in 17 minutes. If I was the coach, I'm not sure I would have played him 17 minutes. He was awful and allowed the Pistons to intimidate him.

Drummond  is really coming on. He had 18 points and a career-high 18 rebounds vs. Milwaukee on Jan. 29.

If Zeller is going to play like that, perhaps Coach Byron Scott should give more minutes to Kevin Jones, who had four points and a career-high nine rebounds on Friday.

Power forward Tristan Thompson was very good with 19 points and nine rebounds. He's been a joy to watch over the last month.

Pistons forward Kyle Singler was the best Duke player on the court. He had a career-high 20 points, eight rebounds, three blocks and two steals. He was outstanding. Cavs forward Alonzo Gee was almost helpless against him.

Gee is 1 of 12 from the field in his last two games. He needs to snap out of his funk in a hurry.

Luckily for the Cavs, they have a "breather" against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday. They could play well in that game and still get blown out of the gym.

CARR'S MISSTEP: Fox Sports Ohio announcer Austin Carr might receive some flak for his comment about the Cavs having to "work like slaves." It was inappropriate.

VINCENT GOODWILL'S story in the Detroit News about how the Calderon trade affects their salary cap is today's link.

LAST GAME: The Cavs lost to Golden State on Tuesday, 108-95.

UP NEXT: The Cavs host Oklahoma City at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Quicken Loans Arena.

SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Kyle Singler (6-8, 230)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 227) vs. Jason Maxiell (6-7, 260)
C Tyler Zeller (7-0, 250) vs. Greg Monroe (6-11, 250)
SG Dion Waiters (6-4, 221) vs. Rodney Stuckey (6-5, 205)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. Brandon Knight (6-3, 185) 
Cavs – C Anderson Varejao, G Josh Selby 
Pistons - G Jose Calderon
Jason Phillips, David Guthrie, Marat Kogut