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

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Game 17: Bulls at Cavs

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

WHAT HAPPENED: The Cavs snapped their five-game losing streak on Saturday with an inspiring victory over the Bulls.

Sure, the Bulls are not the same team without All-Star point guard Derrick Rose, but they are still a playoff team in the Eastern Conference.

They play hard and defend. Coach Tom Thibodeau would have it no other way.

Rose is sidelined for the entire season after tearing the meniscus in his "good" knee. He missed last season after tearing the ACL in his left knee.

You've got to feel bad for the former Most Valuable Player, but the Cavs have had their own problems with which to deal.

Before Saturday, the Cavs had lost six in a row to the Bulls. Their last win at The Q vs. Chicago came on Dec. 9, 2009 - almost four years ago.

Cavs center Andrew Bynum was the star of the game with 20 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks. My gosh was he a load on the block.

The five blocks were very impressive. Bulls center Joakim Noah was bothered by Bynum's length. On one possession, he blocked back-to-back shots from Noah.

Noah was just 2 of 10 from the field. Sidekick Carlos Boozer wasn't much better at 5 of 13.

Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving's shooting continues to plummet, as he was 7 of 21 from the field. He's now down to 40.1 percent from the field. He discarded the mask in the Boston game and we haven't seen it since.

In fact, Dion Waiters is shooting better from the field and 3-point line, but that's a story for another day. Today, it's all about the Cavs winning and their big center having a breakthrough performance.

The key is going to be how Bynum's knees feel when he wakes up tomorrow.

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

SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Luol Deng (6-9, 220)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 236) vs. Carlos Boozer (6-9, 266)
C Andrew Bynum (7-0, 294) vs. Joakim Noah (6-11, 232)
SG C.J. Miles (6-6, 231) vs. Tony Snell (6-9, 230)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 193) vs. Kirk Hinrich (6-4, 190)
Cavs - G/F Carrick Felix, F Earl Clark
Bulls - G Derrick Rose, G Jimmy Butler
Mike Callahan, Nick Buchert, Eric Lewis

Friday, November 29, 2013

Game 16: Cavs at Celtics

TD Arena
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT HAPPENED: It was a black Friday in Beantown.

They were never in the game. From the opening tip. The Celtics jumped out to an 18-2 lead and turned it into a laugher. What is going on with the Cavs would be a laughing matter, but there's a lot of people who truly care what happens with this team.

They are digging themselves such a deep hole, they might not ever recover. Their only saving grace is that the rest of the Eastern Conference is in such a sorry state. There are three teams with records over .500 - Indiana, Miami and Atlanta.

The Cavs, though, have lost five in a row to drop to 4-12. They've lost eight of their last nine. Nothing seems to change. They come out, get hammered and go home. Coach Mike Brown is left to explain what happened to the media afterward. He's running out of things to say.

Seven of their 12 losses have been by 10 or more points.

Their 1-9 mark on the road is second-worst in the entire NBA. Only Utah's 0-9 record is worse.

Until this team learns how to win on the road, their tailspin will continue.

Celtics forward Jeff Green was outstanding on Friday. How well did he play? He outscored the Cavs' starting five, 31-30.

Of course, that's not saying much for the starting five. Brown chose to start rookie Sergey Karasev at shooting guard. He managed one point. Small forward Alonzo Gee erupted for six. Tristan Thompson is now in a funk, too, and had one basket on a tip-in.

Center Andrew Bynum had four points and was 2 of 7 from the field. In his last two games, he's 4 of 17 from the floor. He's been really bad. It's not like he's ferocious on the boards, either. He had two points and a block.

Personally, I don't think the experiment is working.

They still have some problems throwing passes to the low post. All of this stuff should have been ironed out in training camp, but of course, Bynum missed the entire preseason.

Defensively, Bynum isn't doing much, either. He has a long way to go before he's a bona fide NBA center. It might never come back to him.

He corrals rebounds flat-footed, He rarely gets off his feet on his shots or when he's going after the ball rebounding. Defensively, guys just blow past him. Opposing teams are also running more when he's on the court.

I'm guarded in my optimism about when he'll ever be good again.

Former Ohio State center Jared Sullinger outscored Bynum, 12-4, all on 3-point goals. He's averaging 12.1 points and 6.9 rebounds.

The Cavs return home on Saturday to face the Chicago Bulls. They are missing Derrick Rose for the rest of the season, but it makes no difference against the Cavs. If they play like they've been performing in this five-game losing streak, another setback is on the horizon.

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

SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Jeff Green (6-9, 235)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 236) vs. Brandon Bass (6-8, 250)
C Andrew Bynum (7-0, 294) vs. Jared Sullinger (6-9, 280)
SG Sergey Karasev (6-7, 196) vs. Jordan Crawford (6-4, 195)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 193) vs. Avery Bradley (6-2, 180)
Cavs - G/F C.J. Miles, C Henry Sims
Celtics - G Rajon Rondo
Bill Kennedy, Mark Lindsay, James Williams

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Game 15: Heat at Cavs

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

WHAT HAPPENED?: The Cavs have lost their last eight games to the Heat, including their last four at The Q. LeBron James is 10-1 lifetime against the Cavs.

James, as expected, was sensational. He outscored the Cavs' starting five, 28-26. That's hard to do. Of course, the Cavs' starting five has two players on it that should never start an NBA game: Matthrew Dellavedova and Alonzo Gee.

The Cavs played hard on Wednesday and put forth effort. However, they just aren't very good right now, plain and simple. That might not be what you want to hear, but it's true. They don't shoot well at all. The offense is a joke.

Their best shooting guard, Dion Waiters, doesn't start. I've never really gotten a straight answer on that one. We've heard he doesn't fit with Kyrie Irving. Well, who does? Irving isn't playing up to his potential at all, much like the rest of the team.

Waiters was quite good against the Heat. He matched his season high with 24 points and six rebounds. He attacked the basket, went to the foul line 11 times (he made only six) and dished out three assists.

"He played the right way," Coach Mike Brown said.

They drafted Waiters No. 4 in the 2012 draft. They invested a lot of time and effort into grooming him. Then Mike Brown comes in and decides he's not a Waiters fan. So now there's trade rumors and he could be dealt. The whole thing stinks from top to bottom. This time last year, former Coach Byron Scott raved about Waiters' talent. Brown, maybe because of Scott's affinity for him, has benched Waiters.

The Cavs haven't beaten Miami since March 29, 2011. Tonight would have been a good time to snap that streak. However, I never thought the Heat were seriously threatened. They had control of the game the whole night.

I'm starting to wonder if the Andrew Bynum experiment is going to pan out. He was just 2 of 10 from the field against the Heat. Kyrie Irving, who was in a funk from the opening tip, was really bad with 6 of 19 shots.

I just can't figure out what's going on with Irving. I predicted big things for him this year. Thus far, they haven't worked out. Let's hope he snaps out of it. Without him, they don't have a chance.

UP NEXT: The Cavs travel to Boston at 7:30 p.m. Friday at TD Garden

SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. LeBron James (6-8, 250)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 236) vs. Rashard Lewis (6-10, 230)
C Andrew Bynum (7-0, 294) vs. Chris Bosh (6-11, 235)
SG Matthew Dellavedova (6-4, 200) vs. Dwyane Wade (6-4, 220)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 193) vs. Mario Chalmers (6-2, 190)
Cavs - G/F C.J. Miles, C Henry Sims
Heat - C Greg Oden, F Shane Battier
Ed Malloy, Matt Boland, Michael Smith

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Game 14: Cavs at Spurs

AT&T Center
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT HAPPENED: When an NBA team has a chance to close out an opponent on the road, it has to take advantage of that. That's why it was imperative the Cavs won on Friday when they had a 12-point lead with 4:44 to play.

They weren't going to go into San Antonio and beat the high-flying Spurs, who came seconds away from winning an NBA title last year.

They have now won 10 in a row and are are tied with Indiana for the best record in the NBA.

Actually, the Cavs were still in the ball game after the first quarter when the Spurs led, 30-21. That wasn't the case after the second quarter, when the Cavs were spanked, 35-11.

So, now the Cavs are 4-10 overall, 1-8 on the road. I'm starting to wonder if they'll ever see .500 again.

"It's still early," the sympathizers say.

I say that's bunk. They are displaying terrible signs. Coach Mike Brown is juggling the lineup on a nightly basis. The rotation is a joke. The players don't know their roles.

The Cavs never led on Saturday. The Spurs eked out a 43-point lead at one point.

They also drained 18 of 23 from the 3-point line. For those of you keeping track at home, that's 66.7 percent from behind the arc.

They also shot 57.5 percent from the field. They execute teams to death. They also find the open man and move the ball. 

Brown said after the game the only positive thing to come out of it is that the Cavs got to see how it should be done. 

I'd have to say center Andrew Bynum's season-high 16 points and six rebounds was a positive sign. He's been ready to have a breakthrough game for about a week. He appeared in both games of the back-to-back, which is also a good thing.

Also, Matthew Dellavedova had a career-high 14 points.

On the dark side, veteran guard Jarrett Jack injured his neck and didn't return. That's not a good thing since C.J. Miles is already sidelined with a strained calf.

Rookie Anthony Bennett also had a career-high nine points. He looked good in mop-up duty.

In case you were wondering, the Spurs haven’t lost to the Cavs since a 97-86 setback in San Antonio on Feb. 27, 2009.

The Cavs have dropped six of their last seven games overall. At least now, they have a "breather" on Wednesday where they can right the ship. I'm being sarcastic, of course, as the two-time NBA champion Heat come to town in a nationally televised game.

UP NEXT: The Cavs host Miami at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena.

SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Kawhi Leonard (6-7, 230)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 236) vs. Tim Duncan (6-11, 250)
C Andrew Bynum (7-0, 294) vs. Tiago Splitter (6-11, 245)
SG Matthew Dellavedova (6-4, 200) vs. Danny Green (6-6, 215)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 193) vs. Tony Parker (6-2, 185)
Cavs - G/F C.J. Miles, C Henry Sims
Spurs - F/C Boris Diaw
Mike Callahan, Karl Lane, Eric Lewis

Friday, November 22, 2013

Game 13: Cavs at Pelicans

New Orleans Arena
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT HAPPENED: When is this nightmare going to end?

When an NBA team has a 12-point lead with 4 minutes, 44 seconds to play, they are supposed to win. But the Cavs failed to close out the Pelicans.

Earl Clark, who was yanked out of the starting lineup, buried a 3-pointer to give the Cavs 93-81 lead. From that point in the game, the Cavs were outscored, 23-7.

This one hurt. The Cavs played with fire and aggressiveness. It would have been a perfect way to start the road trip that concludes in San Antonio on Saturday.

They'll be about a 10-point underdog in San Antonio. As it is, they are 1-7 on the road this season. They've also lost five of their last six overall.

There were a few numbers that really stood out:

--The Pelicans outscored the Cavs in fastbreak points, 23-2. Sure, they might have the best backcourt in the NBA, at least the deepest. But that shouldn't happen.

--They pounded the Cavs on the boards, 49-37. That dominance was never more evident than on the offensive glass, 19-6.

--They outscored the Cavs in second-chance points, 25-8.

--Rookie Carrick Felix made his NBA debut. He had two turnovers in 1:38 and was benched.

--Fellow rookie Matthew Dellavedova made his first NBA start (giving the Cavs two Australian-born starters in the backcourt). He did almost nothing in 12 minutes but commit five personal fouls. He wasn't nearly as effectively on the defensive end as he has been. Pelicans guard Eric Gordon just blew by him a few times.

The Pelicans' best player is power forward Anthony Davis, who has gotten off to a fantastic start. He's averaging 21 points, 10.8 rebounds, 4.0 blocks and 1.9 steals per game. Those are All-Star numbers, and one reason why Cavs power forward Tristan Thompson must show up for this game.

Davis finished with 17 points, a game-high 13 rebounds and three blocks.

One can see why Davis was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft. Of course, the Cavs' No. 1 pick in 2013, power forward Anthony Bennett, isn't even in Brown's rotation. I've never seen a No. 1 overall pick struggle as much as he has to start the season.

He's making the Cavs' talent-evaluators look bad right now.

Cavs center Andrew Bynum has been cleared to play in both games this weekend. The medical staff appears to be close to loosening his minutes restrictions, which had been around 21 minutes.

He started fast on Friday, but fizzled thereafter. He ended with eight points, one rebound, a season-high four assists and two blocks. 

Late in the game, Coach Mike Brown went with Thompson at center.

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

SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Al-Farouq Aminu (6-9, 215)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 236) vs. Anthony Davis (6-10, 220)
C Andrew Bynum (7-0, 294) vs. Jason Smith (7-0, 240)
SG Matthew Dellavedova (6-4, 200) vs. Eric Gordon (6-4, 215)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 193) vs. Jrue Holiday (6-4, 205)
Cavs - G/F C.J. Miles, C Henry Sims
Pelicans - F Darius Miller, C Greg Stiemsma
Joe Crawford, Leroy Richardson, Ben Taylor

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Game 12: Wizards at Cavs

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

WHAT HAPPENED: The Cavs put forth an embarrassing effort for 2 1/2 quarters. What in Sam Hill is going on with this team?

Coach Mike Brown can't seem to figure it out. It's too early in the season for the players to tune out their coach. But that's exactly what it looks like.

This "team" has not come together in the least. There's no chemistry or cohesion. It's five guys running around out there on the court. 

The Cavs need to make a trade to shake up this group. They need to be jolted back in line before it's too late. 

They leave on Thursday for New Orleans. They should be good and ready to face the Pelicans after a night on Bourbon Street.

Then they play in San Antonio on Saturday to face the Spurs. So, they'll be on the second night of a back-to-back road set. Do you need me to tell you what will probably happen? They'll also be playing without center Andrew Bynum on Saturday.

If he were to play like he did tonight, it wouldn't make any difference any way. He made no impact on Wednesday's game whatsoever.

For whatever reason, while he was in the game, they had him guarding Nene, who simply took him out on the floor and fired 16-foot jumpers. If you didn't notice, he's pretty good out there. Meanwhile, Tristan Thompson (another no-show vs. the Wizards) guarded Marcin Gortat. He's a guy you want to shoot from the perimeter, but really doesn't.

I can see why the Cavs had Bynum trying to guard Nene. Bynum is strong as an ox. But he's like a beached whale out on the floor.

C.J. Miles strained his calf muscle just 3 minutes into the game. He was replaced by Dion Waiters. Now, what does Brown do at the "2" spot in the New Orleans game? He, obviously, doesn't want to start Waiters. His options are Delly - Matthew Dellavedova - Waiters or Jarrett Jack. He could also stick rookie Sergey Karasev in there, but it's unlikely.

This team is a mess right now. It might get worse before it gets better.

UP NEXT: The Cavs travel to New Orleans at 8 p.m. Friday at New Orleans Arena.

SF Earl Clark (6-10, 234) vs. Martell Webster (6-7, 235)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 236) vs. Nene (6-11, 250)
C Andrew Bynum (7-0, 294) vs. Marcin Gortat (6-11, 240)
SG C.J. Miles (6-6, 231) vs. Bradley Beal (6-5, 195)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 193) vs. John Wall (6-4, 207)
Cavs - G/F Carrick Felix, C Tyler Zeller
Wizards - F Otto Porter, F Chris Singleton
Derrick Stafford, Brian Forte, Eli Roe

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Game 11: Cavs at Wizards

Verizon Center
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT HAPPENED: After starting the season with six consecutive losses on the road, the Cavs finally break into the win column away from home. It's needed, too, since they play two more rough road games next week.

Perhaps the only team in the Eastern Conference more disappointing than the Cavs was their opponent on Saturday. The Wizards, who have the same playoff aspirations as the Cavs, dropped to 2-7 on the season.

In reality, both teams have time to rebound from their poor start. Perhaps, the Cavs' road to recovery started in Washington on Saturday. 

The Cavs outscored the Wizards in overtime, 13-6. Guard Kyrie Irving turned the ball over at the end of regulation. He had a chance to win the game, but Wizards power forward Nene got his hand on the ball. Irving never got off a shot.

Irving was sensational, as he matched his career high with 41 points.He made 14 of 28 shots from the field, 4 of 7 from the 3-point line, and 9 of 9 from the foul line. He scored 41 points against the Knicks last year after he broke a bone in his cheek. He was wearing a black mask last year, as he referred to himself as the Black Knight.

With Dion Waiters missing his second consecutive game with a sickness, Coach Mike Brown struggled to find an adequate replacement against the Wizards. It wasn't until he inserted rookie Matthew Dellavedova into the game that he found what he was looking for.

Delly is like a junkyard dog. He's not overly skilled, but he plays his butt off. He played 31 minutes and had just two points. But he added six rebounds, two assists and two steals. More importantly, he threw a defensive blanket over Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal.

Beal looked early on like he was going to score 35 or 40 points against the Cavs. He came into the game averaging a career-high 19.3 points. However, Delly got physical with him, got up into his space, and really bothered him. Beal still finished with 28 points.

The Cavs snapped a three-game losing streak. They held the Wizards to 39.7 percent from the field. That's what Brown has been looking for. This was a real herky-jerky-type of game.

A lot of the Cavs' problems can be solved on the practice court. After tonight's game, the Cavs have three off days before they host the Wizards on Wednesday. Brown needs to take advantage of that time to whip this bunch into shape.

The Cavs have won four in a row over the Wizards, including their last three at the Verizon Center.

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

SF Earl Clark (6-10, 234) vs. Martell Webster (6-8, 225)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 236) vs. Nene (6-11, 250)
C Andrew Bynum (7-0, 294) vs. Marcin Gortat (6-11, 240)
SG C.J. Miles (6-6, 231) vs. Bradley Beal (6-5, 195)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 193) vs. John Wall (6-4, 207)
Cavs - G/F Carrick Felix, G Dion Waiters
Wizards - F Otto Porter, F Chris Singleton
Rodney Mott, Courtney Kirkland, Olandis Poole

Friday, November 15, 2013

Game 10: Bobcats at Cavs

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

WHAT HAPPENED: The season is quickly unraveling for the Cavs. The Cavs are an absolute mess right now.

They've lost three games in a row. They have a road game in Washington on Saturday. They are already 0-6 away from home. The last thing they want to do is fall to 0-7.

The Wizards have the same playoff aspirations as the Cavs. This is not going to be an easy game by any means. The Wizards have a big frontcourt with Marcin Gortat, Nene and Trevor Ariza. Their backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal is the strength of the team.

The Cavs keep falling deeper and deeper into the abyss. Whatever Coach Mike Brown is telling them must be going in one ear and out the other. I really believed this was a playoff team. Perhaps I overrated this bunch from the start.

There's still plenty of time to straighten things out, but there are some bad signs.

The Bobcats have beaten the Cavs four times this season - twice in the preseason - and once on Nov. 1 in Charlotte, 90-84.

If you haven't noticed, Bobcats point guard Kemba Walker gets up for playing against Kyrie Irving, who went first in the 2011 draft. Walker went seventh, but has a chip on his shoulder.

The Cavs are still waiting for Irving to pick up his overall play. They need him playing at an All-Star level to have a chance to win. Thus far, he's been a bit off, as evidenced by his 38 percent shooting from the field.

Irving hasn't been the only problem. The whole team has been a bit off. They are not defending like Coach Mike Brown wants, and the offense has been askew all season. They run around the court with no real purpose, while Irving dribbles and dribbles and dribbles.

That can't be what Brown wants out of his offense. 

The Cavs don't seem to match up real well against the Bobcats, who have a new coach in Steve Clifford. Along with a new coach, they have a new attitude. There isn't an overabundance of talent on this roster, but the guys play their butts off for Clifford.

The same can't be said about the Cavs, who have looked discombobulated as of late.

The Cavs were averaging 106 points per game at home, third best in the Eastern Conference. Of course, they managed just 80 on Friday.

UP NEXT: The Cavs travel to Washington at 7 p.m. Saturday at Verizon Center.

SF Earl Clark (6-10, 234) vs. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (6-7, 232)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 236) vs. Josh McRoberts (6-10, 240)
C Anderson Varejao (6-11, 268) vs. Bismack Biyombo (6-9, 245)
SG C.J. Miles (6-6, 231) vs. Gerald Henderson (6-5, 215)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 193) vs. Kemba Walker (6-1, 184)
Cavs - C Andrew Bynum, G Carrick Felix
Bobcats - C Brendan Haywood, C Al Jefferson
Danny Crawford, Steve Anderson, Sean Corbin

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Game 9: Cavs at Timberwolves

Target Center
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT HAPPENED: You getting as tired of hearing, "It's early," as I am?

Whatever Coach Mike Brown is doing right now, it's not working. This was an absolute embarrassment. Certainly, the players haven't tuned him out nine games into the season, have they?

This group looks uninterested. There's some sort of disconnect right now. I wish I had the answers.

It's one thing to go to Minnesota and lose. It's another thing to get bashed in the mouth - in Kyrie Irving's case, physically bashed in the mouth - and not fight back.

For much of the game, Irving and center Anderson Varejao were the only ones actually playing basketball. They played a little two-man game, and the other three guys just watched.

Timberwolves forward Kevin Love toyed with the Cavs. He's not the most athletic player on the court, just the best. He ended with 33 points, eight rebounds and six assists. He checked into tonight's game leading the NBA in rebounding (15 per game) and second in scoring (26.4 points per game). He really is a special talent.

Cavs power forward Tristan Thompson tried to defend him, but wasn't up for the task.

The Cavs played without center Andrew Bynum (family matter). He would have helped. But they just laid down.

They are now 0-6 on the road this season. One can see how that's going to be a major bugaboo this year for the Cavs. 

It could be something that keeps them out of the playoffs.

Playoffs? Did I just mention playoffs? What a joke. That word shouldn't be uttered until they straighten themselves out ... if they straighten themselves out.

For whatever reason, this team is just not living up to expectations. It's too early to start getting rid of guys. The front office and coaching staff needs to be patient. This team is playing like it did the previous three seasons - like total crap. We can't blame this on Byron Scott. Brown is the coach and he needs to find a way to pull this team out of its malaise.

This team is a total mess right now. From top to bottom. 

The Cavs trailed by 39 points at one point in this lopsided affair.

They are expected to practice on Thursday. Heck, Brown might have them run wind sprints for three hours after this one.

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

SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Robbie Hummel (6-8, 220)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 236) vs. Kevin Love (6-10, 243)
C Anderson Varejao (6-11, 268) vs. Nikola Pekovic (6-11, 285)
SG Dion Waiters (6-4, 225) vs. Corey Brewer (6-9, 185)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 193) vs. Ricky Rubio (6-4, 185)
Cavs - C Andrew Bynum, G Carrick Felix
Timberwolves - F Chase Budinger, C Ronny Turiaf
Zach Zarba, Dick Bavetta, Josh Tiven

Monday, November 11, 2013

Game 8: Cavs at Bulls

United Center
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT HAPPENED: The Bulls didn't look like a last-place team in my book. They probably won't catch Indiana in the Central Division, but they are a quality team.

Former MVP Derrick Rose, who missed the entire season last year recovering from a torn ACL, has gotten off to a slow start. He was very good on Monday with 16 points and seven assists. He was hurting the Cavs with his dribble penetration - and the Cavs seemed powerless from preventing it from happening.

Rose shot 8 of 21 from the field, not bad considering he came into the game shooting 32 percent from the field.

Rose and Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving faced off for the first time in their careers. Irving had 16 points and four assists. However, he didn't record his first field goal until there was 43 seconds left in the third quarter. In all, he shot a woeful 5 of 19 from the floor.

Rose seemed to tweak his lhamstring in the late going and came out of the game. Hopefully, it's nothing serious. He's such a major talent.

Cavs center Andrew Bynum made his first start with the team. Coach Mike Brown hinted at the move during the morning shootaround. Bynum looked very good with a season-high 11 points, six rebounds and two blocks. 

The Cavs are a different and much better team with the 7-footer on the court. 

The Bulls' leading scorer was power forward Carlos Boozer, who had 17 points and seven rebounds. He came into the game shooting a sizzling 59.7 percent from the floor. The former Cavs standout, who made 7 of 11 shots from the floor, was a handful for Cavs power forward Tristan Thompson.

Thompson has been holding his own with some of the top power forwards in the league, largely because of how hard he plays. Soon, we could be including Thompson being in that lofty status. He certainly wants it.

He finished with 14 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.

The Cavs have lost their first five games on the road this season. The goal is to win 50 percent of its games on the road this season. That's going to be hard to do. They just don't play at the same level on the road as they do at home. They have another rough road game on Wednesday in Minnesota.

The Bulls have been one of the league's top defensive teams under Coach Tom Thibodeau. The Cavs long to attain that level. They held the Cavs to 41.3 percent shooting on Monday. The Bulls shot 41 percent.

The Bulls were 24 of 26 from the foul line for 92.3 percent. None of their starters missed a free throw. The Cavs were 14 of 20.

The game was lost in the fourth quarter when the Bulls outscored the Cavs, 32-21. It was anybody's game heading into the fourth.

The Cavs turned the ball over 20 times, a recipe for disaster against the Bulls.

Coach Mike Brown revamped his rotation. He benched Anthony Bennett altogether, although his shoulder might be bothering him. He also played Henry Sims before he put Tyler Zeller into the game. They both played about 4 minutes.

Also, Earl Clark didn't play for the second consecutive game.

UP NEXT: The Cavs travel to Minnesota at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Target Center.

SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Luol Deng (6-9, 220)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 236) vs. Carlos Boozer (6-9, 266)
C Andrew Bynum (7-0, 294) vs. Joakim Noah (6-11, 232)
SG Dion Waiters (6-4, 225) vs. Jimmy Butler (6-7, 220)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 193) vs. Derrick Rose (6-3, 190)
Cavs - F Sergey Karasev, G Carrick Felix
Bulls - N/A
Jason Phillips, Kevin Scott, James Williams

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Game 7: 76ers at Cavs

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

WHAT HAPPENED: The Cavs desperately needed to win this game, no matter what Coach Mike Brown said in postgame.

They've struggled on the road this year, as their 0-4 record away from The Q attests. They go on the road for two rugged contests in Chicago and Minnesota on Monday and Wednesday, respectively. They didn't want to return from that trip 2-7.

"It's been an interesting beginning to the season," Brown said. "While we're going through all (this), we're expected to win games. This had nothing to do with Chicago and Minnesota coming up. We were trying to get a win. That didn't put any more of a sense of urgency to win the game."

The Cavs prevailed over the Sixers on Saturday in a battle of the fittest. 

Talk about the Cavs being a playoff team might have been premature. Just because one wants to be in the playoffs doesn't make one a playoff team. This team hasn't shown that it's a team capable of playing in the postseason.

They have talent, of course, but they've got to shore up several areas in order to be one of the top eight teams in the Eastern Conference.

Let's cite some of their problems:

-- Their production out of their small forwards has been a joke. Starter Earl Clark and backup Alonzo Gee can't shoot a lick. At least Gee recognizes this and doesn't hoist up a lot of shots. Clark doesn't. He continues to shoot - and miss. He has no touch on his shot, especially from 3-point range. He was benched on Saturday, and never got off the bench.

-- Center Andrew Bynum is struggling in a backup role. He's not capable right now of dominating the center position. Since it's the tail end of a back-to-back set, he's not expected to play tonight.

-- Rookie forward Anthony Bennett returned to the lineup on Saturday after straining his shoulder on Friday. He missed his only shot and is now 1 of 21 on the season.

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

SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Evan Turner (6-7, 216)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 236) vs. Thaddeus Young (6-8, 230)
C Anderson Varejao (6-11, 267) vs. Spencer Hawes (7-1, 245)
SG Dion Waiters (6-4, 225) vs. James Anderson (6-6, 210)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 193) vs. Michael Carter-Williams (6-6, 185)
Cavs - C Andrew Bynum, G Carrick Felix
Sixers - C Nerlens Noel, F/C Arnett Moultrie, G Jason Richardson
Sean Wright, Matt Boland, Leroy Richardson

Friday, November 8, 2013

Game 6: Cavs at 76ers

Wells Fargo Center
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT HAPPENED: Maybe this isn't a playoff team.

The Cavaliers dropped to 0-4 on the road this season. Unless this trend ends soon, things could get ugly.

The 76ers have been one of the league's surprise teams in the early going. They really get up and down the floor with point guard Michael Carter-Williams. He could be an early favorite for Rookie of the Year.

He's got the height advantage over most point guards. One doesn't see many 6-6 point guards, especially ones this athletic. He was the Eastern Conference Player of the Week.

Even though Kyrie Irving dished out nine assists, he made just 4 of 17 from the field, 1 of 6 from behind the arc, for 10 points. Remember, he averaged 22 per game last year. he's no where near that this season.

Former Ohio State swingman Evan Turner is having his best season in the NBA and is averaging 22.2 points and 5.4 rebounds. Of course, he's in his contract year.

Of course, he had 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists against the Cavs. He was pretty darn good. The Cavs' paltry performers at small forward couldn't keep pace. Earl Clark, who leaves a lot to be desired, combined with Alonzo Gee for six points and four rebounds.

Sorry, guys, but it's not working.

The Cavs' vaunted defense was shredded by Milwaukee on Wednesday. The Sixers shot 47.6 percent from the field on Friday.

Backup shooting guard C.J. Miles has been playing very good basketball. He's one of the league's highest scorers off the bench at 14.6, second on the team. He had 13 points and three assists on Friday.

Center Andrew Bynum played, got booed, and then took is seat. He scored four points, had five rebounds and a block in 18 minutes.

The Cavs are expected to hold him out of Saturday's game, also against the Sixers, at The Q. He said some disturbing things after practice on Thursday, but nothing more potentially damaging than saying he's had thoughts of retiring.

Once that thought creeps in there, it might be time to go.

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

SF Earl Clark (6-10, 235) vs. Evan Turner (6-7, 216)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 236) vs. Thaddeus Young (6-8, 230)
C Anderson Varejao (6-11, 267) vs. Spencer Hawes (7-1, 245)
SG Dion Waiters (6-4, 225) vs. James Anderson (6-6, 210)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 193) vs. Michael Carter-Williams (6-6, 185)
Cavs - C Henry Sims, G Carrick Felix
Sixers - C Nerlens Noel, F/C Arnett Moultrie, G Jason Richardson
Joe Crawford, Kane Fitzgerald, Ben Taylor