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

Monday, February 3, 2014

Game 48: Cavs at Mavericks

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

WHAT HAPPENED?: The Mavericks are seven games over .500, yet out of the Western Conference playoffs if they had started today.

In the East, they'd be the third seed.

The Cavs are the 11th seed - and dropping. If it wasn't for Milwaukee, they'd be back in the Central Division cellar they've inhabited the previous three seasons.

They are certainly playing like they belong in the basement. 

Center Anderson Varejao returned to the lineup after a three-game absence with a hyperextended left knee. He finished with 10 points and five rebounds in 25 minutes.

Unforunately, the Cavs' competitive edge didn't return on the boards. They've been outrebounded in four consecutive games, this time, 45-31, by the Mavs.

I'm not the only person tired of watching Tyler Zeller play. He played just three minutes against the Mavs. He's been pushed around the last week, most notably when he was elevated into the starting lineup.

The Cavs have lost five in a row overall, as well as seven of their last eight. They've also lost four in a row in Dallas. They are 5-20 on the road this season.

The Cavs finished 0-3 on the road trip. They were outscored in every quarter by the Mavs.

Think the Cavs are competing on the defensive end? Check out these numbers. The Knicks shot 56.6 percent from the field, the Rockets 51.3 and the Mavs 55.

That's unacceptable. Remember, this is a defensive-first team. Ha. I had to chuckle when writing that. They are anything but a defensive-first team. Their are like a sieve on defense. Until they start defending, this horrible slide they're on will continue.

Coach Mike Brown has tried just about everything possible to change things. The latest is to alter the starting lineup. Jarrett Jack dished out eight assists to go with his 12 points. We're not sure what's next.

UP NEXT: The Cavs host the Los Angeles Lakers at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena.

SF Luol Deng (6-9, 220) vs. Jae Crowder (6-6, 225)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 236) vs. Dirk Nowitzki (7-0, 245)
C Anderson Varejao (6-11, 267) vs. Samuel Dalembert (6-11, 250)
SG Jarrett Jack (6-3, 200) vs. Monta Ellis (6-3, 185)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 193) vs. Jose Calderon (6-3, 200)
Cavs - G/F Sergey Karasev, G Carrick Felix
Mavericks - F Shawn Marion, G Gal Mekel, G Ricky Ledo
Mike Callahan, Bennie Adams, Nick Buchert


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