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

Friday, February 21, 2014

Game 56: Cavs at Raptors

Air Canada Centre
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT HAPPENED?: The Cavs' six-game winning streak, longest current streak in the NBA, came to an end. The Cavs were extremely short-handed, as they were missing starting center Anderson Varejao (sore back/general soreness), sixth man Dion Waiters (hyperextended left knee) and valuable bench scoring threat C.J. Miles (sprained left ankle).

That was too much to overcome to a team leading the Atlantic Division.

The game marked center Spencer Hawes' first game with the Cavs. He came off the bench and had seven points, 10 rebounds, three assists and three blocks in 27 minutes. Not bad for the newcomer. He was just 3 of 10 from the field, 1 of 3 from the 3-point line.

Picking up Hawes was a shrewd move by Cavs Acting General Manager David Griffin. It might be just for the rest of the season, a 29-game rental, if you will, but another big was needed with the uncertainty surrounding Varejao.

Remember, this team is gunning for the playoffs.

Hawes is more of a finesse player. He can shoot from the perimeter in the Dirk Nowitzki/Andrea Bargnani mold. I'm not thrilled with my center shooting 3s, but that's how the NBA has evolved. He's shooting 39.9 percent from beyond the arc.

What the Cavs like about his game is that he'll spread the floor, creating driving lanes for Luol Deng and others.

The Cavs had to forfeit forward Earl Clark and center Henry Sims in the Hawes' trade. No one is going to miss Clark. He played with absolutely no passion. Sims? That's another matter. Whenever he got minutes, he produced. He was also a neat guy. I remember him telling me and the Plain Dealer's Jodie Valade in the preseason, "Call me Hank." Just liked him. He was a tough kid and wasn't afraid to knock someone on his butt.

The Cavs just couldn't make shots with any regularity on the night. The Raptors are very aggressive defensively. They held the Cavs to 39 percent shooting.

The Cavs hadn't lost a game since Feb. 5 - a span of 16 days. It was fun while it lasted. The injury bug just caught up with them.

Their undoing occurred in the third quarter when they were outscored, 37-21. The Raptors' intensity picked up after halftime. The Cavs did everything in their power to keep the game close. They came close to getting blown out of the gym in the third.

The Raptors, the third seed in the Eastern Conference, are deep and talented. Besides All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan, there are some who thought point guard Kyle Lowry belonged in New Orleans as well. His job tonight was to run the team and make life miserable for Kyrie Irving.

Irving made just 3 of 16 shots from the field. Miserable night shooting the ball. Coupled with Jarrett Jack's 3 of 9, their starting backcourt shot 6 of 25 from the field. I know Coach Mike Brown doesn't have any options right now, but the Jack experiment as a starter has definitely run its course.

Once Waiters or Miles return, stick them in there and bring Jack off the bench. 

Forward Luol Deng had 21 points and 11 rebounds, both game highs, and he couldn't make a shot, either. He was just 6 of 15. It was that kind of night for the Cavs.

UP NEXT: The Cavs host Washington at 6 p.m. Sunday at Quicken Loans Arena.

SF Luol Deng (6-9, 220) vs. Terrence Ross (6-6, 195)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 236) vs. Amir Johnson (6-9, 235)
C Tyler Zeller (7-0, 250) vs. Jonas Valanciunas (6-11, 231)
SG Jarrett Jack (6-3, 200) vs. DeMar DeRozan (6-7, 216)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 193) vs. Kyle Lowry (6-0, 205)
Cavs - C Anderson Varejao, G Carrick Felix
Raptors G Dwight Buycks, G Nano De Colo
Bennett Salvatore, Nick Buchert, Sean Corbin


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