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

Friday, March 7, 2014

Game 63: Cavs at Bobcats

Time Warner Cable Arena
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT HAPPENED?: The Cavs suffered a devastating blow to their sinking playoff chances. Looking at the schedule for March, it's going to be next to impossible to hang in the race. With teams like Miami, Oklahoma City and Indiana coming up, the Cavs needed to find a way to get past Charlotte.

They were unable to do so. They are now 0-3 vs. the Bobcats this season. 

A couple things jump out at you on the box score:

--The Cavs were 3 of 17 from behind the arc. Bobcats shooting guard Chris Douglas-Roberts, salvaged out of the D-League, made 4 of 7 from the 3-point line. The Cavs really, really need to find a 3-point shooter in the offseason. Kyrie Irving was 0 of 7 from behind the arc.

--All five Cavs starters scored in double figures. Forward Luol Deng and guard Dion Waiters each had 19 points for the Cavs. The Cavs rarely win when Irving has an off shooting night. He had 13 points - more than 8 points under his season average. He made just 5 of 17 from the field.

--Bobcats center Al Jefferson had 28 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. The Cavs had no answer for him. They tried double-teaming him, but nothing really slowed him down. He is an absolute load.

Charlotte coach Steve Clifford is doing a wonderful job. He should earn some Coach of the Year votes. Cavs coach Mike Brown tried to add him to his coaching staff last summer, but he soon realized Clifford was going to get a job of his own.

Clifford was on Brown's staff with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Everything starts with Jefferson. He can do some major damage, as the Miami Heat found out on March 3. Jefferson finished with 38 points and 19 rebounds against the defending NBA champion.

He's got to be the focus of the Cavs' defensive effort. Many expected Anderson Varejao would be back for this game, but he didn't make the trip. He might be back for the Knicks on Saturday, but there are no guarantees.

It will be up to Spencer Hawes and Tyler Zeller to slow down Jefferson, who is averaging 21.2 points and 10.4 rebounds. In case you haven't noticed, he's the only player in the East averaging at least 20 and 10.

The problem is, power forward Josh McRoberts is a productive player, too, and really facilitates ball movement. He had 11 points and seven rebounds. And, by the way, his hair bothers me.

And let's not forget Kemba Walker, who makes a habit of lighting up the Cavs. He was in the same draft as Kyrie Irving in 2011, and still thinks he's a better player. Who's going to argue with him, after the way this guy plays against the Cavs? Walker had a double-double with 20 points and 14 rebounds.

The Cavs have lost four in a row to the Bobcats.

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

SF Luol Deng (6-9, 220) vs. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (6-7, 232)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 236) vs. Josh McRoberts (6-10, 240)
C Spencer Hawes (7-1, 245) vs. Al Jefferson (6-10, 289)
SG Jarrett Jack (6-3, 200) vs. Chris Douglas-Roberts (6-7, 210)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 193) vs. Kemba Walker (6-1, 184)
Cavs - G/F Carrick Felix, G Carrick Felix
Bobcats C Brendan Haywood, F Jeffery Taylor
Ken Mauer, Curtis Blair, Tre Maddox


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