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Without LeBron James, Kevin Love and Shawn Marion, Cavs drop third straight with 96-80 loss to Bucks

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 31, 2014

CLEVELAND: Bucks guard Brandon Knight scored 26 points and Milwaukee beat the beleaguered Cavaliers 96-80 Wednesday night.

The Cavs were playing without forward LeBron James, forward Kevin Love and forward Shawn Marion. They’ve also recently lost center Anderson Varejao for the season to an Achilles injury. With 41 points per game missing between Love and James, the Cavs shot a season-worst 34 percent and narrowly missed setting a new low for points in a game this season (78).

 James missed his second consecutive game and third this season with a sore left knee that has bothered him all season. Love left Tuesday’s loss at the Atlanta Hawks early with back spasms and was unable to play when he arrived at the arena Wednesday. Reserve forward Shawn Marion continues to nurse a left ankle he injured last week in a loss to the Detroit Pistons.

The Cavs enjoyed relatively good health for the season’s first two months, but all of that is changing. They’ve lost three straight and four of their last five while rumors about coach David Blatt’s future have already started swirling less than halfway into his first season.

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LeBron James, Kevin Love and Shawn Marion all out tonight when Cavs host Bucks

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 31, 2014

CLEVELAND: Kevin Love and Shawn Marion will join LeBron James on the bench for tonight's home game against the Milwaukee Bucks. Love is battling back problems while Shawn Marion rolled his ankle last week in a loss to the Detroit Pistons.

Cavs coach David Blatt said Love wasn't moving well when he arrived at the arena. The medical staff tried loosening his back, but apparently to no avail. 

James has undergone tests on the ailing left knee, which he conceded Wednesday has bothered him all season. No one would disclose what type of tests they were, but James said they all came back negative. 

"I've got 41,000 minutes for my career, including the playoffs," James said. "You drive that car in the winter time."

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LeBron James says on-court video with Wade had nothing to do with basketball

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 31, 2014

CLEVELAND: LeBron James dismissed an internet video making the rounds Wednesday that seemed to show him and Dwyane Wade talking about a reunion. 

The video, which James also watched, was difficult to hear clearly. But James seemed to say something about reuniting with Wade. When asked about it Wednesday, he said it had nothing to do with basketball.

"If I was going to tell him that, I’d tell him that the night before. I’m not stupid. I know I didn’t go to college, but I’m not stupid," James said. "I wouldn’t say that on Christmas with 100 cameras around. I would’ve told him the night before at his house. It had nothing to do with leaving here and reuniting with him. ... Just talking on other things more than just basketball."

This marks the third game this season James has missed with a bothersome left knee. He also missed Tuesday’s loss at the Atlanta Hawks and said Wednesday the knee has been bothering him all season. He aggravated it on Christmas Day when he jumped into the stands chasing a loose ball.

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Hawks 109, Cavs 101; Jason Lloyd's 31 final thoughts on David Blatt and the night injuries piled up

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 31, 2014
James, LeBron bday signs

ATLANTA: Thirty-one thoughts for 31 3-point attempts in a short-handed 109-101 loss to the Atlanta Hawks…

1. Someone needs to explain to me how a relatively healthy team can lose to the woeful Pistons at home by 23 points, then end a game against the powerful Hawks with three healthy starters and remain competitive until the final minute?

2. “Some good-hearted soul searching and talking,” Cavs coach David Blatt said. “Leadership from within and the kind of grit we should have as Cleveland people.”

3. Blatt didn’t name any names on the leadership displayed, but it clearly wasn’t from LeBron James, who missed the game with a sore left knee and watched the second half from the locker room. Shawn Marion also sat with a sore left ankle after he rolled it in that dreadful loss to the Pistons. On top of all that, Kevin Love exited in the third quarter with back spasms. He left the locker room walking stiff-legged like “Wes,” the old man character he plays alongside Kyrie Irving in the Pepsi Max commercials.

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Kyrie Irving scores 35, but Cavs lose to Hawks 109-101 while LeBron sits and Love leaves hurting

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 30, 2014
Love, Kevin loses ball vs Hawks

ATLANTA: After enjoying nearly two months of relatively good health, all of that is quickly eroding for the Cavaliers. Yet with questions surrounding their coach’s future swirling in recent days, the Cavs put forth one of their grittiest performances of the season in a 109-101 loss Tuesday at the Atlanta Hawks.

Kyrie Irving scored 35 points, falling two shy of his season high, and Tristan Thompson had 18 points and 13 rebounds on a night the Cavs were without both LeBron James and Shawn Marion.

James missed the game because of his sore left knee and Marion sat with a sore left ankle he rolled in Sunday’s loss to the Detroit Pistons. Then Kevin Love, after struggling through a miserable shooting night, limped to the locker room with back spasms during the third quarter and did not return.

That left David Blatt forced to start Matthew Dellavedova at guard (moving Mike Miller to forward) and play one stretch of minutes in the first half with A.J. Price, Dion Waiters, Joe Harris, Thompson and Lou Amundson on the floor.

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LeBron James, Shawn Marion will not play tonight at Hawks

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 30, 2014

ATLANTA: LeBron James and Shawn Marion will not play tonight when the Cavs face the Atlanta Hawks, coach David Blatt said. 

James, celebrating his 30th birthday, is nursing a left knee injury and Marion rolled his ankle in Sunday's loss against the Detroit Pistons. Both players are considered questionable for Wednesday's home game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Matthew Dellavedova will start at guard in place of James, with Mike Miller shifting to forward.

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Pregame: Cavs at Hawks

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 30, 2014
Millsap, Paul and teammates

Time: 7:30 p.m.; Place: Philips Arena

TV: Fox Sports Ohio

Radio: WTAM 1100-AM, WAKR 1590-AM, WHBC 1480-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM,   La Mega 87.7-FM (Spanish)

Injury report: Cavs - Kyrie Irving (knee) probable; LeBron James (knee) questionable; Shawn Marion (ankle) questionable; Anderson Varejao (Achilles) out. Hawks - None.

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Cavs 98, Magic 89; Jason Lloyd's 29 final thoughts

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 27, 2014
James, LeBron drives vs Magic

ORLANDO, FLA.: Twenty-nine thoughts for 29 points from an inspired LeBron James in a 98-89 win Friday over the Orlando Magic…

1. LeBron James spent the last few days reminiscing about his time with the Heat and picking apart the Cavs for basically not being the Heat. Then an important thing happened Friday: Kevin Love was benched for the fourth quarter and reacted the right way.

2. Before making the Christmas trip to South Florida, James said the Cavs were behind a number of other teams because they lacked chemistry and camaraderie. Then he admitted to having butterflies walking back into AmericanAirlines Arena and spent the evening hugging all his former mates.

3. James at times seems disappointed he isn’t as close to his Cavs teammates as he was in Miami. Of course, it’s only been 29 games. He went to four Finals with the guys in Miami. That’s why he pointed at the Miami bench and tapped his heart Thursday, then shook his head at his own team. “We’re not that good right now,” he said. Asked a similar question after Friday’s win, James doubled down. “We’re nowhere near championship ball,” he said.

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Cavs rally to beat Magic 98-89 without Kyrie Irving; Kevin Love sits fourth quarter

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 26, 2014

ORLANDO, FLA: LeBron James had 29 points and eight assists, Kevin Love scored 22 points despite sitting out the fourth quarter and the Cavs beat the Orlando Magic 98-89 Friday without Kyrie Irving.

Irving was a late scratch with his bothersome left knee. Coach David Blatt thought he would be able to play, but Irving tested the knee prior to the game and determined he couldn’t go.

The Cavs’ defense was terrible throughout the first half when the Magic shot 60 percent, but the effort improved in the second half to win after trailing by 10 in the third quarter.

Love scored 13 points in the first quarter, including a pair of 3-pointers then was relatively quiet the rest of the night. That has been a recurring trend with the third member of the Cavs’ Big Three.

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Kyrie Irving late scratch vs. Magic; Tristan Thompson starts at center

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 26, 2014
Irving, Kyrie grabs knee vs Heat

ORLANDO, FLA: Kyrie Irving was a late scratch Friday at the Orlando Magic with his ailing left knee. He was replaced in the starting lineup by Matthew Dellavedova, while Tristan Thompson started at center.

The Cavs have been playing hurt lately. LeBron James’ left knee has been bothering him, Irving aggravted his knee in Thursday’s loss at Miami and Anderson Varejao has been lost for the season with a torn Achilles.

Varejao had surgery Friday at the Cleveland Clinic to repair the tear. He is expected to miss the rest of the season.

Irving initially injured the knee two weeks ago in a loss at Oklahoma City. He has tried to play through it. The Cavs called Irving's knee injury a contusion, while Irving said the knee was hyperextended. 

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Heat 101, Cavs 91: Jason Lloyd's final thoughts on LeBron James' return to Miami

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 25, 2014
Wade, LeBron chat

MIAMI: Twenty-six thoughts for 26 Cavs rebounds in a 101-91 loss to the Heat in LeBron James’ grand return to South Florida…

1. When the Miami Heat first assembled themselves in 2010-11, they were 20-8 after 28 games. The Cavs are three games off that pace, so all is certainly not lost. But when the Heat hammered the defending champion Lakers on that Christmas Day game, they were trending in the right direction. It was their 14th win in 15 games, they were 23-9 and on their way to winning 21 of 22. That’s the difference.

2. This Cavs team isn’t trending in the right direction. They’re regressing, particularly defensively.

3. “We’re not that good right now,” James said. “We’ve won some really good games, we’ve lost some games, but we’re not that good right now. Once we get there, we’ll see what we’re about.”

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LeBron James scores 30, but Cavs lose in his return to Miami, 101-91

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 25, 2014

MIAMI: LeBron James felt butterflies on his way into American Airlines Arena on Thursday. He left feeling something equally unique on his way out: the sting of a loss.

Dwyane Wade scored 31 points and looked 10 years younger and the Miami Heat led from the opening minute in beating the Cavs 101-91 in James’ first game back in Miami.

James had 30 points and eight assists in his return. He left briefly in the third quarter with an apparent leg injury, but couldn’t carry the Cavs to victory when he returned in the fourth.

The Cavs trailed by 17 in the first half before rallying to tie the game at 80 in the fourth quarter. The Heat scored 10 of the game’s next 11 points to win two nights after losing to the woeful Phladelphia 76ers.

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Shawn Marion returns to starting lineup in first game without Anderson Varejao

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 25, 2014

MIAMI: David Blatt promised before Thursday’s game the Cavs would play the matchups in an effort to replace Anderson Varejao. He wasn’t kidding.

Blatt returned Shawn Marion to the starting lineup for Thursday’s Christmas Day game against the Miami Heat, shifting Kevin Love to center and leaving Tristan Thompson on the bench.  

Blatt said Marion will play plenty of power forward with Varejao injured, but he spent the bulk of his early minutes picking up Dwyane Wade defensively and leaving Mike Miller to defend Heat power forward Shawne Williams.

“He’s more than capable at that position,” Blatt said of Marion at power forward. “This year he’s played some of his best minutes at that position. You’ll see that a good bit.”

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Michael Beaven’s 20 final thoughts on a night when Irving, James & Love combined to score 73 points

By Michael Beaven Published: December 24, 2014
Timberwolves Cavalier_Kada

1. The Cavaliers consistently displayed an aggressive mentality offensively Tuesday night at Quicken Loans Arena that the Timberwolves could not match. Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, Dion Waiters and Matthew Dellavedova constantly pushed the tempo.

2. Kevin Love overcame a thumb injury in the third quarter to post a double-double and send his former team out of Cleveland with a loss. Love missed a few moments, but returned to the court and finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds on 5-of-11 shooting from the field (including 1-of-2 on 3-pointers) and 9-of-11 shooting from the free throw line in 36 minutes. He also had four assists and seemed comfortable facing the Wolves.

3. Waiters put together another solid performance with 19 points, four assists and three steals in 28 minutes. Waiters played to his strengths, and made 5-of-12 field goal attempts (including 2-of-4 3-pointers) and 7-of-8 free throws. His effort and attitude have both been terrific recently.

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Report: Varejao suffers torn Achilles, will miss rest of season

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 24, 2014
Varejao with Blatt

Anderson Varejao has a torn Achilles tendon and will miss the remainder of the season, ESPN reported.

Varejao was injured during the third quarter of Tuesday’s win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. He went down without being touched and an MRI Wednesday morning revealed the tear.

The Cavs will turn to Tristan Thompson as the starting center, but more importantly trade talks around the league will certainly intensify since little-used Lou Amundson and Brendan Haywood are the only other alternatives at center.

The Cavs have been looking for a center through trade since last summer to no avail. They remain high on Denver’s Timofey Mozgov and Memphis’ Kosta Koufos, but neither of those teams have shown much interest in moving either player.

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In anticipation of Christmas Day game, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving recall favorite presents

By Michael Beaven Published: December 24, 2014
Cavaliers Pelicans Ba_Kada

Cavaliers All-Stars LeBron James and Kyrie Irving were once little kids too.

They recall the joy and magic that surrounds Christmas Day for a child.

James and Irving both reflected on their favorite memories of the holiday as youngsters today after a morning shootaround at Quicken Loans Arena in preparation for tonight’s tipoff at 7 against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

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Reunion week starts tonight for Cavaliers stars against Wolves, continues on Christmas against Heat

By Michael Beaven Published: December 23, 2014
Hornets Cavaliers Bas_Kada

CLEVELAND: A couple of the Cavaliers' brightest stars will find themselves in a bit of a reunion with a former team this week.

Cavaliers forward Kevin Love will renew acquaintances with members of the Minnesota Timberwolves at 7 p.m. in Cleveland, and then two days later LeBron James will take his talents back to South Beach on Christmas Day for a 5 p.m. tipoff against the host Miami Heat.

“That’s definitely a test of your will and your mental toughness, dealing with the scrutiny and the criticism,” Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving said today after a morning shootaround at Quicken Loans Arena.

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Former Cavs No. 1 draft picks Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett set to visit Cleveland tonight

By Michael Beaven Published: December 23, 2014
76ers Timberwolves Ba_Kada

CLEVELAND: Rookie Andrew Wiggins and second-year player Anthony Bennett are back in Cleveland.

Wiggins and Bennett were once No. 1 overall draft picks by the Cavaliers, but at 7 p.m. they will be in Minnesota Timberwolves uniforms as the teams meet in Quicken Loans Arena.

The Cavaliers traded Wiggins and Bennett, plus a future first-round pick, to the Wolves this summer for All-Star forward Kevin Love.

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Kevin Love ready to play tonight as Cavaliers host his former team, the Timberwolves

By Michael Beaven Published: December 23, 2014
Grizzlies Cavaliers B_Kada

CLEVELAND: Cavaliers forward Kevin Love addressed the media today following a morning shootaround in anticipation of tonight’s game with the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves.

Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena as Love will compete against the Wolves for the first time after spending six years in Minnesota. Love said he didn’t have many emotions regarding the game, and is instead focused on the present.

"This is the fifth game in our homestand and we go on the road after this," Love said. "We just want to go out and get a win."

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Cavs 105, Grizzlies 91; Jason Lloyd's 14 thoughts on big win over Western Conference elite

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 21, 2014
Waiters, LeBron lock arms

CLEVELAND: Fourteen thoughts for 14 3-pointers attempted by the Cavs in a 105-91 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday…

1. LeBron James turned a little cryptic early in the season when the Cavs were scuffling. He said he spent the early part of the season standing back and observing before coming to the conclusion of what he needed to do. But he wouldn’t elaborate on what that was until Sunday.

2. James finally revealed after Sunday’s game that he realized he had to handle the ball more and play more point guard. In his last 14 games, James is averaging 25 points and 8.8 assists. He’s averaging 7.8 assists on the year, the second-highest total of his career and his highest figure since his final season in Cleveland before leaving for Miami when he averaged a career-best 8.6 assists.

3. James has carte blanche off the court and apparently on it, too. He didn’t consult with David Blatt before electing himself chairman of the ball. “I can do it on my own,” he said.

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Kyrie Irving breaks out of shooting slump, Waiters big off bench in Cavs' 105-91 win over Grizzlies

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 21, 2014
Love, Kevin shoots vs Grizzlies

CLEVELAND: LeBron James had 25 points and 11 assists and Kyrie Irving had 17 points and 12 assists as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat up on short-handed Memphis 105-91 Sunday afternoon, delivered the Grizzlies their worst loss of the season.

The Grizzlies were forced to play without Zach Randolph and Tony Allen, then Marc Gasol fell into early foul trouble while the Cavs opened a 14-point lead in the first quarter. The Grizzlies (21-6) trailed the entire day and have lost consecutive games for just the second time this season.

Dion Waiters scored 21 points off the bench, including 13 in the fourth quarter, one game after he was benched for the entire second half in Friday’s win against the Brooklyn Nets. The Cavs (16-10) have won two straight and three of their last four, but improved to just 3-6 against the Western Conference.

The Cavs shot 60 percent and had 34 assists on 46 baskets.

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Pregame: Grizzlies at Cavs

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 21, 2014
Grizzlies team

Time: 4:30 p.m.; Place: Quicken Loans Arena

TV: Fox Sports Ohio

Radio: WTAM 1100-AM, WAKR 1590-AM, WHBC 1480-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM,   La Mega 87.7-FM (Spanish)

Injury report: Cavs - Mike Miller (ankle) questionable; Grizzlies - Tony Allen (eye) questionable; Zach Randolph (knee) questionable.

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Cavs 95, Nets 91; Jason Lloyd's 16 final thoughts on Mike Miller's big night

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 20, 2014
Marion, Love defend

CLEVELAND: Sixteen thoughts for 16 points from Kyrie Irving in a 95-91 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Friday…

1. Mike Miller rolled his left ankle in the second quarter Friday, but he waived off the training staff and simply tied his shoe tighter. After sitting out the last seven games and spending the last seven weeks bouncing in and out of the rotation, he wasn’t about to come out now.

2. Miller won this game for the Cavs despite not even taking a shot in the fourth quarter. His seven 3-pointers kept the game close while the stars were slumping and the defense was still figuring some things out. It was a performance reminiscent of Game 5 of the NBA Finals in 2012 when Miller again came out of nowhere to make seven 3-pointers to give LeBron James his first championship.

3. Obviously that was a much grander stage, but this performance was vintage Miller. He’s left for dead on the end of the bench, forgotten for weeks, then drags his body out and erupts to win a game. He’s certainly not going to make seven 3s every game, and some of what he provides offensively he gives back on defense, but the Cavs have been trying to get Shawn Marion out of the starting lineup for weeks.

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Mike Miller scores 21 points in first start, Cavs hold on for 95-91 win over Nets

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 19, 2014

CLEVELAND: Mike Miller’s head feels just fine. His shot looks good, too.

Miller scored 21 points in his first start – all on 3-pointers – and the Cavaliers held on for a 95-91 victory Friday against the Brooklyn Nets.

The Nets had a chance to tie, but forward Kevin Garnett missed a 3-pointer in the final seconds after guard Joe Johnson couldn’t get a clean look at a 3. Cavs forward LeBron James split a pair of free throws with one second left to finish it. 

James had 22 points and nine assists, guard Kyrie Irving had 16 points and four assists and forward Kevin Love had six points and 14 rebounds on a night all three of the Cavs’ stars struggled offensively. Love shot just 1 of 10.

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Pregame: Nets at Cavs

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 19, 2014
Jack, Jarrett biting jersey

Time: 7:30 p.m.; Place: Quicken Loans Arena

TV: Fox Sports Ohio

Radio: WTAM 1100-AM, WAKR 1590-AM, WHBC 1480-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM,   La Mega 87.7-FM (Spanish)

Injury report: Cavs - Mike Miller (neck) probable; Nets - Sergey Karasev (oblique) out; Brook Lopez (back) out.

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Hawks 127, Cavs 98; Jason Lloyd's 16 final thoughts on 'embarrassing' home loss

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 18, 2014
Thompson, Tristan vs Hawks

CLEVELAND: Sixteen thoughts for 16 Hawks 3-pointers during a 127-98 beatdown Wednesday…

1. Here are the most egregious numbers: The Hawks shot 65 percent, scored 91 points over the final three quarters, made 16 3-pointers and allowed a backup point guard with the touch of an airport baggage handler to shoot 6-for-6 on 3-pointers.

2. That about covers it. No wonder everyone was so grumpy.

3. David Blatt politely warned reporters before opening his postgame presser that he was a man of few words tonight. “That was embarrassing,” Blatt said. “I apologize to all the good fans that came out here as they always do. Just a poor, poor performance.” He didn’t have much to add beyond that.

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Defense collapses again, Cavs surrender 16 3-pointers in 127-98 loss to Hawks

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 17, 2014
Irving, Kyrie spins vs Hawks

CLEVELAND: Hawks guard Shelvin Mack set career highs in both points and 3-pointers and Atlanta beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 127-98 Wednesday night to win for the 11th time in their last 12 games.

Mack shot 6 of 6 on 3-pointers and scored 24 points after entering the night with just nine 3-pointers and shooting 20 percent from behind the line. Al Horford scored 20 points and Paul Millsap had 14 points and eight rebounds for the Hawks, who shot a season-best 65 percent and have now beaten the Bulls and Cavs in consecutive games – the two teams still considered to be the best in the East.

The Hawks lost at Cleveland last month when the Cavs made a franchise-record 19 3-pointers and rolled to a 33-point win. The Hawks returned the favor Wednesday by making a season-best 16 3-pointers without point guard and leading scorer Jeff Teague, who missed the game with a sore hamstring.

Guard Dennis Schroder had 10 points and 10 assists in place of Teague and forward Mike Scott had 15 points off the bench for the Hawks.

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Cavs' Mike Miller participates in practice, could return for Wednesday's game against Hawks

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 16, 2014
Miller, Mike wrestles Amare for ball

INDEPENDENCE: Mike Miller participated in practice Tuesday, the final hurdle he needed to clear before he can return to game action following a concussion. He still needs to receive clearance from the league, but Cavs coach David Blatt sounds hopeful that will come prior to Wednesday’s home game against the Atlanta Hawks.

“We’ll be able to determine tomorrow whether he’s going to be able to get out there in the game,” Blatt said. “Today he did well, he did fine. No problems.”

Miller has missed six games with the concussion and his return could again reshuffle the rotation. It will be the first time the Cavs are at full strength since the second week of the season. Blatt acknowledged Tuesday what has already become evident – he doesn’t get as consumed with strict rotations as other head coaches and he operates more on feel.

James Jones has made appearances and produced offensively in recent games, although he didn’t play in Monday’s win against Charlotte. Similarly, Miller’s playing time had been sporadic early in the season. Blatt seemed committed to giving him more consistent minutes but then he suffered the concussion at New York.

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Cavs 97, Hornets 88; Jason Lloyd's 18 final thoughts on Kevin Love, Warren Buffett and Wale

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 16, 2014
Buffett, Warren with LeBron, Dan, etc...

CLEVELAND: Eighteen thoughts for 18 rebounds from Kevin Love in a 97-88 victory that was closer than it should’ve been after the start…

1. I haven’t watched a team run out to a 21-0 lead to start a game since, uh, Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium. (Sorry. Too soon?) In basketball, what the Cavs did Monday hasn’t been done in more than a decade.

2. Kevin Love yet again played a big role in the Cavs’ fast start. Love had 12 points and five rebounds in the first quarter when the Cavs raced out to leads of 21-0 and 28-6. That follows his curious trend of hot starts and invisible finishes.

3. Love is 60-for-106 (57 percent) in first quarters, 23-for-63 (37 percent) in second quarters, 32-for-82 (39 percent) in third quarters and 17-for-45 (38 percent) in fourth quarters.

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Cavs race out to 21-0 lead, LeBron James scores 27 in Cavs' 97-88 win against Hornets

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 15, 2014
Stephenson, Lance defended Harris and Love

CLEVELAND: The Cavaliers raced out to a 21-0 lead on the stumbling Charlotte Hornets Monday night and held on for a 97-88 victory, their ninth consecutive victory win within the Eastern Conference.

Cavs forward LeBron James had 27 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds and forward Kevin Love had 22 points and a season-high 18 rebounds as the Cavaliers became the first team in more than 10 years to score the first 21 points of a game. The last team to do it was the Portland Trail Blazers, which began the game with a 22-0 lead on the Boston Celtics on Feb. 21, 2004.

The Hornets missed their first 10 shots and didn’t score until a long jumper from Al Jefferson with 5:34 left in the first quarter, drawing heavy boos from a home crowd that was enjoying the shutout.

Jefferson finished with 14 points and eight rebounds and Kemba Walker had 24 points, five rebounds and five assists for the Hornets, who lost their third straight and for the 13th time in their last 15 games.

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Pelicans 119, Cavs 114; Jason Lloyd's 24 final thoughts on LeBron accepting changes to his game

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 13, 2014
James, LeBron drives vs N.O.

NEW ORLEANS: Twenty-four thoughts for 24 shots from LeBron James in a 119-114 loss to the Pelicans…

1. For perhaps the first time in his career, LeBron James is acknowledging – and even embracing – that his game is changing. He isn’t the high-flying acrobat he once was, but it has taken him a little while to accept it.

2. James was defiant prior to training camp in late September, scoffing at the idea that he lost weight last summer to compensate for his aging body. “I’m 29 years old and I can still fly above the rim,” he said then. “I don’t need to lose weight to do that.”

3. Just 2 1/2 months later, however, James’ thinking might be changing. The weight loss aside, James on Friday seemed to admit for the first time he’s not the same athletic player he was in recent years.

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Dion Waiters remains in New Orleans overnight with abdominal pain

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 12, 2014

NEW ORLEANS: Dion Waiters did not fly home with the Cavaliers following Friday's loss to the Pelicans and will instead remain overnight to undergo testing for abdominal pain. 

Waiters departed midway through the second quarter and did not return. He only played 10 minutes, scoring two points on 1 of 3 shooting.

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LeBron James matches season high with 41 points, but defense falters in Cavs' 119-114 loss

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 12, 2014

NEW ORLEANS: The knees felt strong enough to play, but the defense wasn’t strong enough to support anyone.

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving were both in the starting lineup despite battling sore left knees, but the New Orleans Pelicans shot 56 percent to beat the Cavs 119-114 despite missing their own superstar in Anthony Davis.

James matched his season high with 41 points, including 19 in the first quarter, but he didn’t get much help until it was too late. Kevin Love had 21 points (19 in the first half) while Irving missed his first 10 shots and didn’t score until heating up in the fourth quarter. He went 7-for-9 after missing his first 10 and finished with 17 points and seven assists.

Irving played even after his knee buckled during Thursday’s loss at Oklahoma City. He spent the bulk of his pre-game preparation Friday sitting on the locker room floor with therapy boots on both of his legs. The boots extend up beyond his knees and are intended to help improve circulation and promote healing, among other things. Irving conceded his left knee was hurting when he woke up Friday morning, but wouldn’t offer any details. The injury clearly seemed to impact his game, at least prior to the fourth. 

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LeBron James, Kyrie Irving in starting lineup Friday against Pelicans

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 12, 2014
James, LeBron warming up in NO

NEW ORLEANS: The Cavaliers will be back at full strength tonight since both LeBron James and Kyrie Irving will be in the starting lineup to face the Pelicans.

James said his ailing left knee doesn’t feel especially different than it did Thursday, but he passed all of his pre-game agility tests with trainer Mike Mancias, so he has elected to play. He did not pass those same tests Thursday, he said.

James cannot pinpoint an exact moment when he injured the knee. He felt it bothering him in the third quarter of Tuesday’s game against the Raptors, but even a review of the film didn’t reveal any sort of injury.

Cavs coach David Blatt again defended James’ usage, insisting he’s on pace for his lowest minutes in years. That isn’t accurate, but James said he has no issue with his minutes after complaining a few weeks ago he was playing too many.

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Pregame: Cavs at Pelicans

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 12, 2014
Davis, Anthony dark background

Time: 8 p.m.; Place: Smoothie King Center

TV: Fox Sports Ohio

Radio: WTAM 1100-AM, WAKR 1590-AM, WHBC 1480-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM,   La Mega 87.7-FM (Spanish)

Injury report: Cavs - LeBron James (knee) questionable; Mike Miller (concussion) out; Pelicans - Eric Gordon (shoulder) out.

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Thunder 103, Cavs 94; Jason Lloyd's 26 final thoughts on Cavs averting disaster

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 12, 2014
Irving, Kyrie crumpled holding knee

OKLAHOMA CITY: Twenty-six thoughts for 26 points from Russell Westbrook in a 103-94 loss to the Thunder that could’ve been a whole lot worse…

1. David Blatt dug out an old Russian proverb to help explain his emotions while watching Kyrie Irving crumpled on the court: “Nadezhda umirayet posledney.” Translated it means, “Hope dies last.”

2. Blatt said he felt fear, worry, concern and hope. “Which ultimately won the day,” he said. “Thank goodness he got up and was able to play.”

3. The Cavs have invested at least $90 million into Irving and perhaps even more, depending on how the All-Star balloting that began on Thursday ends. Watching the replay of the nasty collision between Russell Westbrook’s knee and Irving’s left knee late in the second quarter provided reason for pessimism.

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Kyrie Irving avoids serious injury, Cavs' win streak ends in 103-94 loss to Thunder

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 11, 2014
Westbrook, Russ dunks while Dion watches

OKLAHOMA CITY: The Cavs were already without their biggest star Thursday and for at least a few scary minutes, appeared to lose a second. Kyrie Irving ultimately checked out fine, but the Cavs’ eight-game winning streak ended Thursday with a 103-94 loss at the Oklahoma City Thunder.

LeBron James missed the game to rest a sore left knee, then Irving appeared to have left knee problems of his own when it buckled on him following a shot from Russell Westbrook.

Westbrook’s knee collided with Irving’s late in the first half and Irving immediately collapsed to the court. He stayed down for a few minutes before he was helped to the locker room. He was diagnosed with simply a contusion, however, and returned to start the third quarter.

But without James, the Cavs struggled through one of their worst offensive nights of the season. Kevin Love had 18 points and 16 rebounds and Irving had 20 points and six assists, but the Cavs’ 37-percent shooting night tied for their second-worst of the season in losing for the first time in nearly three weeks.

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Kyrie Irving diagnosed with knee contusion, returns to start third quarter after injury scare

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 11, 2014
Irving, Kyrie injured vs OKC

OKLAHOMA CITY: Kyrie Irving suffered a left knee contusion and returned to start the third quarter after surviving an injury scare late in the first half Thursday against the Thunder.

Irving was helped to the locker room after his knee buckled upon contact with Russell Westbrook late in the second quarter. He stayed down for a few minutes before he was helped off the floor. The injury apparently looked worse than it actually was, since Irving was one of the first players back on the court for the start of the third quarter. 

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LeBron James out for game against Thunder with sore knee; Mike Miller hoping to play next week

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 11, 2014
James, LeBron horizontal drive vs Raptors

OKLAHOMA CITY: LeBron James will miss Thursday night's game against the Oklahoma Thunder with a sore knee.

James missed the team’s shootaround Thursday morning and remained at the team hotel to receive treatment on the ailing knee. He hasn’t complained of soreness in the knee this season, but he has played at least 41 minutes in three of the last five games, including 42 minutes in Tuesday’s home win against the Toronto Raptors.

James is averaging the second-most minutes in the league this season and is on pace to play his most minutes in four years.

The Thunder will be at full strength tonight and is riding a three-game winning streak with the return of reigning Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant from foot surgery.

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Pregame: Cavs at Thunder

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 11, 2014
Durant, Kevin

Time: 8 p.m.; Place: Chesapeake Energy Arena

TV: TNT

Radio: WTAM 1100-AM, WAKR 1590-AM, WHBC 1480-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM,   La Mega 87.7-FM (Spanish)

Injury report: Cavs - LeBron James (knee) questionable; Mike Miller (concussion) out; Thunder - None.

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Cavs 105, Raptors 101 - Jason Lloyd's 18 final thoughts

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 10, 2014
Thompson, Love celebrate

CLEVELAND: Eighteen thoughts for 18 points from Dion Waiters in a they-did-what? 105-101 come-from-behind Cavs victory Tuesday.

1. LeBron James shot 29 percent on 3-pointers his rookie year. He made only 63 of the 217 he attempted. He evolved into a 40 percent 3-point shooter one year in Miami and has hovered around 38 percent over his last four seasons.

2. But it was the knock on James early in his career, that he wasn’t a good jump shooter, that made his 3-pointer in the final minute Tuesday so poignant. He tied Mark Price as the all-time leader in 3-pointers in a career.

3. Price spent his first nine seasons in Cleveland (although he lost a little more than a full year to injuries) before bouncing around the league a bit at the end. He still ranks 30th all-time in NBA 3-point percentage (.402). But James surpassed him in a little more than seven seasons. Quite remarkable for a kid who once upon a time couldn’t shoot – although in fairness, James has also attempted in excess of 400 more 3s than Price did in his time with the Cavs.

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LeBron scores 35, including critical 3-pointer in final minute, Cavs extend streak to 8 straight

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 9, 2014

CLEVELAND: LeBron James scored 35 points, including a critical 3-pointer in the game’s final minute, and the Cavs came roaring back from a 14-point deficit to beat the Toronto Raptors Tuesday night 105-101 and extend their winning streak to eight straight.

The Raptors shot 65 percent in the first half and built a 73-59 lead early in the third quarter, but the Cavs slowly fought their way back and tied the game at 97 on a 3-pointer from Kevin Love with 3:49 left. They dominated the offensive glass in the final minutes, grabbing four offensive rebounds to extend critical possessions. One offensive rebound from Tristan Thompson led to James’ game-changing 3-pointer with 48 seconds left, giving the Cavs their first lead since the first quarter.

Love had 17 points and nine rebounds, Kyrie Irving had 13 points and 10 assists and Dion Waiters scored 18 points off the bench for the Cavs, who are enjoying their longest winning streak since the 2009-10 season – James’ final year in Cleveland before departing for Miami.

Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas had 18 points and a season-high 15 rebounds, Lowry had 16 points and a season-high 14 assists and Terrence Ross had 18 points for the Raptors, who shot just 30 percent in the fourth quarter (6 of 20) to lose to the Cavs for the second time in five nights. They were held to one basket over a five-minute stretch in the fourth quarter while the Cavs outscored them 12-2 to tie the game.

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Pregame: Raptors at Cavs

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 9, 2014
Lowry, Kyle defends Kyrie

Time: 7 p.m.; Place: Quicken Loans Arena

TV: Fox Sports Ohio

Radio: WTAM 1100-AM, WAKR 1590-AM, WHBC 1480-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM,   La Mega 87.7-FM (Spanish)

Injury report: Cavs - Mike Miller (concussion) out; Raptors - DeMar DeRozan (thigh) out.

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Cavs 110, Nets 88; Jason Lloyd's 29 final thoughts on a wild night at Barclays Center

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 9, 2014
James, LeBron with royal couple

NEW YORK: Twenty-nine thoughts for 29 minutes from Tristan Thompson on an emotionally-charged, volatile night inside and outside Barclays Center.

1. What a trip. From protesters blocking traffic Thursday night, rerouting the Cavs’ departure out of town to the royal couple’s arrival tonight and the demonstrators outside Barclays Center, it was quite an emotionally-charged couple of days in New York (with a brief stop in Toronto in between).

2. Even by LeBron’s standards, this was a wild, memorable and sometimes surreal trip.

3. “As a team I  loved our approach,” James said. “I loved our mindset. We had a bunker mentality coming into this road trip understanding how important it was and we took care of business.”

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Dion Waiters scores 26 points, Cavs blow out Nets 110-88 on volatile night at Barclays Center

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 8, 2014
Haywood, Brendan jokes with royal couple

NEW YORK: Between protesters, a visit from the royal couple and a number of NBA players taking a stand on social issues, the Cavaliers capped an explosive night at Barclays Center with a 110-88 victory against the Brooklyn Nets.

Basketball, however, hardly felt like the priority.

Police swarmed the arena more than three hours before tip-off in preparation for both protesters and the arrival of Prince William and Princess Kate, who wanted to watch LeBron James as part of their three-day trip to the United States. But their arrival coincided with a demonstration in front of the arena over 34-year-old Eric Garner, who was placed in a chokehold by New York police and died last summer on Staten Island. A grand jury elected not to indict the officer last week, prompting outrage and protests across the city.

Kyrie Irving and LeBron James joined the protest Monday by wearing black “I CAN’T BREATHE” t-shirts during pre-game warm-ups. James has been outspoken on social issues for the last few years and particularly this season. But Irving has remained relatively silent until now.

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Kyrie Irving, LeBron James wearing 'I CAN'T BREATHE' protest t-shirts

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 8, 2014
Irving, Kyrie I CAN'T BREATHE

NEW YORK: Kyrie Irving and LeBron James are wearing black “I CAN’T BREATHE” t-shirts prior to tonight’s game against the Brooklyn Nets in support of Eric Garner.

Garner died in a Staten Island neighborhood as the result of a chokehold from a New York policeman last summer. Protests have broken out across New York the last few days after a grand jury chose not to indict the officer on murder charges. Garner's final words, uttered over and over and caught on video, were "I can't breathe."

Irving and James received the shirts from former Cavs player Jarrett Jack, who now plays for the Nets. A majority of Nets players wore the shirt pregame, too. It’s the same shirt Bulls star Derrick Rose wore pregame a couple nights ago.

“We’re in the city where a tragedy happened,” Irving said. “It’s really important to us that we stand up for a cause, especially this one. It hits kind of close to home and it means a lot to me. … What happened is a tragedy and I feel terrible about it.”

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Cavs 105, Raptors 91; Jason Lloyd's 18 final thoughts on a sleep-deprived victory

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 6, 2014
Irving, Kyrie on floor ball bouncing away

TORONTO: Eighteen thoughts for 18 shots by LeBron in an impressive 105-91 win over the Toronto Raptors…

1. This was a big boy win for various reasons. Of course there was the revenge factor after losing to this team at home two weeks ago by 17. But there was also the exhaustion factor. Kyrie Irving played 44 minutes Thursday against the Knicks. Kevin Love and LeBron James each played 39 minutes.

2. Then the Cavs’ trip to Toronto was a nightmare. Roads in New York were blocked by protestors, leaving the bus to wind through detour after detour in order to get back to the team plane in Newark, N.J. Customs in Toronto took much longer than usual, meaning the players didn’t get to bed until about 4 a.m. early Friday. They had a late morning film session and then Irving played 38 minutes against the Raptors, Love played 40 and James played 42.

3. “It’s just one of those games as a professional you just have to go out and do it,” Irving said. “You have to psyche yourself up. We got in late. … Our legs were a little tired, but that’s part of being a professional. We have to go out there and do our jobs.”

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LeBron James, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson have double-doubles in Cavs' win over Raptors

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 5, 2014
Love, Irving defense on TOR

TORONTO: This time they didn’t need an explosive scoring night from Kyrie Irving. They didn’t even need LeBron to do something LeBronesque.

This time the Cavs took down the best team in the East with another impressive defensive effort and a methodical offensive approach that built an earl lead and answered every Toronto Raptors run with one of their own.

LeBron James had 24 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds, Kevin Love had 15 points and 13 rebounds and Kyrie Irving had 15 points and six assists in the Cavs’ impressive 105-91 victory Friday. It was their sixth consecutive win, which matches last season’s longest winning streak. No Cavs team has won seven in a row since James’ final season before leaving for Miami.

The Cavs didn’t really play well in recent wins against the Milwaukee Bucks and then Thursday against the New York Knicks. They gutted out victories those nights with superior talent and timely stops. But the tenacious defense returned against the Raptors, as did timely rebounds from Tristan Thompson. Thanks in large part to Thompson’s 21 points and 14 rebounds, the Cavs enjoyed more production out of their bench Friday (33 points, 16 rebounds) than they have in quite awhile.

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Pregame: Raptors at Cavs

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 5, 2014
DeRozan, Lou Williams

Time: 7 p.m.; Place: Quicken Loans Arena

TV: Fox Sports Ohio

Radio: WTAM 1100-AM, WAKR 1590-AM, WHBC 1480-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM,   La Mega 87.7-FM (Spanish)

Injury report: Cavs - Mike Miller (concussion) out; Raptors - DeMar DeRozan (thigh) out.

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Cavs 90, Knicks 87; Jason Lloyd's 29 final thoughts after Kyrie Irving's terrific night

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 5, 2014
Carmelo defended by LeBron

NEW YORK: Twenty-nine thoughts for 29 minutes from Anderson Varejao following a 90-87 victory over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden…

1. Kyrie Irving entered the fourth quarter of this game with 32 points and 0 assists. Sound familiar? He ended a loss at Utah early in the season with 34 points and 0 assists and was roundly criticized in the following days for his selfish play.

2. This time, however, similar numbers tell a completely different story. Irving finished with a season-high 37 points and two assists. The difference in this game over the Utah loss was the Cavs’ offensive attack.

3. Irving was the point guard against the Jazz. He spent most of the night dribbling, dribbling, dribbling around the court and bleeding the shot clock. He rarely looked to teammates – and all of this only hours after David Blatt told him to get Kevin Love and LeBron James going first, then fall in line behind them.

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Cavs' Mike Miller kept overnight in New York with concussion-like symptoms

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 5, 2014
Miller, Mike wrestles Amare for ball

NEW YORK: Mike Miller was kept overnight in New York on Thursday with concussion-like symptoms and entered the league's concussion program, the Cavs announced. 

Miller took a blow to the head late in Thursday's 90-87 win over the Knicks. He left the game with 2:28 left and was examined after the game. He did not travel with the team to Toronto, where the Cavs face the Raptors on Friday. 

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Kyrie Irving scores season-high 37 points in Cavs' 90-87 win over Knicks

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 5, 2014
Irving, Kyrie getting congrats from teammates

NEW YORK: Kyrie Irving had a season-high 37 points and LeBron James had 19 points and 12 assists and the Cavs held on to beat the New York Knicks 90-87 when Carmelo Anthony missed a 3-pointer in the final seconds.

Irving has now enjoyed two of his finest games at Madison Square Garden. He scored a then-career high 41 points two years ago while wearing a black mask to protect a broken bone in his face in a one-point loss here to the Knicks.

He followed that up Thursday with a dazzling scoring display. He had accounted for half of the Cavs’ scoring at one point in the third quarter. He willingly played off the ball the majority of the night, picking his spots behind the 3-point line and attacking the basket in carrying the Cavs to victory on a night he didn’t have much help.

Despite his final numbers, James was sluggish and out of rhythm most of the night.

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Pregame: Cavs at Knicks

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 4, 2014
Anthony, Carmelo

Time: 8 p.m.; Place: Madison Square Garden

TV: TNT, Fox Sports Ohio

Radio: WTAM 1100-AM, WAKR 1590-AM, WHBC 1480-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM,   La Mega 87.7-FM (Spanish)

Injury report: Cavs - Matthew Dellavedova (knee) out; Knicks -  J.R. Smith (flu) probable; Andrea Bargnani (calf) out; Cleanthony Early (knee) out.

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Cavs' Blatt hoping to give Mike Miller increased role following Tuesday's performance

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 3, 2014
Miller, Mike from above

INDEPENDENCE: Mike Miller’s role with the Cavs appears to be expanding.

Cavs coach David Blatt conceded Wednesday he’s going to try to get Miller consistent rotation minutes after he provided the much-needed spark in a victory Tuesday against the Milwaukee Bucks. Miller had six points, seven rebounds and a huge block in 18 minutes – all in the second half – to give the Cavs their fourth consecutive victory.

Asked if the performance merited a larger role, Blatt simply responded, “Hopefully, yes.”

Most of the Cavs veterans went through an extremely light practice day Wednesday. They came in for treatment and a few got some shots up, but Kyrie Irving was the only one still around when reporters were allowed in. The Cavs begin a three-game road trip Thursday against a woeful Knicks team that has lost five straight and seven of their last eight – yet they beat the Cavs on opening night.

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Cavs 111, Bucks 108; Jason Lloyd's 38 final thoughts on Mike Miller's surprise night

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 3, 2014
Verlander, Upton, Sabathia

CLEVELAND: Thirty-eight thoughts for 38 free throw attempts in a 111-108 win over the Milwaukee Bucks…

1. A little more than 24 hours after LeBron James said Mike Miller needed consistent minutes to be effective, there was Miller in the second half igniting the Cavs to victory. One game of 18 minutes is hardly consistent, but after not making it off the bench in any of the last three games, I’d say it’s a safe bet he’s back out there Thursday when the Cavs play at Madison Square Garden.

2. Miller is a zombie, and as much as I wish I could take credit for that, another veteran NBA watcher whom I respect immensely came up with that on the phone this afternoon. I thought it was hilarious and accurate. It’s a nicer way of calling someone a cockroach: You just can’t kill him. And just when you think he’s dead, he gets up and keeps going.

3. Miller hasn’t been very good early in the season. But he also hasn’t played consistent minutes. With very, very few exceptions, no one on the Cavs’ bench has played consistently. More on that in a bit.

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Surprise contribution from Mike Miller key to Cavs 111-108 win over Bucks

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 2, 2014
Giannis defended by LBJ

CLEVELAND: Kevin Love had 27 points and 10 rebounds and the Cavs received an unlikely second-half contribution from Mike Miller to win their fourth straight, a 111-108 victory Tuesday night against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Searching for a spark after getting just two points from his bench in the first half, Cavs coach David Blatt turned to the little-used Miller, who hadn’t played at all during the Cavs’ winning streak.

Miller hit a big 3-pointer in the third quarter to cool the Bucks’ momentum, then provided a big block and another critical 3 in the final minutes. It was his first game with multiple 3-pointers this season after entering the night shooting 20 percent (3-for-15) from deep.

Love enjoyed another fast start with 17 points in the first quarter, but ended the game on the bench with apparent leg cramps after playing 40 minutes. LeBron James added 26 points and 10 assists and Kyrie Irving had 28 points and six assists. All three of the Cavs’ stars played at least 39 minutes.

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Pregame: Bucks at Cavs

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 2, 2014
Parker, Jabari

Time: 7 p.m.; Place: Quicken Loans Arena

TV: Fox Sports Ohio

Radio: WTAM 1100-AM, WAKR 1590-AM, WHBC 1480-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM,   La Mega 87.7-FM (Spanish)

Injury report: Cavs - Matthew Dellavedova (knee) out; Anderson Varejao (ribs) probable; Bucks - Zaza Pachulia (personal) probable; Johnny O'Bryant (knee) out; Damien Inglis (ankle) out; John Henson (foot) out.

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LeBron James casting vote for Johnny Manziel in Browns quarterback debate

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 1, 2014
Manziel, LeBron

INDEPENDENCE: It shouldn't be much of a surprise, but LeBron James firmly supports Johnny Manziel in the Browns' quarterback debate.

James said Manziel is “ready to go” if the Browns choose to make a change at quarterback this week, but cautioned the road could be bumpy.

“If Coach is ready to give him the nod he’ll be ready to go,” James said Monday. “But he’s going to have some bumps and bruises just like any other rookie quarterback will have, any other player in the NFL or any professional sport.”

Manziel is a client of LRMR, James’ marketing firm.

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