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Cleveland Cavaliers

Final thoughts: Bucks 113, Cavs 112

By Jason Lloyd Published: February 11, 2012

Around halftime I start kicking around different ledes for the next day's paper. Tonight I was thinking how a Cavs victory would push them past the Bucks and into the eighth seed in the East, depending on how the Knicks fared.

Now at the end of the night, I'm wondering how long Anderson Vaerjao will be out and if this is the beginning of the Cavs' ending. If the Cavs are going to make a legitimate playoff push, they need to do well on this homestand. But if they don't have Varejao and Kyrie Irving for the bulk of the homestand, that's simply not possible.

We won't know anything on Varejao until tomorrow night, when the Cavs return to the Q to face the 76ers. But if Varejao misses a few games, coupled with the way the Knicks are playing, the Cavs could slide farther and farther away from the playoffs. Which isn't exactly a bad thing, considering the Cavs' long list of needs. A return to the playoffs this season as a No. 8 seed, only to get their heads beat in by the Bulls or Heat, would be about a worst-case scenario for the long-term development of this franchise.

That's why losses like tonight's hurt in the short term, but they might be just what this team needs in the long term.

Turning point
The Cavs missed their last five shots of regulation and Antawn Jamison missed a pair of free throws in the final seconds that could've sealed the victory. Instead, the Bucks stole it in overtime.

Key stat
The Cavs missed their last five shots and finished the night just 4 of 14 from the field. They also made just 18 of 32 free throws (56 percent).

Quotable
"Pretty much the deciding factor." -- Jamison, on his missed free throws with three seconds left in regulation

Up next
The Cavs (10-15) host the Philadelphia 76ers (18-9) at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Q.

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