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Gameblog: Cavs at New Orleans Hornets

By George Thomas Published: March 24, 2010

Cavs 105,  Hornets 92.
Difficult to argue with results in this case. For the Cavs it's a win and at times they looked impressive doing it.  The defense got a little skunky in spots, but it showed up in the third quarter when the Cavs held the Hornets to 39 percent shooting in the quarter while the Cavs shot well over 60 percent in the same span.
While the win kept the Cavs win-streak rolling to eight, the longest current one in the NBA, that's not the most important thing to come out of it.
You saw some signs of what Mike Brown intends to do with the rotation come playoff time.  he used just eight guys total and the three to come off the bench were Anderson Varejao, Delonte West and Zydrunas Ilgauskas.  Yes, others showed up when the game was decided, but it was that core group he utilized. 
Will it change? Probably given that Shaquille O'Neal is still out and is expected to return in time for the playoffs.  That makes life difficult for Brown - albeit in a good way - because he's going to have to try to decide what to do with J.J. Hickson's playing time. Hickson didn't make the decision easier with his 20-point, nine-rebound performance. That's the for Brown to make.
With 10 games left, stay tuned.
Game: Cavs (56-15) vs.  New Orleans Hornets (34-38)
Broadcast: 
TV: FSOhio Radio: WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM).
Starters:
Cavs:  LeBron James (F); Antawn Jamison (F); J.J. Hickson (C); Anthony Parker (G); Mo Williams (G).
Hornets:  David West (F); Emeka Okafor (F/C); Morris Peterson (G); Marcus Thornton (G); Chris Paul (G)
Injured:
Cavs:  Shaquille O'Neal (right thumb); Sebastian Telfair (ruptured groin) - OUT.
Hornets:  Sean Marks (strained right shoulder); Peja Stojakovic (lower abdominal strain); and Ike Kiogu (left knee surgery) - OUT.
Inactives:  TBD
Officials: Ron Garretson, Eric Dalen, Michael Smith.
With Zydrunas Ilgauskas' return it's time for the meshing to begin.  The final 12 games of the season are going to be less about winning - yes, the emphasis will be there - but more about getting coach Mike Brown's playoff rotation in order.  That begins tonight.
Expect Ilgauskas to get 20-25 minutes off the bench against the Hornets in an effort to get his rhthym back.
''We don’t have many games left before the playoffs.  I’ve never been in this position before, but I think there are enough games for me to play in and get my timing back coming off the bench,'' Ilgauskas said after Wednesday's shootaround.
By the same token, the Cavs will have to stay sharp offensively and defensively.  Last time out, although they beat the Hornets, rooking guard Marcus Thornton torched them for 37 points. Perhaps they'll actually guard him this time.
Point guard Chris Paul recently returned from knee surgery and has only one game under his belt since and scored 11 points and dished out three assists in it.
Buzzer beaters:  Tonight is Mike Brown's 400th game as coach of the Cavaliers.  He currently holds a 67 percent winning percentage, the second best among active coaches behind the Los Angeles Lakers' Phil Jackson.

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