INDEPENDENCE - It's rare when you hear LeBron James speak out about a coach's decision, but he didn't hide the fact that he wasn't pleased ( LeBron Unhappy ) with the fact that Zydrunas Ilgauskas didn't get to play Saturday against the Dallas Mavericks.
Had Ilgauskas played, he would have set the franchise record for games appeared in at 724, breaking G.M. Danny Ferry's record. Given his injury situation early in his career that is quite an achievement.
Coach Mike Brown said Ilgauskas was just a victim of circumstances ( Mike on Z not playing ) - in this case the Mavericks playing with a smaller lineup.
Let's be clear here. James was respectful with the way he answered the question and has legitimate reasons for feeling as he does ( LBJ supports Z ). He has an understanding of what Ilgauskas has meant to him and the Cavs over the years ( LeBron and Z history ).
But given what happened and as the game was winding down, what was the right way to handle that situation? Do you get Ilgauskas Minimal minutes and get him the record, or do you wait to a proper situation when he can be honored appropriately?
You tell me.
Post-mortem: Cavs 111, Mavs 95
The good: The Cavs did a complete 180 from Friday night's game against the Charlotte Bobcats - especially on the offensive side of the court. They shot 58 percent from the floor and as a team had 33 assists. While they weren't dominating defensively, they pulled out just enough in the fourth quarter to win the game running away. In that period, they held the Mavs to 33 percent shooting while they shot slightly better than 55 percent.
The better: The bench showed up in a big way tonight, scoring 40 points. Anderson Varejao led the way with 15. Jamario Moon followed with 13 and, yes, there was a Delonte West sighting. West, called into duty when the Mavericks went to a small lineup, delivered 10 points in 10 assists in relief duty. Just as noticeable - the 23 rebounds and 15 assists that they contributed.
The best: The Cavaliers showed some dominance on the boards tonight - out rebounding the Mavericks 39-24. Ten of those rebounds were on the offensive side of the court and led to 17 second-chance points.
Misc. notes: Because they elected to play with a small lineup, Zydrunas Ilgauskas didn't get get into the game, thus delaying his record breaking 724th game, a feat that would break G.M. Danny Ferry's record...Mo Williams 7-of-7 performance from the three-point line was a season best.
Game: Cavs (12-5) vs. Dallas Mavericks (12-5)
TV: FSOhio Radio: WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM).
Cavs: LeBron James (F); J.J. Hickson (F); Shaquille O’Neal (C); Anthony Parker (G); Mo Williams (G).
Mavericks: Shawn Marion (F); Dirk Nowitzki (F); Drew Gooden (F); Rodrigue Beaubois (G); Jason Kidd (G).
Cavs: Leon Powe (knee).
Mavs: Quinton Ross (low back tightness) - Questionable; Erick Dampier (ill), Josh Howard (left ankle surgery) - Out.
Post-mortem: Bobcats 94, Cavs 87
The good: I could give credit for a late-game rally, but it was too little too late. It's becoming a trend with the Cavs that they clamp down on opposing teams defensively in the fourth quarter. They held the Bobcats without a field goal for the last 9:06. Too little, too late.
The bad: Once again the Cavaliers gave ground in the paint. The Bobcats deserve some credit because they had their outside and inside games working tonight. Gerald Wallace had both working as he scored on easy dunks, but killed the Cavs in the third quarter by connecting on 3-of-4 three-point shots.
The ugly: It took being down by 24 for the Cavs to wake up. The Bobcats went on a 16-7 run to open the third quarter. That was pretty much the ball game, despite the fact that the Cavs made a run at them.
Other notes: Despite 25 points and eight rebounds, LeBron James didn't have a particularly good game, as he turned the ball over six times in the game. As a team, the Cavs turned it over 17 times which led to 20 Bobcat points...Rookie Danny Green scored more points (two) than Delonte West...J.J. Hickson didn't see the ball much Friday, taking just two shots. That shouldn't be a big surprise given the Cavs had just 14 assists as a team against Charlotte.
Game: Cavs (11-4) at Charlotte Bobcats (11-4)
TV: FSOhio Radio: WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM).
Cavs: LeBron James (F); J.J. Hickson (F); Shaquille O'Neal (C); Anthony Parker (G); Mo Williams (G).
Bobcats: Gerald Wallace (F); Boris Diaw (F); Tyson Chandler (F); Stephen Jackson (G); Raymond Felton (G).
Injured: Cavs: Leon Powe. Bobcats: None.
Officials: Eddie Rush, Joe Forte and Phil Robinson.
Owning the second best road record (6-2) in the NBA behind the Dallas Mavericks, the Cavaliers arrive in Charlotte having won three games in a row. The Bobcats have their own two-game win streak going as they impressively beat the Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors. Their 35-point win against Toronto was the largest margin of victory in team history.
Big key to the game is how Anthony Parker handles the recently acquired Stephen Jackson. Jackson came to the Bobcats in a trade with the Golden State Warriors. Jackson scored 23 points in his team's win over the Raptors. Equally as important: LeBron's handling of forward Gerald Wallace who scored a season high 31 points against Toronto.
Yes, I had plans to write the normal pre-and-post look at tonight's game before the basketball god's saw fit to smack me on the nose again.
This time, the person that I caught a ride to The Palace at Auburn Hills had the wire that connects to his trunk disengage. Normally, that isn't much of a problem - unless your laptop is in it.
And there both of ours sat for a good portion before game time, putting me behind significantly - trying to get notes out, etc., etc., etc. So far it's been an interesting season as far as my laptop is concerned.
It was knocked from my hands in Minneapolis, Minn. and did its best imitation of a spastic gymnast, bouncing twice before the screen looked like a disassembled puzzled. But I digress.
On to tonight's affair, a game that had the potential to turn into a blow out for the Cavs.
Game: Cavs (9-4) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (5-7)
TV: FSOhio. Radio: WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM)
Cavs: LeBron James (F); J.J. Hickson (F); Zydrunas Ilgauskas (C); Anthony Parker (G); Mo Williams (G).
76ers: Thaddeus Young (F); Elton Brand (F); Samuel Delambert (C); Andre Iguodala (G); Louis Williams (G).
Cavs: Shaquille O’Neal (shoulder strain) – OUT.
76ers: Jason Kapono (left ankle sprain) - QUESTIONABLE; Marreese Speights (MCL sprain, left knee) - OUT.
Mo Williams will have to watch 76ers point guard Lou Williams. In his past three games, Lou Williams is averaging 23.3 points on 59.1 percent shooting. He scored a season high 31 points in a 102-97 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. Forward Elton Brand added a season high 22 points.
After starting out the season averaging 34.1 points per game, the 76ers bench has struggled averaging just 19 in their last two. The 76ers allowed the Grizzlies to score 102 points and are 1-5 when allowing teams to score more than 100. The Cavs are 8-0 when they score more than100 points in a game.
Post-mortem: Cavs (9-4) 105, Pacers (5-5) 95
The Cavaliers need to thank LeBron James (40 points), the refs and the free throw line for this victory. Yeah, OK, they should pat themselves on the back for some timely defense in the fourth quarter. Let's deal with them in order.
CLEVELAND - LeBron James has continued a friendship with the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry, that began two years ago when the rookie was in college.
Curry, who was born in Akron, was the first-round draft choice of the Warriors this past summer and started last night against the Cavs.
With some of the things happening to the Warriors - the controversy surrounding Stephen Jackson and the ongoing speculation about coach Don Nelson’s status - James offered him some advice.
‘’I guess there was a little chaos on our team,’’ he said. ‘’He’s just making sure I was keeping my head straight, working hard and reminding me to get better everyday.’’
James said that he’s a fan of Curry’s game and that he sees in him the ability to continue to improve and Curry, the son of former Cavalier Dell Curry, didn’t arrive with the hype James, but because of what he accomplished at tiny Davidson College in North Carolina he came in with some notoriety and expectations - a couple of the reasons James reached out to him.
‘’I’m all about helping the guys that come after me. There are guys in the league and I’m all about giving advice,’’ he said. ’’ This league could be a lot on a kid coming in. It could be a lot on anybody. ‘’
Tuesday’s game marked the first time that the two squared off against one another on the court, however. Curry had a playful, yet serious answer when asked about that.
‘’Friends off the court once you’re on the court all that goes out the door,’’ he said. ‘’It’s going to be fun just to go out there and compete. I should be a good atmosphere, so I am looking forward to it.’’
Talk of Jackson The one face that went unseen was that of guard Stephen Jackson, who had figured prominently in trade rumors involving the Cavs. He eventually went to the Charlotte Bobcats for Raja Bell and Vladimir Radmanovic. Warriors coach Don Nelson said that trading Jackson was better for everyone involved and he’s glad it was done sooner rather than later.
‘’It’s good for us because we can move on. I think the last thing you want to do is have an unhappy guy all the way to the trade deadline and being forced into doing something,’’ he said.
Jackson had become a malcontent in the Bay Area and the league fined him over the summer for publicly stating that he wanted to be traded to the Cavaliers. For the record, James said he was amenable to the idea because he’s a big fan of Jackson’s.
‘’I’m all for guys coming onto this team no matter who they are if they are going to be productive for our team and represent what we represent and that’s a winning mentality,’’ James said.
It is well known that Jackson would come with some baggage, but that wouldn’t have been a problem for James because he believes they have the right locker room to handle another out there personality.
‘’There’s big influences in here and we have a lot of guys who are always positive, who stay positive’’ he said, ‘’and at the same time we try to make people understand that it’s more than the game of basketball. Once you figure that out, the game of basketball becomes very easy.’’
Buzzer beaters: Forward Anderson Varejao was a late scratch for Tuesday’s game and probably will not play tonight against the Washington Wizards…Shaquille O’Neal sat again with a shoulder strain and it looks as if his situation won’t be re-evaluated until later this week.
Post-mortem: Cavs 114, Warriors 108
The good: The Cavaliers continue to look better and better on offense after struggling early in the season. They knew that they would get involved in an up tempo game with the Warriors and they were able to beat them at it. Of course, it helps when you can shoot 58 percent from the floor in the process. LeBron James led the Cavs with 31 points, 12 assists, followed by second-year big man J.J. Hickson - 21 points, nine assists - who continues to develop and have his share of defensive woes in the process.
The bad: In the process of playing the Warriors game, they seemed to forget about defense. Golden State got off nine more shots and hit for almost 47 percent. Too many of those shots came on layups from not boxing out and second chance points as the Warriors scored 23 points on offensive rebounds. It's almost as if they figured they were going to be in a shootout, may as well just beat them at their game, not a defensive one.
The ugly: Seventeen turnovers for 25 points. Enough said. Had this been a fully manned team, the outcome may have been different given the number of turnovers.
Game: Cavs (7-3) vs. Golden State Warriors (3-6)
Time: 7 p.m.
Cavs: LeBron James (F); J.J. Hickson (F); Zydrunas Ilgauskas (C); Anthony Parker (G); Mo Williams (G).
Warriors: Anthony Randolph (F); Vladimir Radmanovic (G); Mikki Moore (C); Monta Ellis (G); Stephen Curry (G).
Cavs: Shaquille O'Neal (shoulder strain); Leon Powe (left knee surgery).
Warriors: Kelenna Azubuike (left patellar tendon injury); Andris Biendrins (osteitis pubis) , Ronny Turiaf (left knee strain); Brendan Wright (shoulder surgery) - OUT, Cory Magette (hamstring) - PROBABLE.
Officials: Bill Spooner, Curtis Blair and Derrick Collins.
Coach Mike Brown said that Delonte West will be activated for tonight’s game against the Golden State Warriors. How much playing time he gets remains to be seen. In West’s three games of being inactive, others have stepped in to fill the void and his time.
‘’That depends on how the game unfolds in terms of his playing time, but he will definitely be in uniform with his teammates,’’ coach Mike Brown said.
Guard Anthony Parker is starting to find consistency on both sides of the court and Jamario Moon has stepped up to claim minutes.
‘’We’ve had some success. Guys have played well; they’ve earned the minutes they’ve gotten, so it would be hard to take away from somebody and you have to find some minutes for him if possible,’’ Brown added.
West has been inactive for the past three games as he continues to deal with issues related to his bipolar disorder. Team officials have not said why he’s been inactive, but the troubled guard did miss the team’s charter flight to Florida for their two-games against the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat.
Warriors invade Brown said he knows what he will be looking at as the Golden State Warriors come in to play tonight at Quicken Loans Arena - a bit of the unusual.
‘’They’ve got a bunch of a talented players and they try to junk up the game offensively and defensively which makes it hard,‘’ he said. ‘’It’s a tough team with the style of play the use on both ends of the floor.’’
Guard Anthony Parker agreed: ‘’They’re a bit unorthodox. They do a lot of things you probably don’t see again during the season, but I think this team is built to face any lineup and it’s no excuse.’’
O’Neal out Shaquille O’Neal wasn’t at Quicken Loans Arena and will miss tonight’s game with a shoulder strain. Brown couldn’t say how long he would be out. Zydrunas Ilgauskas will start in his place.
Post-mortem: Cavs 107, Jazz 103
The jury remains out on the Shaquille O'Neal trade, but tonight was a perfect example of why the Cavs traded for him. O'Neal sat out the game with a shoulder strain and that left the Utah Jazz's guards free to do some damange. Chief among them: Eric Maynor, who replaced Deron Williams at the point tonight. Maynor scored 22 points tonight, some on jumpers but a lot of it driving to the lane. In total the Jazz scored 40 in the paint.
J.J. Hickson had another outstanding game tonight offensively, scoring 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting. It seems that his off court time with LeBron James this summer is finally paying dividends. He's less hesitant going to the hoop and he was undeniably aggressive tonight against the Jazz. It's the second night in a row he posted career best numbers. Part of it, as James said after the game, is that teams are not worried about him now. James also accurately pointed out that will change. How he adjusts to it will matter most, but it's not premature to say that Hickson may indeed be blossoming.
At the half: Cavs 59, Jazz 54
The Jazz's two rookies are continuing to play well, something they started in their game against the Philadelphia 76ers. Guards Wesley Matthews and Eric Maynor have combined for 24 in the first half to help the Jazz overcome what was once a 16-point lead.
Game: Cavs (6-3) vs. Utah Jazz (4-5)
Broadcast: TV: FSOhio. Radio: WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM)
Starting lineup: LeBron James (F); J.J. Hickson (F); Zydrunas Ilgauskas (C); Anthony Parker (G); Mo Williams (G). Jazz: Ronnie Brewer (F); Carlos Boozer (F); Mehmet Okur (C); Wesley Matthews (G); Eric Maynor (G).
Injuries: Cavs: Leon Powe. Jazz: Matt Harpring, Deron Williams, C.J. Miles. Kyle Korver.
Officials: Bennett Salvatore, Eric Dalen, Pat Fraher.
Streaking: Cavs have won thred consecutive. Utah has won one.
What to watch:
The Jazz are without valued point guard Deron Williams as he deals with a personal problem related to his child's surgery. While Carlos Boozer will play, that means there is an opportunity for them to exploit that absence. His backup, Ronnie Price is out with a toe injury. Maynor has averaged 3.9 points in limited duty. Mo Williams has tossed in 53 points in his last two games, so he could have another nice scoring night.
MIAMI - LeBron James announced Friday night that the No. 23 may no longer be in his future. The Cavs’ superstar said that he is leaning toward changing his jersey number next season to honor NBA legend and retired Chicago Bull Michael Jordan. ‘’The guy is the best basketball player we’ve ever seen. …If you see 23 you think of Michael Jordan. If you see guys flying through the air, you think of Michael Jordan,‘’ James said after the Cavs’ 111-104 victory over the Miami Heat. ‘’If you see fly kicks, you think of Michael Jordan. He did so many things for the league it has to be recognized, not just by putting him in the Hall of Fame.’’ James has flirted with the jersey change in the past. In addition to the No. 23, he also wore No. 32 at some points during his career at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. In the Olympics last year he donned the No. 6, the one he is likely to move to next season, he said. In addition to being a fan of Philadelphia 76ers legend Julius Erving, that particular number means some personal things to James, he said. His first son was born on Oct. 6, 2004 and his second son was born in June. More notably, James believes it’s the only way that Jordan can be honored and is willing to petition other players who wear No. 23 to change numbers. ‘’You can’t get the logo. We can have an argument about that, but Jerry West, he was unbelievable also,‘’ he said. ‘’And if you can’t get the logo something has to be done, so I’m going to start and next year I’m going to change my number probably to six because I feel like no NBA player should wear 23.’’To read more or comment...
So we're back to that privacy issue. This time as it related to Shaquille O'Neal. For those who missed the TMZ report O'Neal's wife has filed papers in a California court asking for a legal separation. She fled their Orlando area home with their kids and loaded up and moved to Cali.
No comments here other than the facts. And O'Neal, as anyone could understand, has asked for understanding:
Don't look for too much drama when it comes to the Cavs facing off against the Orlando Magic for the first time this year.
You'd think that with Shaquille O'Neal's history with that club it might be something more, but that's not the case. Shaq was the NBA's original Man of Steel, but Dwight Howard co-opted the persona.
Post-mortem: Cavs 100, Knicks 91
A quick look back:
I don't know about anyone else, but yorus truly is relieved that this is the only visit the Cavs make to Big Apple. While it was low key for the most part, the speculation and the the rumor mill turning make for a blah kind of experience. Everyone wants to play Nostradamus and predict where LeBron James will play next year. Let's try this: how about finishing THIS year first.
On the lineup change: Nice move moving J.J. Hickson to the starting lineup. As long as he continues to do his job - and coach Mike Brown is a lot more concerned with defense and his case than scoring - it has a chance to work over the long haul. The move allowed last year' s starting five to eventually get extended playing time together and it was during those moments in the first quarter the Cavs pulled away.
Maybe the Cavs werein a New York state of mind, but after three of their best quarters of the season, they went to sleep in the fourth allwoing the Knicks to significantly cut into their seemingly insurmountable lead.
Game: Cavs at Knicks
Broadcast: TV: ESPN. Radio: WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM)
Starters: Cavs: LeBron James (F); J.J. Hickson (F); Shaquille O'Neal (C); Anthony Parker (G); Mo Williams (G). Knicks: Wilson Chandler (F); Danilo Gallinari (F); David Lee (C); Chris Duhon (G); Larry Hughes (G).
Officials: Ken Mauer, John Goble, David Guthrie
Streaking: Cavs have lost one. The Knicks have lost one.
What to watch:
The Cavaliers can't get caught up iin a the Knicks run-and-shoot game that Mike D'Antoni loves for his teams to play. They aren't exactly built for it.
Watch to see what LeBron James does. Last time at the Garden he put up 50-plus points and had a triple-double taken away from him.
Post-mortem: Bulls 86, Cavs 85
A few observations:
LeBron James said it himself. Right now, the team's primary problem remains on offense. They averaged more than 100 points per game last year and are nowhere near that this season. Allow me to add something to that. The free throw shooting sucks. I probably couldn't hit one to save my life, but I'm not paid to do that. On a night when charity shots were at a premium, they shot just 60 percent from the line. That was rather Ben Wallace-like of the whole team.
After that resounding return, Delonte West still hasn't been able to find himself out on the court. He scored just two points and looked out of sorts most of the night.
The Cavs are going to have to get more points off their bench. Tonight, they got just 12, eight of which came from Daniel ''Boobie'' Gibson. Zydrunas Ilgauskas went 0-9 on the night and West hit just 1-of-5.
While things look better on the defensive side, the Cavs still gave up points to the wrong person. They did a fantastic job of containing Derrick Rose for three quarters, only to allow him to get in the lane for shots and assists and the fourth. Rose scored 10 points in the fourth and tossed out five assists in the same span, giving the Bulls the lift that they needed.
Game: Cavs (3-3) vs. Chicago Bulls (3-2)
Broadcast: TV: TNT Radio: WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM)
Starters: Cavs: LeBron James (F); Anderson Varejao (F); Shaquille O'Neal (C); Anthony Parker (G); Mo Williams (G). Bulls: Luol Deng (F); Taj Gibson (F); Joakim Noah (C); John Salmons (G); Derrick Rose (G).
Officials: Ron Garretson, Michael Smith, Eli Roe
Streaking: Cavs havewon three in a row, the Bulls one.
What to watch:
The Bulls are counting on Derrick Rose to get back into game shape - and soon. Last year's rookie of the year sat out most of the preseason with a sprained ankle and has yet to work himself back into game shape.
The Bulls need him because they've struggled offensively in their four games thus far, shooting just 40.9 percent from the floor after four games. They are, however, coming into Quicken Loans Arena with some momentum as they beat the Milwaukee Bucks Tuesday night in dramatic fashion, erasing an 18-point deficit to do so.
There is one big difference in the Bulls this year, however. Ben Gordon, a guy who always seemed to find his shot against the Cavaliers is now plying his trade with the Detroit Pistons. His absence certainly figures into the Bulls' offensive woes thus far.
CLEVELAND - It looks as if Delonte West will be in coach Mike Brown’s rotation until he has to deal with his legal issues. But even with West back, Brown doesn’t plan to make any changes to his starting lineup just yet. ‘’For now I like it and I’m going to keep grinding away to see how it turns out, but if I feel like I need to make a change, I will,’’ he said. Of course West was last year’s starter at shooting guard, the spot now occupied by Anthony Parker (9.2 points, 2.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists) and that may very well happen again. I haven’t said anything to our team about this being set in stone or this is how it’s going to be for the rest of the year,’’ Brown said. Brown is aware of the lift that West’s presence provides to his team, but that alone doesn’t guarantee a starting spot. ‘’Whenever he’s on the floor and it would be the same if we were missing Z or LeBron or Mo or Andy, when that piece comes back on the floor, you tend to get a boost,’’ he said. West and refs One of the first things casual observers jumped on regarding West was a technical foul he received on his first night back. For anyone else that might have been no big deal, for West, given recent events, there might be a tendency to over react. Brown isn’t, however. ‘’I don’t like any of our guys getting techs, so anybody who gets (them), I’m going to watch close,‘’ he said. ‘’We pride ourselves on being a no-excuse team, but yeah we want to get our point across at times, but we do not want to give up points to help our opponent just so we can get the last word in.’’ Rose in bloom? Chicago Bulls point guard phenom Derrick Rose sat out most of the preseason with a sprained ankle. By all accounts he’s looked a bit rusty in the regular season and that injury still isn’t fully healed. Brown doesn’t expect that ankle to be a hindrance as the Bulls stampede into Quicken Loans Arena tonight. ‘’He’s developing very well. You can just feel the maturity he has on the floor, comfort level he has on the floor has just skyrocketed,’’ he said of Rose. ‘’He’s already talented as it is. He’s already athtletic as it is and now he’s putting it all together.’’To read more or comment...
Normal format blown by other duties tonight:
Tonight the Cavs flashed what they could look like under ideal circumstances in a couple of ways.
First there was trying to get Shaquille O'Neal going in the middle. When the offense stagnated just a little, coach Mike Brown and his teammates got O'Neal going by tossing him the ball down low. The result: O'Neal found a rhythm and hit a number of high percentage shots. He scored 21 points on the night and grabbed eight rebounds.
Secondly going to Shaq forced the Wizards to pay attention to him with double teams, which enabled him to find teammates for easy looks. When he wasn't doing that, he was getting fouled, something that helped contribute to the Cavs' comeback. In the second quarter they entered the penalty early and march to the free throw line.
O'Neal helped his team's call by actually hitting his free throws, connecting on 7-of-10.
Defensively, the new pieces to the puzzle look to finally be getting Brown's system. For the game they held the Wizards to 39 percent shooting from the floor. Through the last three quarters, that was a whopping 33 percent on 16-of-49 shooting.
Was the game perfect? Given their sluggish start, falling down by 18 at one point, no. But for three quarters they played nearly flawless basketball.
One of the teams playing in tonight's Cavs-Wizards game is living in a fantasy world.
Here's a tip, it's not the Cavs. At least one Wizards player, DeShawn Stevenson, still believes that this meeting tonight renews a rivalry.
The rivalry filled with Papa John's Pizzas, Soulja Boy vs. Jay-Z and said Stevenson not being able to feel his face.