Nuggets 113, Cavs 83 --First things first, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Damon Jones should be able to play tomorrow. Z had his back tighten up and Damon tweaked his ankle. Drew Gooden lives in Orlando and has a lot of family and friends there, he may try it as well. --Second, at the end of the third quarter LeBron James went over and sat my himself on the bench, away from the huddle. The Cavs were down 25 and had just lost Ilgauskas along with the four other players sitting in suits and he was upset. Damon Jones was not happy with his attitude and he spoke to him about it. LeBron ignored him. It was a heat of the moment thing, but because tomorrow is Monday and the news cycle starts and it involves LeBron showing angst I suspect it will be a topic on many shows because it's nice fodder, especially in trade season. So here is what the parties said: Damon: "I just think in those situations we have to stick together...Something had to be said at that point. No big thing." LeBron: "I didn't feel like as a team or as an individual we played as hard as we could have. It was just tonight, it hasn't been an ongoing thing. If it happens again, then you worry." --It was a horrible game and the Cavs looked like they knew they were going to get beat before it started. And they were right. The Nuggets looked like they knew they were going to get a blowout win. And they were right. --One more thing before I go. I have been accused of defending Danny Ferry, especially today because I wrote a realist column in the paper that talks about the $30 million in expiring contracts the Cavs have next year to use in trades. What I attempt to do in stories in the paper and on this blog is to add perspective to the Cavs, which fans don't have to worry about and that's fine. When the Cavs made those signings in 2005, I agreed with all of them. I felt Larry Hughes' contract was an overpay, especially the fact that there were $10 million in incentives on top of the $60 million guaranteed. I felt the contracts given to Jones, Donyell Marshall and Zydrunas Ilgauskas were also each one year longer than they had to be. But that is what the market dictated that summer.
But I didn't disagree with any of their additions, they each gave the Cavs something they needed. To sit here today and criticize those signings would be hypocritical and not fair. At the time, Hughes was one of the most productive players in the NBA, Marshall was one of the best-shooting big men and Jones just hit 225 3-pointers and was coming to a team that was 29th in 3-point shooting. To help make it happen, as I have said many, many times, Z took a massive pay cut. He then even took less money when the Cavs screwed up his contract and accidentally renounced his rights, meaning he could only get 8 percent raises and not 10.5 percent raises. I didn't like the David Wesley signing when they made it and therefore I felt I was fair when I ripped it all of last season. Also, before this season I said not getting a point guard, even an average one, was a mistake and it would hold them back. Which I also stand by.
The other signings I cannot in good faith say were terrible. No, they have not worked out as planned and have proven to be mistakes. But when I was covering them I felt they were grounded and I wrote it and said it. And those players helped the Cavs get to the playoffs the next year, which they had not done in eight years.
So rip away on Ferry and then me for not joining you, but I don't have the luxury of being able to hit-and-run or write without perspective.
Nuggets: Anthony Carter, Allen Iverson, Carmelo Anthony, Kenyon Martin, Marcus Cambry Cavs: Eric Snow, Larry Hughes, LeBron James, Ira Newble, Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Officials Joe Crawford, Derrick Stafford, Sean Wright
--Daniel Gibson and Drew Gooden were unable to go. Drew seems close, but he is afraid to risk re-injuring it. He'll try it again tomorrow. --The Cavs are terrible against the Nuggets because they can't play at their speed. The Cavs really need to run to score right now because of the guys they have hurt and that is not good. Just like the other night, other guys besides LeBron will need to have big offensive nights. --The Cavs are going to have some matchup issues. Obviously Iverson is a handful, but the Cavs have an issue dealing with Martin and Anthony with how they are playing. Also, Linas Kleiza can play inside and outside and is hard to guard off the bench.
Halftime -- Nuggets 63, Cavs 45
--The Cavs are living up to their contractual obligation and taking their whipping. --By rule, Eric Snow's missed layup when he used the wrong hand and bounced the ball off the left side of the backboard and missed the rim must be put in the David Wesley file. --The Cavs have accepted they are going to lose this game and you can see it in the body language. The fans know it, too. It is dead here.
Stars Melo, 27 points, eight rebounds AI, 25 points, 13 assists, ZERO turnovers LeBron, 30 points
Mike Brown: I thought we could've at least played hard or fought back. We didn't try to embrace who are and try to get stops. If they hit 3s, great. If they score, great. But I'm going to knock somebody's head off, I'm going to grab somebody, I'm going to set a hard screen, I'm going to knock somebody down. Everybody got an opportunity to play," he said. "That's about it." Larry Hughes: "Denver is a team we struggle against. They play a lot of freelance basketball, a lot of random basketball. There's always one team, everybody in the league has one."