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LeBron James wins second consecutive MVP Award

By George Thomas Published: April 30, 2010

Cavaliers star LeBron James has won his second consecutive NBA Most Valuable Player Award.
Sources with the University of Akron said Friday the university is working with the Cavs to hold a news conference announcing the award, but nothing has been finalized.
The Cavs will be doing a walk-through at UA to see if having the announcement there would work logistically, the sources said.

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NBA Conference Semifinals Schedules

By George Thomas Published: April 30, 2010

Here is the updated schedule and national television arrangements for the confirmed Conference Semifinal series.
 National
 Local EDT   Broadcast
Eastern Conference
Cleveland vs. Boston
Game 1 - Sat  May 1  Boston at Cleveland  8:00PM      8:00PM      TNT/R
Game 2 - Mon  May 3  Boston at Cleveland  8:00PM      8:00PM      TNT
Game 3 - Fri  May 7  Cleveland at Boston  7:00PM      7:00PM      ESPN
Game 4 - Sun  May 9  Cleveland at Boston  3:30PM      3:30PM      ABC
Game 5 * Tue  May 11 Boston at Cleveland  TBD   TBD   TNT
Game 6 * Thu  May 13 Cleveland at Boston  TBD   TBD   ESPN
Game 7 * Sun  May 16 Boston at Cleveland  3:30PM      3:30PM      ABC
Western Conference
Phoenix vs. San Antonio
Game 1 - Mon May 3  San Antonio at Phoenix      7:30PM      10:30PM     TNT
Game 2 - Wed May 5  San Antonio at Phoenix      6:00PM      9:00PM      TNT
Game 3 - Fri May 7  Phoenix at San Antonio      8:30PM      9:30PM      ESPN
Game 4 - Sun May 9  Phoenix at San Antonio      7:00PM      8:00PM      TNT
Game 5 * Tue May 11 San Antonio at Phoenix      TBD   TBD   TNT
Game 6 * Thu May 13 Phoenix at San Antonio      TBD   TBD   ESPN
Game 7 * Sun May 16 San Antonio at Phoenix      TBD   TBD   TNT

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LeBron James Update: Elbow Strain

By George Thomas Published: April 29, 2010

From the Cavs:
Yes, don't panic Northeast Ohio.  Here's what you all wanted to know with breath withheld:
"Cavaliers forward LeBron James underwent further evaluation at Cleveland Clinic Sports Health last evening by Cavaliers Head Team Physician Dr. Richard Parker and Dr. Mark Schickendantz. He was re-examined with x-rays and MRI reviewed. LeBron has a strain of his right elbow and a bone bruise of his olecranon. He will undergo daily treatments and revaluation and a repeat MRI will be performed next week. It is not anticipated that he would miss any playing time. His status will be updated as appropriate."
In short:  LeBron's elbow is sore.

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Cavs - Boston Schedule Offers Little Clarity on Times

By George Thomas Published: April 28, 2010

Here is the updated schedule and national television arrangements for the Cleveland-Boston Eastern Conference Semifinal series.
National Local EDT   Broadcast
Eastern Conference
Cleveland vs. Boston
Game 1 - Sat  May 1  Boston at Cleveland  TBD   TBD   TNT
Game 2 - Mon  May 3  Boston at Cleveland  TBD   TBD   TNT
Game 3 - Fri  May 7  Cleveland at Boston  TBD   TBD   ESPN
Game 4 - Sun  May 9  Cleveland at Boston  3:30PM      3:30PM      ABC
Game 5 * Tue  May 11 Boston at Cleveland  TBD   TBD   TNT
Game 6 * Thu  May 13 Cleveland at Boston  TBD   TBD   ESPN
Game 7 * Sun  May 16 Boston at Cleveland  3:30PM      3:30PM      ABC

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LeBron talks about his elbow injury

By Marla Ridenour Published: April 28, 2010

LeBron James' comments on his injured right elbow following Tuesday's victory over Chicago:
(how is the elbow) I don't honestly know what's going on. I've done tests, trying to figure this thing out. But it almost feels like you hit your funny bone and it kind of numbs up a little bit. After I shot the first (free throw) that's exactly what it did. I wasn't even going to try to shoot the second one. Making the first one we went up four, so I knew we had some type of cushion. If I would have had to make it, I would have tried it with my right hand, but I didn't want to try to risk it any more.
(your shooting percentage was down, was it because of elbow, bothering you the entire game) Off and on, but I was able to still stick with the game plan. Antawn had it going, Shaq played extremely well. It was one of those games where every possession counted, offensively and defensively. When I had to make plays offensively I was able to.
(remember when this happened, ever been this bad) Naw, I've never had a problem with my elbow before, probably minor stuff in the past. I don't know exactly when it happened, I can't figure it out, but it's been going on for a few weeks. And hopefully it doesn't continue to bother me as we continue to move on in the post-season.
It's something, it bothers me more because I don't know what it is. But we'll figure it out. We've got the best docs in Cleveland and they'll figure it out.
(coach couldn't understand what you were saying, were you asking if you could call 20-second timeout) Yeah, it was a miscommunication. Right after they called a timeout I went to the sideline and it kind of calmed down. He probably thought I was asking him how many timeouts we had and he said, 'Two.' I was asking, 'Can I call one?' so it could calm down a little bit. Me and Mike usually have pretty good communication. That's going to happen, I guess, when you have, 20,000-plus screaming at the top of their lungs.
(when did you have tests, was your arm hit before free throws) Naw, it wasn't hit at all. I got an MRI two days ago, got X-rays, trying to figure out what's going on. Everything is clear, there's no structural damage or anything. I don't know doctor words or things like that, so if you want to talk to Max.
 It kind of numbed up a little bit after I shot that first free throw to put us up four.
(How concerned are you about it, Cleveland fans with past history are worried) I'm not concerned. I want to get a better sense of what it may be. But Cleveland fans have nothing to be worried about. I'm healthy, I'm ready and we look forward to the second round. They don't have any reason to panic.
(Would you see Dr. Andrews) I don't think it's that serious.
(first half took 3 shots because of elbow or flow of the game) It was more flow of the game. 'Twan had it going so well in the first half I was able to chill and not shoot the ball as much, I was still able to grab five rebounds and get five assists, do other things that can help our team. I don't force anything. It's just not my nature. I only took 12 shots tonight. I was never in force mode. I took what the defense gave me.
The elbow, for the most part hurt me the whole second half but I was still aggressive in the fourth quarter when need be.
(bother you on rebound with 4 1/2 left) A little bit. I don't like to harp on injuries, I hate it. I play through injuries, I don't want anybody to feel sorry for me. I don't like that. If I'm on the court, I'm healthy.
(you always have flare towards dramatic, elbow, halfcourt shot) I just do my job. I show up to work and I try to do my job at a high level individually and I try to be the leader I am, and that's on and off the court. As far as the dramatics and things like that, I guess it comes with how I do my job at a high level. Am I apologizing for that, no, because I love my job. Talk about my elbow, it's not a big deal to me. You can talk about what I did individually, Game 4, I don't care. The wins and losses, that's the only thing that matters to me.

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Gameblog: Cavs vs. Bulls (Game 5) or Take this Broken Wing

By George Thomas Published: April 27, 2010

Cavs 96, Bulls 94
Call it an escape more than a victory.  Or was it just a case of the  being better than anyone wants to give them credit?
Yes, that's more likely to be the case because this young team showed that in the coming years they will probably be a force in the NBA even with the organization as dysfunctional as it is. 
They played a ferocious game tonight and didn't give up despite the fact that the chances of them winning three consecutive games was nil.  It helped that the Cavs got way from what they did to the Bulls in Game 4. 
Part of that was using LeBron James and Antawn Jamison in pick-and-roll situations.  Jamison scored 20 points in the first half and just five in the second. Defensively, they didn't pick things up until - you guessed it - the fourth quarter, but even then that almost wasn't enough as the Bulls played just as they were expected - like an obsessed animal.
But the big question:  WHAT ABOUT LEBRON'S ELBOW?
He's not worried about it.  He's had an MRI, X-rays and no structural damage exists.
No one is going to hazzard a guess, however. But the reality is that the elbow affected his play tonight whether he wants to admit it.  There's a few days between now and the first meeting with the Celtics and James has some time to get some rest and be sure that they will baby it.
Cavs vs. Chicago Bulls Broadcast:
TV: FSOhio (for local flavor), TNT Radio:  WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM).
Starters:
Cavs:  LeBron James (F); Antawn Jamison (F); Shaquille O'Neal (C); Anthony Parker (G); Mo Williams (G). Bulls:  Luol Deng (F), Taj Gibson (F); Joakim Noah (C); Kirk Hinrich (G); Derrick Rose (G).
Injured :
Cavs: NONE
Bulls:  Chicago said that they have no injury issues.  In a possible close-out game that's true, but in reality not so much.  Derrick Rose hurt his ankle in Sunday's game after stepping on Shaquille O'Neal's size 23 shoe.  He had an MRI Monday as a precaution and had to sleep in a brace and keep it elevated the past couple of nights he said.   Any wrong movement could aggravate the situation.
Forward Luol Deng is suffering from a sore calf, an injury he battled throughout the end of the season.
For what it's worth the Bulls were loose after their shootaround this morning at Quicken Loans Arena, whether that translates on the court remains to be seen.
For them to pull this out, they will have to do what every other team does - try to stop LeBron James.  But they have more to worry about - in each subsequent game, Antawn Jamison has increased his production, reaching a peak - so far - with Sunday's 24-point performance against the Bulls.  He discovered that Deng cannot guard him and he and LeBron James worked the pick-and-roll from the corner perfectly on several occasions.  When not doing that, he was backing Deng up off the dribble and connecting on his shots.
Chicago's problem is that they can ill afford to focus on two players because then the third, Mo Williams in this case if he's on, will actually get them.  It' s been more than two weeks since Shaquille O'Neal received clearance to play.  He's getting shots, they just continue to rim out.  Don't be surprised if they start falling.

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Gameblog No. 4 - Cavs vs. Bulls: Different Day, Different Team

By George Thomas Published: April 25, 2010

An almost completely different team showed up in Cavaliers uniforms Sunday afternoon at the United Center.
I say almost because for the fist 19 minutes of the game, the lackadaisical unit the lost Game 3 appeared to be out on the floor. No energy.  Allowing the Bulls to stay in the game and gain some confidence - as if they didn't have enough coming out of their Game 3 loss.
‘’After Game 3 we were very frustrated.  We put ourselves in a difficult position.  We did a nice job of making it close at the end,’’ Antawn Jamison said ‘’We could not afford to let a team like this gain momentum and confidence.’’
What did they do?  First of all, offensively, they were locked in.  They  moved the ball to get good looks, and when they got thsoe looks they drained shots - to the tune of 53 percent on the night. The Cavs had five players in double figures with LeBron James leading the way with 37.  But Antawn Jamison came up an impressive 24 points as well.
For a while the two of them had a nice game going on between the two of them as they worked to victimize Luol Deng.
But the primary difference came on defense as the Cavs accomplished something in this game that the didn't in the last.  The clamped down on Derrick Rose and Kirk Hinrich.  In that last game those two combined for 58 points.  This time around they accounted for 31 total.
The Cavs did their best job on Rose to date.  While guard Anthony Parker stayed on him a lot of the time he was on the court, he saw a number of bodies and faces throughout the game.  The end result was that he took a host of bad shots from the outside and couldn't work his way into the inside.  Overall, he shot 9-of-20 from the floor  on the night.
‘’They were just playing great defense, making us shoot contested shots and getting out and running.  That’s usually what we do,’’ Rose said. ‘’They were switching up on people and putting a lot of people on me as a team.  If anything they just out hustled us tonight.’’

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Video: LeBron James and Mike Brown on J.J. Hickson

By George Thomas Published: April 24, 2010


CHICAGO - For now J.J. Hickson sits and waits as the odd man out in the Cavs rotation. But in Game 3, as his teammates struggled against the Chicago Bulls, everyone had to wonder whether Hickson's presence might have made a difference. With his quickness and athleticism, he probably would have helped as the Cavs tried to come back from a 21-point deficit. ''I know what I am capable of doing, coach knows what I am capable of doing and I think I bring something to this team that we don't have and that's to finish around the rim,'' Hickson said. '' Whenever coach is ready to use me, I'm going to be ready.'' His teammates agreed with Hickson's self-assessment and they certainly wouldn't mind seeing him out on the court. ''I think as a player, I would love to see J.J. out on the court. I don't know if he's ready, but I think he will be,'' LeBron James said. '' I think he can help up. I think no matter what lineup we have in the game, guys need to be ready.'' James walks a fine. He helped Hickson improve his game during the off season and remains confident in his abilities. ''I'm not going to sit here and say what lineups we should be play or what we should do, but I know the game and I know the feel of the game,'' he said. '' I'm not trying to make a pitch for J.J., but we all saw what he was able to do during the regular season with his size and athleticism. His ability to put pressure on the rim, that's something you can't substitute in this league - guys who can catch the ball and jump.'' But with a rotation of bigs that includes Shaquille O'Neal, Antawn Jamison, Anderson Varejao and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, there are only so many minutes to be had in Mike Brown's playoff rotation and he has another priority right now. ''I've got to get Shaq back on the floor a little bit more and other than that, that's my main goal right now with my bigs,'' Brown said. In the meantime, Hickson waits, listening to teammates such as O'Neal, who offer words of encouragement. ''J.J. knows he's got to stay ready. He also knows that if it wasn't for him stepping up, we probably wouldn't have the No. 1 spot and we probably wouldn't have the best record,'' O'Neal said. '' Things happen for a reason and I know he's going to get his shot.''

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Gameblog: Cavs at Chicago Bulls (Game 3)

By George Thomas Published: April 22, 2010

Bulls 108, Cavs 106
Familiar problems surfaced in this game as the Cavs went down in a ball of flames.
Lack of intensity:  You can pinpoint exactly when the Cavs started taking things seriously.  It was when they looked up at the scoreboard and noticed that they were down by 21 points in the middle of the third quarter.  Sure, the Bulls deserved some credit for beating the snot out of the Cavs up until that point, but prior to that, they were missing in action offensively and defensively. It took an 11-0 run to move them back into the game.
Lack of defense:  The points in the paint and offensive rebounds got cleaned up, so of course the Bulls decided to bomb away as the went on to shoot 50 percent from the floor and guards Derrick Rose and Kirk Hinrich combined to score 58 points.
Horrible free throw shooting:  The Cavs hit 20-of-31 free throws on the night for 65 percent.  They lost by how many points?  Repeat that.  Yes, two points.  Three free throws were the difference between 3-0 in the series and 2-1 in the series.
Time to panic?  No, I think not.  They will adjust and LeBron James alluded to as much in his post-game comments saying that the small lineup that the played primarily in the fourth quarter might have to be utilized more. 
And he's not freaking out over Shaq either.  Many will likely read that James said that "Shaq needs to step it up."  And that may be the case, but he also acknowledged that it's tough for anyone to come back crisp after an almost eight-week layoff.
Cavs vs. Chicago Bulls Broadcast:
TV: FSOhio and TNT Radio: WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM) Starters:
Cavs: LeBron James (F); Antawn Jamison (F); Shaquille O’Neal (C); Anthony Parker (G); Mo Williams (G).
Bulls: Luol Deng: (F); Taj Gibson (F); Joakim Noah (C); Kirk Hinrich (G); Derrick Rose (G).
Injured:
Cavs: None.
Bulls: None.
Officials: Monty McCutchen, Tony Brothers, Jason Phillips.
Other than a victory - which is what counts most - almost everything went wrong for the Cavs in Game 2 of their playoff series with the Bulls.
They got beat in the paint 56-58. After dominating the boards in Game 1, they were played to a draw. Although the Bulls won the all-important offensive rebounding battled 13-5 as Joakim Noah played up to his promise. And those offensive rebounds led to 21 second-chance points - not good.
This game is at the United Center and there are certain things the Bulls do better here - such as get out on the fast break. Look for the Cavs to try to minimize that as much as possible getting out on Derrick Rose, the Bulls' catalyst.
Look for the Bulls, who may have hit the Cavs with their best shot, to try to collapse more on LeBron James in the wake of his 40-point performance. For that reason, Antawn Jamison and Mo Williams should find their share of opportunities. Ditto for Anthony Parker, who the Bulls left wide open for three-point looks, daring him to hit the shots.

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Cavs Watch Parties at the Boneyard

By George Thomas Published: April 20, 2010

The Boneyard is the place to be for the official Cavaliers Watch Parties when the Cavs are in Chicago to take on the Bulls for Games 3 and 4 of the 2010 Playoffs! Everyone is invited to enjoy the festivities, catch the action live on big screen TVs — and to cheer on the Cavs ALL TOGETHER! 
The Cavalier Girls, Scream Team, Moondog and Ahmaad will entertain and give away prizes throughout the game. Visit cavs.com/alltogether for more information.  The Boneyard will host Watch Parties at different locations for each game:
• Game 3–Thursday, April 22nd at 6:00 (tipoff at 7:00 p.m.) The Boneyard in Broadview Hts. (101 East Royalton Rd., 44147) Broadcast nationally on TNT, locally on FOX Sports Ohio and heard on WTAM 1100 and the Cavaliers Radio Network.
• Game 4–Sunday, April 25th at 2:30 p.m. (tipoff at 3:30 p.m.) The Boneyard in Mayfield Hts. (5900 Mayfield Rd., 44124) Broadcast nationally on ABC and heard on WTAM 1100, the Cavaliers Radio Network and ESPN Radio.

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Joakim Noah Learns to Keep It Shut...Ummm Nevermind

By George Thomas Published: April 19, 2010

Update:  Amazing what a loss can do to a guy.  Totally different Noah as he went through the post-gaem dissection.
Some choice comments from Noah after the game:
''You think Cleveland's cool?  I never heard anyone say I'm going to Cleveland on vacation.  What's so good about Cleveland?''
"I don't want to be up here giving LeBron James all this credit. Yeah it's tough right now.  He  played an unbelieveable game."
Great player that needs to grow up just a weeeee bit.
Apparently Joakim Noah has learned his lesson.  After suffering diarrhea of the mouth for the past couple of days, Noah didn't speak to the media Monday morning.
Of course that little maneuver game after promising to talk to the media.
For those who missed it, Noah had all sorts of wonderful things to say about the city of Cleveland that boiled down to this in a nutshell:  Cleveland doesn't rock, it sucks.  Yeah well, on a dreary, chilly spring day, Noah isn't necessarily wrong.
Let's face it, downtown booms when it's warm and the legion of surburbanites and, yes, those from Summit County too, make the trek to assorted areas of downtown and trendy neighborhoods for "west and wewaxation."  That, howevever, doesn't mean the city doesn't possess its charms.
Noah's mistake was simple:  he's an outsider who said it out loud.  Call it the Animal House syndrome.
For anyone who's seen that comedy classic there is a scene where the fraternal Nazis from Omega House abuse the pledges from Delta House.  Two of the Deltas officers take notice and have this brief conversation: 
Otter (Tim Matheson):  "They can't do that to our pledges."
Boon (Peter Riegert):  "Only we can do that to our pledges."
That's it in a nutshell.  Only those from N.E. Ohio can have the privilege of bashing this old lady on the lake.  And that's how it should be.  After all, we endure the crappy weather, the screwy politicos and the lousy sports team. 
Is this a defense of Noah?  Nope.  Conventional wisdom is his media blunders these past few days was little more than calculated to take pressure off his teammates.  Apparently, it may be working.  Read this from Bulls point guard Derrick Rose:
''That's Jo. He's just trying to win. That's the way he plays, the way he talks. You always know he's in the room,'' Rose said. '' It makes all of us play harder because we know everywhere we go everybody hates him. You love shutting the crowd up, but it's going to take wins.''
Given that his father, Yannick, was a word class tennis players for years, part of him has to know how the media works.  It still comes across as looking brash and immature, especially when he's no where near the caliber of player he can be.  Until then, he may want to pick his media fights a bit more carefully.

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Gameblog: Cavs vs. Bulls (Game 2)

By George Thomas Published: April 19, 2010

Cavs 112, Bulls 102
The game played out closer to a regular season game than the Cavs would have probably liked.
Play 'em close.  Wait for fourth.  LeBron closes them out.  Play defense.
That's essentially what happened as the Bulls played the Cavs to a 77-77 tie through three quarters.   LeBron James scored 15 in the quarter to take the game over, spurred on by the Chicago bench, he said. The Cavs held Chicago to 36 percent shooting in the quarter and Jamario Moon contributed some serious timely shooting to create separation and win.
The Bulls made this one interesting by focusing on getting center Joakim Noah going early and as much as possible.  He played actively and with passion, there's no taking that away from him, but after being batted around like a pinata, he was in no mood to endure it again. He converged on the hoop, putting up seven offensive rebounds of his own.
That in turn took pressure off point gaurd Derrick Rose, who still had to chuck up a hefty number of shots with 24, but had someone to at least clean-up when he missed. 
The Bulls did a nice job of keeping the Cavs off the offensive glass, a category they dominated Saturday.  That's the primary reason they stayed in the game so long.  In all the Bulls outscored the Cavs in second chance points 21-7.
The Cavs won't be able to rely on LeBron James every game.  In short:  they still have plenty to clean-up before things get serious.
Game: Cavs vs. Chicago Bulls Broadcast: 
TV: FSOhio and TNT Radio:  WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM) Starters:
Cavs:  LeBron James (F); Antawn Jamison (F); Shaquille O'Neal (C); Anthony Parker (G); Mo Williams (G).
Bulls:  Luol Deng:  (F); Taj Gibson (F); Joakim Noah (C); Kirk Hinrich (G); Derrick Rose (G).
Injured and inactive:
Cavs:  None.
Bulls:  None.
Officials:  Joey Crawford, Ron Garretson and Eric Lewis.
Adjustments:
If you are the Cavs you continue what worked well in the first game.  For them, and it' s a theme they've echoed in interviews, that means making Derrick Rose take a high number of shots as he did in Game 1 - 28 to be exact. 
While it was good to see the team produce a balanced offense, not overly having to rely on LeBron James, they should better take advantage of this matchup on Luol Deng, who is  no where good enough to keep James from scoring.
Continue to batter Joakim Noah with Shaquille O'Neal, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Anderson Varejao. It's obvious that it wore on him in Game 1.
For the Bulls, they have to do what they do best - rebound the ball. The Cavs killed them on the boards 50-38 and were especially ferocious on the offensive boards 13-7.  
The Bulls have to find a way to get Joakim Noah more involved in the paint and he has to be more effective on the offensive glass, especially considering that the Bulls rely on Derrick Rose to score the ball more than anyone else.

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Gameblog: Cavs vs. Bulls (Game 1)

By George Thomas Published: April 17, 2010

If you're looking for one singular reason that the Cavs won Game 1 against the Bulls, it's the play of the big men.
While the Cavs are deep in that area - Antawn Jamison, Shaquille O'Neal, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Anderson Varejao - the Bulls aren't particularly.  Off the bench the only really have Brad Miller, while Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson rest in the starting lineup.  The dilemma?  Afternoons like today when Noah gets worn down and in foul trouble early (6:52 of the second quarter), while the Cavs send Shaq, Z, Andy out their relentlessly.  Cavs big men outrebounded the Bulls bigs 32-16, a huge difference in teh outcome of the game.
The headlines won't read that LeBron James dominated Game 1 for one simple reason - he didn't.  He's never going to be irrelevent but the Cavs showed a balanced offense - 4-of-5 starters scored in double figures and Mo Williams, O'Neal and Antawn Jamison stepped up.
However, here's the reality of their situation:  they have to play 48 minutes.  There was two lulls - one in the third and another in the fourth - where they allowed the Bulls to get back into the game because they settled for jumpshots and three-point attempts.  At one point they missed six consecutive treys.

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Video: LeBron James: Cavs-Bulls Pre-Game

By George Thomas Published: April 17, 2010

Cavaliers Playoff Schedule Against Chicago Bulls

By George Thomas Published: April 15, 2010

Cleveland vs. Chicago
 Game 1 - Sat  April 17  Chicago at Cleveland    3:00PM      3:00PM      ABC
Game 2 - Mon  April 19  Chicago at Cleveland    8:00PM      8:00PM      TNT
Game 3 - Thu  April 22  Cleveland at Chicago    6:00PM      7:00PM      TNT
Game 4 - Sun  April 25  Cleveland at Chicago    2:30PM      3:30PM      ABC/R
Game 5 * Tue  April 27  Chicago at Cleveland    TBD   TBD   TBD
Game 6 * Thu  April 29  Cleveland at Chicago    TBD   TBD   TBD
Game 7 * Sat  May 1     Chicago at Cleveland    TBD   TBD   TNT

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Shaq: I Would LOVE to Come Back to the Cavs

By George Thomas Published: April 14, 2010

Shaquille O’Neal wants it known.  He’s absolutely in love with Northeast Ohio.
‘’I’m having a fabulous time in Cleveland,’’ O’Neal said Wednesday.
And a happy Shaq could very well be a motivated Shaq as he looks at the possibility of getting his fifth championship ring.
Since he went down with a thumb injury and had surgery on March 1, he’s taken off a substantial amount of weight.
‘’I knew it was vital for us for me to come back better so, I just took the initiative and changed everything,’’ O’Neal said.
So far the season has been everything he expected, he said.
‘’I knew it was going to be great because I got the call from ‘Bron.  Bron said: ‘’We need you. We’re going to make a trade for you and everything is going to be good.  It’s just been living up there having a great time, actually one of the greatest times of my life.’’
Although the Cavs’ top priority this off season is signing LeBron James, O’Neal said he wouldn’t mind being in the team’s plans, also.
‘’If they want me back, yes.  I’m coming back.  People don’t bother me.  It’s quiet.  I’m having a great time.’’

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Cavs Reveal New Playoff Slogan

By George Thomas Published: April 14, 2010

If you see worker about the exterior of Quicken Loans Arena today, don't worry.
They'll just be installing signage related to the team's playoff slogan.  With the Cavs having clinched everything they can, the dog days of the regular season are history (thank God for minor miracles).
The slogan "All Together" will be featured prominently throughout the playoffs and encompass a number of activities.  Personally, I think it sounds like the title to a song by The Who, which ain't necessarily a bad thing.
For more info, pop on over to here.

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LeBron James: He Owes You Ca$h Northeast Ohio

By George Thomas Published: April 13, 2010

I've only been on the NBA beat for two seasons now.  I've been told that I've met Tim Povtak a couple of times.  Ususally, it's a bit daunting putting face to name.  I couldn't pick Povtak out of pressrow if he and I were sitting next to one another without name tags.
But I do know when I've read something completely wacky, off-the-wall and well, patently ridiculous such as this column from Povtak.  In it he claims the James owes the fans of Cleveland a refund for sitting out Sunday's game against the Orlando Magic.
The biggest problem I have with it:  it's pretty frackin' obvious that he didn't make a phone call to check his facts or, for that matter, read what has been coming out of Cleveland.

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Gameblog: Cavs at the Chicago Bulls

By George Thomas Published: April 8, 2010

Game: Cavs at Chicago Bulls 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).
Bulls:  TBD
Injured and inactive:
Cavs: Shaquille O'Neal (right thumb) - OUT.  Delonte West (back spasms); Daniel Gibson (midfoot contusion) - DOUBTFUL.  Sebastian Telfair (ruptured groin) - game-time decision.
Bullls:  James Johnson (right foot sprain) - PROBABLE.  Jerome James (right Achilles) - OUT. Officials: Dick Bavetta, Derek Richardson, Leroy Richardson.
Throw everything you know about these teams out.  The Cavs have things clinched up all the way through the playoffs and there is little doubt that they'd like to end the regular season peaking.  But the Bulls are fighting for the final spot in the Eastern Conference with the Toronto Raptors.  Tonight comes down to how badly they want that spot.

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Gameblog: Cavs vs. Toronto Raptors

By George Thomas Published: April 6, 2010

Cavs 113, Raptors 101
Kind of a yawner tonight even though the Raptors gave the Cavs a game for much of the first half, but after the start of the third quarter, things never really appeared in doubt.
That's because offensively, the Cavs were on their game. They had seven players score in double figures, none more than 20 points, but they had a total of 40 assists on 84 possessions. They shot a blistering 56 percent
Game: Cavs vs. Toronto Raptors
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). Raptors:  Chris Bosh (F); Antoine Wright (F); Andrea Bargnani (C); Sonny Weems (G); Jose Calderon (G).
Injured and inactive:
Cavs:  Shaquille O'Neal (right thumb); Delonte West (back spasms); Sebastian Telfair (ruptured groin).
Toronto:  NONE.
Officials:  Joe DeRosa, Path Fraher and Ed Malloy.
Coach Mike Brown said at this point he's not looking to rest anyone or alter minutes, but what is ironic is that the Cavs control the destiny of two teams.  The first being the Raptors tonight and Chicago on Thursday.  Both teams are fighting for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs with the Raptors being up a game right now.  Chicago has Milwaukee tonight, a team that will play without its starting center Andrew Bogut.
In short:  Toronto has a lot to play for and they always play the Cavaliers tough.  They beat the Cavs in Toronto and lost by just eight at The Q.

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LeBron: I Respect Colangelo, but Not His Statements

By George Thomas Published: April 4, 2010

LeBron James responded to recent words from USA Basketball director Jerry Colangelo with some of his own Sunday.
Adrian Wojarnowski of Yahoo Sports reported recently that Colangelo, the man responsible for assembling Team USA, said that a player not participating in the upcoming World Championships might find themselves on the bench for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
“There are no free passes to London,” Colangelo told Yahoo! Sports on Wednesday night. “There are no special rules for anyone. If someone decides to pass without a legit issue, they do it with an understanding of the risk.”
James chose his words carefully when asked about the situation.
''If that’s the case we’ll have to see when it happens.  There’s a lot that goes on with being a professional athlete other than just basketball,'' he said. '' I think everyone in the United States of America knows the commitment these guys made, including myself, since 2003.''
James will have his free agency to contend with in the summer, but what will likely consume the lion's share of his time is filming Fantasy Basketball Camp, a comedy set to be directed by Malcolm D. Lee, in which he plays himself. 
''I’m not trying to bash Jerry because I respect him; he’s a really good guy,'' he said. '' But if he came out and said that I don’t respect that because of the commitment we all give to the United States of America – the three year commitment right off the bat.  We didn’t second guess it at all.''

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Gameblog No. 76: Cavs vs. Atlanta Hawks

By George Thomas Published: April 2, 2010

Cavs 93, Hawks 88
Overall it wasn't a pretty sight, but it's the kind of game that could become the rule and not the exception once the playoffs roll around.  Every possession is precious and mistakes will kill.
This was one of those games as both teams were battling for playoff position of some sort.  The Hawks:  to solidify their third seed.  The Cavs:  to have homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs.
The Cavs won because they were better on the boards, out muscling the Hawks 55-36 even without two of their leading rebounders - Shaquille O'Neal and Anderson Varejao. 
Once again the Cavs showed up in the fourth quarter, locking the Hawks down and taking a lead to close out the game.
There was some things to like in this one - the Cavs finally hit the 75 percent mark in free throws, hitting 21-of-28. 
The rebounding was stellar.
Overall, however, some out there watching have to wonder why the Cavs cannot put teams away sooner.
Game: Cavs (60-16) vs. Atlanta Hawks (48-27)
Broadcast:
TV:  8 p.m., ESPN 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).
Hawks:  Marvin Williams (F); Josh Smith (F); Al Horford (C); Joe Johnson (G); Mike Bibby (G).
Injured and inactive:
Cavs:  Shaquille O'Neal (right thumb); Sebastian Telfair (ruptured groin) - OUT.   Anderson Varejao (left hamstring) - game-time decision.
Officials:  Greg Willard, Sean Corbin and Kevin Fehr.
The Cavs can nail their second-consecutive 60-win season tonight with a victory against the Hawks, something that is easier said than done.
Although the Cavs are 2-0 against the Hawks this season, beating them will be easier said than done this time around as Atlanta arrives at The Q with an 8-2 record in their last two games including wings against the Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers, which was actually and old-fashioned thumping.
They'll likely come into Cleveland looking to prove that they belong among the NBA's elite teams.  They do have some measure of inconsistency however, peppered in their recent games are losses to the Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers.
The Cavs are 9-1 in their last 10 games, but clearly have some things to work on - including their free throw shooting which has been abysmal the entire month of March.  It's also clear that they miss the interior presence of Varejao and center Shaquille O'NealZydrunas Ilgauskas' return should mitigate that a little bit, but he's never been known for having a strong interior defensive presence.
Of note:  the last time the Hawks were in town, LeBron James lit them up for 48 points.

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Colangelo Sends Warning to NBA Stars (Yes, LeBron Too)

By George Thomas Published: April 1, 2010

Apparently USA Basketaball managing director Jerry Colangelo has gotten word that LeBron James may not be playing for Team USA this summer, reports Andrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
James could be risking a roster spot for the 2012 Olympics on the line.
“There are no free passes to London,” Colangelo told Yahoo! Sports on Wednesday night. “There are no special rules for anyone. If someone decides to pass without a legit issue, they do it with an understanding of the risk.”
Apparently James isn't the only one planning a summer sabbatical.  Dwyane Wade may not be playing as well, according to the report.
Colangelo sounds as if he's holding out hope that Nike, a major Team USA sponsor, will be able to exert enough influence to get the players to training camp and the World Championships in Turkey.
“The players are intelligent and they understand that some of this whole thing brands them in the international marketplace,” he said. “And maybe they’ll make some decisions based on the fact that certainly Nike has a big impact on them in terms of what their contract may or may not say about this.”
But there's a huge difference in what Wade and James are doing this summer. While both will be handling their business with respect to free agency, James will be filming a movie with director Malcolm D. Lee this summer called Fantasy Basketball Camp and it doesn't sound as if he has a cameo.
If his part is as substantial as believed he's gonna be logging significant time on a movie set.

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NBA Gives Fans Vote in MVP Race

By George Thomas Published: April 1, 2010

The NBA continues to enhance its reputation as being a fan friendly league.
They wil allow fans a voice in deciding who the league's MVP should be. From today until April 15, fans will be able to vote at NBA.com.
Fans are asked to rank  their top five players in the league.  Votes will be tabulated and combined with the final tally giving the fans one of 125 votes in the MVP race.

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