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Knicks 117, Cavs 86; Jason Lloyd's final thoughts on Kyrie Irving and free agency

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 31, 2014
Irving, Kyrie vs Knicks

NEW YORK: Twenty-five thoughts for 25 shots from Kyrie Irving on a turbulent day in New York, which concluded with a terrible 117-86 loss to the New York Knicks…

1. Kyrie Irving is smart. He’s well spoken. He has learned the craft of saying things without actually saying them. So when he said “I’m still in my rookie contract and I’m happy to be here. And I’m pretty sure I’m going to be here for a long time,” I’m sure it sounded swell to a lot of fans who were clamoring for him to say something along those lines.

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Cavs' Kyrie Irving: 'I'm pretty sure I'm going to be here for a long time'

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 30, 2014
Irving, Kyrie dives loose ball

NEW YORK: Kyrie Irving said he enjoys being in Cleveland and playing for the Cavaliers, but stopped short of saying he'll take a max contract offer if he's presented with one this summer.

ESPN's Chad Ford reported earlier Thursday in his weekly chat that Irving has privately told people he wants out of Cleveland.

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Cavs lack energy, hustle in 117-86 loss to Knicks

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 30, 2014
Knicks dunk

NEW YORK: The Cavs’ problems were broken open and spilled across the nation on Thursday. The lack of heart and toughness, the inability to defend the simplest of plays, Kyrie Irving’s rumored unhappiness here … all of it exposed to a national audience during the Cavs’ 117-86 loss at the New York Knicks on Thursday.

The head coach and general manager both lashed the players for their lack of effort in recent days, then they promptly responded with what was arguably their worst effort of the season in a game that was never close.

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Pregame: Cavs (16-29) at Knicks (18-27) plus more on Kyrie Irving

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 30, 2014
Anthony, Carmelo

Time: 8 p.m.; Place: Madison Square Garden; TV/Radio: TNT/WTAM, WLEC, WAKR

Injury report: Cavs: Anderson Varejao (knee) questionable; Carrick Felix (knee) out; Knicks: Amare Stoudemire (ankle) out; Andrea Bargnani (elbow) out; Kenyon Martin (ankle) questionable; Iman Shumpert (shoulder) questionable.

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Cavs GM Chris Grant: 'Lack of effort just not acceptable'

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 29, 2014

INDEPENDENCE: Cavs General Manger Chris Grant is disappointed in the Cavs’ 16-29 record and said the team played “terrible” on this recently concluded home stand, but believes the right pieces are here to turn the season around.

“The lack of effort is just not acceptable,” Grant said. “It’s not who we are and who we want to be. It’s got to be addressed head on. There's no excuses for that, but we've seen our guys compete and execute consistently and that's really what we've got to do a better job of.”

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Pelicans 100, Cavs 89: Jason Lloyd's final thoughts after another disappointing loss

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 29, 2014
Bennett, Anthony dunk vs Pelicans

CLEVELAND: Twenty thoughts following another disappointing 100-89 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans...

1. Sifting through the rubble of this failed homestand, it’s difficult to know where exactly to begin. But something is clearly wrong with this team and the problems are getting worse.

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Second-quarter scoreless drought, poor defense dooms Cavs in 100-89 loss to Pelicans

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 28, 2014
Davis, Anthony over Tristan

CLEVELAND: The Cavs went scoreless over the final 5 ½ minutes of the second quarter and trailed by as many as 22, concluding a terrible homestand with a 100-89 loss Tuesday to the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Cavs led 44-40 in the second quarter when the offense disintegrated much as it did in Sunday’s loss to the Phoenix Suns. The Cavs missed their last nine shots of the half and the Pelicans scored 16 consecutive points to take command of the game. They still led by 17 with five minutes left and sailed to their third win in a row.

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Varejao out vs. Pelicans, Zeller likely to start

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 28, 2014

CLEVELAND: Anderson Varejao will miss tonight's game against the New Orleans Pelicans with a left knee contusion and hyperextension. Tyler Zeller is expected to start in his place.

This is the first game Varejao has missed all season. Zeller is averaging 4 points and 3.3 rebounds this season. 

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Pregame: Pelicans (18-25) at Cavs (16-28)

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 28, 2014
Davis, Anthony

Time: 7 p.m.; Place: Quicken Loans Arena; TV/Radio: FS Ohio/WTAM, WLEC, WAKR

Injury report: Cavs: Anderson Varejao (knee) questionable; Carrick Felix (knee) out; Pelicans: Ryan Anderson (back) out; Jrue Holiday (leg) out; Jason Smith (knee) out.

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Suns 99, Cavs 90: Jason Lloyd's final thoughts after Cavs blow 20-point lead

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 27, 2014

CLEVELAND: Twelve thoughts tonight, twice as many points scored in the third quarter of a terrible 99-90 loss to the Phoenix Suns…

1. The Cavs are all too familiar with blowing 20-point leads, particularly against the Phoenix Suns. They blew a 26-point lead and lost to the Suns early last season in what was at the time the biggest blown lead in franchise history. Not to be outdone, they blew a 27-point lead to the Heat near the end of the season and lost again. In between was a 22-point blown lead in a loss to the Knicks.

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Cavs blow 20-point lead, collapse in second half of 99-90 loss to Suns

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 26, 2014
Dragic, Goran

CLEVELAND: The Cavs scored a season-low 6 points in the third quarter and squandered a 20-point lead in falling at home to the Phoenix Suns on Sunday 99-90.

The Cavs enjoyed a 61-43 halftime lead, but shot 2-for-22 in the third quarter to narrowly miss the franchise record for fewest points in a quarter (4). The Suns did set a record for fewest points allowed in a quarter.

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Cavs 93, Bucks 78; Jason Lloyd's final thoughts

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 25, 2014
Bennett, Anthony vs Bucks

CLEVELAND: Twenty-one thoughts tonight for 21 offensive rebounds in the Cavs’ 93-78 win over the Milwaukee Bucks…

1. My story off this game was awful. Seriously, like, worse-than-the-Bucks type of bad. Don’t waste your time. Moving on.

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Cavs hold Bucks to season low in points, enjoy easy 93-78 win

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 24, 2014
Varejao, Andy hook shot vs Bucks

CLEVELAND: Anderson Varejao scored 16 points, Kyrie Irving had 10 points and 10 assists and Tristan Thompson had 14 points and 10 rebounds in an easy 93-78 victory Friday against the Milwaukee Bucks.

It was one of the Cavs’ most lopsided wins of the season and the fewest points they’ve surrendered to an opponent all year. The lead was 16 entering the fourth quarter, allowing Mike Brown to bench his starters for the entire fourth quarter.

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Bucks (8-33) at Cavs (15-27)

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 24, 2014

Time: 7:30 p.m.; Place: Quicken Loans Arena; TV/Radio: FS Ohio/WTAM, WLEC, WAKR

Injury report: Cavs: None; Bucks: Carlos Delfino (foot) out; Zaza Pachulia (foot) out. 

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Kyrie Irving named to Team USA roster, eligible to play in '14 World Cup and '16 Olympics

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 23, 2014
Irving, Kyrie shooting

Kyrie Irving was named to the Team USA Men’s National team roster on Thursday, making him eligible to play on both the World Cup team this summer in Spain and the 2016 Olympics.

Later tonight, he is expected to be named a starter for the Eastern Conference in the All-Star game. Quite a day, although Irving wouldn't address the All-Star voting until the results are official. Once it happens, Irving will be the third Cavs player in team history voted as a starter, joining LeBron James and Shawn Kemp.

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Bulls 98, Cavs 87; Jason Lloyd's final thoughts

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 23, 2014
Deng & Jo hug

CLEVELAND: Twenty-three thoughts tonight, one for every point D.J. Augustin averaged against the Cavs this season, following a disappointing 98-87 loss in Luol Deng’s first game against the Chicago Bulls…

1. Throughout the locker room Wednesday night, the general theme was the same: When adversity strikes, this team splinters instead of bonds. And the body language is terrible when guys should be upbeat.

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Subs have huge night, Bulls beat Cavs 98-87 as Deng struggles in first game against former team

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 22, 2014

CLEVELAND: Taj Gibson tied his career high with 26 points and D.J. Augustin tied his season high with 27 points as the injury-riddled Chicago Bulls beat the Cavaliers on Wednesday 98-87 in Luol Deng’s first game against his former team.

The trade of Deng to the Cavs was viewed as Chicago giving up on the season and the Cavs loading up for a push toward the postseason, yet the Bulls are 7-2 since the trade and the Cavs are 3-4 with Deng, who struggled to shoot 2-for-11 and scored 11 points against his former teammates.

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Pregame: Bulls (20-20) at Cavs (15-26)

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 22, 2014

Time: 7 p.m.; Place: Quicken Loans Arena; TV/Radio: FS Ohio/WTAM, WLEC, WAKR

Injury report: Cavs: None; Bulls: Kirk Hinrich (hamstring) out; Carlos Boozer (calf) out; Derrick Rose (knee) out. 

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Final Thoughts from a 102-97 loss to Dallas on a 5-second violation

By Ryan Lewis Published: January 20, 2014

Nine final thoughts resulting from a thrilling, crushing loss to the Mavs on Monday. 

1. First thought goes to Dr. King. Several games had afternoon tip-offs (Monday was the first MLK Day matinee at Quicken Loans Arena) and many players around the league wore purple shoes to honor him. Jarrett Jack recited a short piece over the PA before the game. And at halftime, the Cavs played a tribute video in which several players read Dr. King's famous "I have a dream" speech. It drew some nice cheers from the crowd and chills from me. 

2. The Cavs lost a game tonight in a way that you just can't lose games. Coming out of a timeout, they fought all the way back from a 24-point deficit to still have a shot to tie the game at the buzzer, down 100-97 with 2.8 seconds left.  And Jarrett Jack was called for a 5-second violation. Barring an injury, that's the absolute worst-case scenario to not even get the ball into play. 

3. Mike Brown said several times in the post game presser that Kyrie Irving, who was supposed to get the ball on the weak side, was "wide open," but that Jack couldn't see him. He seemed angry that the opportunity was there and the Cavs couldn't connect. Kyrie refused to put any blame on anyone. Brown didn't do that, but he did several times say that Irving was open. 

4. It was an interesting decision to have Jack (6-foot-3) inbound the ball over Luol Deng (6-foot-9), who Brown said was the other option. Brown explained that Jack had done a nice job and was "heady" veteran, and he wanted Deng to have the ability to pop out if the screen for Irving failed and attempt a 3-pointer. The problem was Brandan Wright, the Mavs' 6-foot-10 forward who made maybe the play of the entire game by jumping up and down 6-7 times and blocking Jack's view of Irving. 

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Cavs' comeback falls short in 102-97 loss to Dallas on 5-second violation

By Ryan Lewis Published: January 20, 2014

The Cavs' furious comeback attempt in the second half eventually fell short in a 102-97 loss to Dallas on Monday afternoon. 

The Cavs at one point trailed by 24, but thanks to 16 points from Kyrie Irving in the third quarter and a 21-rebound performance from Anderson Varejao, the Cavs cut the lead down to 2 points in the fourth quarter, 91-89, after Luol Deng hit a 3-pointer. 

Monta Ellis missed two free throws in with 3.4 seconds left to give the Cavs a final shot at tying the game, down 100-97. 

With 2.8 seconds left, Jarrett Jack couldn't in-bound the ball and was called for a 5-second violation. That led to Ellis hitting two free throws and putting the game out of reach. 

Irving finished with a game-high 26. Varejao had 18 points. Deng had 20. Tristan Thompson had 19 points and 10 rebounds. 

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Cavs 117, Nuggets 109; Jason Lloyd's final thoughts

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 18, 2014

DENVER: Fifteen thoughts after a pretty impressive 117-109 win over the Denver Nuggets and a successful swing through the West...

1. How big was this victory, and more accurately this entire trip? So big it brought Dion Waiters out of Twitter hibernation for the first time in three months. Players were sincerely excited leaving the locker room. I couldn't help but think about what Luol Deng said a few days ago. When guys start winning, they start believing in the message. Well they've won four of their last six. Still plenty of work to do, but it's a start.

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Blazers 108, Cavs 96; Jason Lloyd's final thoughts

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 16, 2014

PORTLAND, ORE.: Fourteen thoughts tonight, one for each of Anderson Varejao's rebounds from a game the Cavs were in until the end of a 108-96 loss to the Blazers...

1. I feel like I'm writing about Luol Deng in some form or angle every day. It's not intentional, but it's quite obvious the Cavs were facing a critical juncture of the season last week. They could've folded their hand, released Andrew Bynum, played Anthony Bennett big minutes and played for a stacked draft or they could push all in and play for the postseason. We all know which way they went. 

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Aldridge scores 32 points, Cavs go scoreless at end of 108-96 loss to Blazers

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 16, 2014

PORTLAND, ORE.: The first 3-pointer of LaMarcus Aldridge's season was precisely the shot the Blazers needed to end all of the Cavs' fun. For the last couple of years, the Cavs have tried unsuccessfully trying to pry Aldridge out of Portland. This is why.

Aldridge had 32 points and 18 rebounds, including 9 consecutive points late in the fourth quarter Wednesday in the Trail Blazers' 108-96 win over the Cavs at Moda Center. The game was tied at 96 until the final three minutes, when the Cavs went scoreless and Aldridge carried the Blazers to a season sweep of the Cavs.

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Pregame: Cavs (13-24) at Blazers (28-9)

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 15, 2014

Time: 10 p.m.; Place: Moda Center; TV/Radio: FS Ohio/WTAM, WLEC, WAKR

Injury report: Cavs: None; Blazers: None. 

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Deng scores 27 points, Varejao grabs 18 rebounds in 120-118 win over Lakers

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 15, 2014

LOS ANGELES: The evidence behind how important of a game this was to the Cavaliers was hidden in the box score. During his first two games with his new team, Deng had a soft 30-minute limit as part of a precaution given his recent Achilles injury.

Against the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, the first game after Sunday's miserable 44-point loss to the Sacramento Kings, Deng played 38 minutes. The Cavs needed every one of them and every one of his 27 points in a 120-118 victory that was much more difficult than it should've been given the Lakers' injury-ravaged roster.

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Kings 124, Cavs 80; Jason Lloyd's final thoughts

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 13, 2014
cavs on bench

SACRAMENTO, Calif.: Twenty-six thoughts tonight following one of the worst losses I’ve seen in four years covering the Cavs, 124-80 to the Sacramento Kings.

1. The Cavaliers will never truly be a good team until they get mentally tougher. That point has been lingering over this team much of the season and was driven home Sunday night. They’re just too soft. Under no circumstance should the Kings beat any team in the NBA by 44 points. They’re the freaking Kings!

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Cavs suffer worst loss of season, 124-80 at Kings

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 12, 2014
Zeller, Tyler fouled vs Kings

SACRAMENTO, CALIF.: The Cavs trailed by as many as 46 points in the fourth quarter and were hammered 124-80  by the Sacramento Kings on Sunday, their worst loss of the season and their worst loss ever against the Kings franchise.

The Cavs were within 59-50 at the half, but were outscored 65-30 in the second half after they shot just 28 percent in the second half. The Cavs made 11 baskets in the second half, while the Kings made 10 just from the 3-point line.

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Cavs 113, Jazz 102; Jason Lloyd's final thoughts on Luol Deng's debut

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 11, 2014
Waiters, Dion at rim

SALT LAKE CITY: Seventeen thoughts tonight following a much-needed 113-102 win over the Utah Jazz to start this important five-game road trip…

1. The Cavs are 2-0 since trading for Luol Deng and he’s only played 21 of a possible 96 minutes. They won each game by double figures with an average margin of victory of 15 points.

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Cavs erupt for 39 points in third quarter, Deng scores 10 in debut in Cavs' 113-102 win over Jazz

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 10, 2014
Deng, Luol drive

SALT LAKE CITY: When Luol Deng walked into the visitors locker room Friday night at Energy Solutions Arena, he was still expecting to find a red and black “Chicago” jersey in front of his locker.

Old habits die hard, and after 10 years wearing Bulls colors, seeing a wine and gold Cleveland jersey jarred him slightly.

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Pregame: Cavs (12-23) at Jazz (12-25)

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 10, 2014
Hayward, Gordon dunk

Time: 9 p.m.; Place: Energy Solutions Arena; TV/Radio: FS Ohio/WTAM, WLEC, WAKR

Injury report: Cavs: Jarrett Jack (back) probable; Jazz: Gordon Hayward (hip) questionable; 

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Luol Deng says he's open to negotiating extension with Cavaliers

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 8, 2014
Deng, Luol presser

INDEPENDENCE: The hardest part of getting traded for Luol Deng wasn’t the middle-of-the-night phone calls or the chaos of trying to get packed and into Cleveland in time for practice Wednesday.

No, the hardest part was explaining to his mother what a “trade” is and why he was moving from Chicago to Cleveland.

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Cavs 111, Sixers 93; Jason Lloyd's final thoughts on Luol Deng trade and LeBron James' future

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 8, 2014
Deng, Luol drives vs Cavs

CLEVELAND: Twenty thoughts following a big day for the Cavs that was capped with a 111-93 victory against the Sixers...

1. There is an incredibly important point that I think is getting overlooked in the trade that landed the Cavs Luol Deng. By signing Andrew Bynum to the contract that they did, the Cavs manufactured their own trade deadline Tuesday and then monopolized the market.

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C.J. Miles sets team record for 3-pointers, scores 34 points in Cavs' 111-93 win over Sixers

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 7, 2014
Miles, CJ shoots vs Sixers

CLEVELAND: C.J. Miles set a franchise record with 10 3-pointers and scored a season-high 34 points and the Cavaliers hammered the Philadelphia 76ers 111-93 on a day Kyrie Irving returned and the Cavs traded for Luol Deng.

Deng is expected to join the team Wednesday, but the Cavs didn’t need him to win for just the third time in their last 11 games. The Sixers were playing their fifth game in seven nights and it showed.

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Deng doubtful to play tonight vs. Sixers, Irving questionable

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 7, 2014
Deng, Luol jumper

INDEPENDENCE: Luol Deng seems doubtful to play tonight when the Cavs host the Philadelphia 76ers, although Kyrie Irving seems a possibility.

Deng is trying to make it to Cleveland on Tuesday, but the weather and flight delays leave it questionable whether he makes it in time. Deng barely slept last night, since he was on the phone with the Cavs after midnight. And even if he arrives, it seems doubtful he will play tonight, although no one has officially ruled him out.

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Cavs acquire Luol Deng from Bulls for Andrew Bynum, draft picks

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 7, 2014
Deng, Luol

CLEVELAND: The Cavaliers turned 24 games of Andrew Bynum into Luol Deng, a two-time All-Star and arguably the best small forward available on the trade market.

The Cavs acquired Deng, 28, early Tuesday morning from the Chicago Bulls in exchange for Bynum’s unique contract, a heavily protected future first-round pick from the Sacramento Kings and a pair of second-round picks. The Bulls also have the right to swap places with the Cavs in the 2015 draft, but only if the Cavs make the playoffs. The swap right expires after that draft.

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Cavs fail to get shot off with chance to tie, fall to Pacers 82-78

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 5, 2014
Thompson, Tristan lying on court

CLEVELAND: Earl Clark stepped out of bounds with a chance to force overtime and the short-handed Cavs lost to the Indiana Pacers 82-78 on Sunday.

For the second time in a week, the Cavs couldn’t get off a game-tying shot off an inbounds pass. And both times it wound up in Clark’s hands. Down 81-78 with 6.9 seconds left, Matthew Dellavedova struggled inbounding the ball and finally flipped it to Clark on the wing, who didn’t seem to be expecting the pass and had his foot on the sideline when he caught the ball.

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Nets 89, Cavs 82; Jason Lloyd's final thoughts

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 5, 2014
Waiters, Dion argues with ref

BROOKLYN, N.Y.: Fifteen thoughts tonight following an 89-82 loss to the Nets…

1. Forget about this game for a moment. The column I filed for Sunday’s Beacon Journal explores whether it’s time to pull the plug on expectations for this season. As the Cavs inch closer to dealing Andrew Bynum to the Lakers for Pau Gasol, as ESPN.com reported late tonight, I wonder if it’s time to stop looking for band-aids to fix the season.

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Cavs go cold in fourth quarter, fall to Nets 89-82 for seventh loss in eight games

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 4, 2014
Thompson, Tristan vs Nets

BROOKLYN, N.Y.: The Cavs managed just four baskets in the fourth quarter Saturday and lost to the Brooklyn Nets 89-82 for their seventh loss in their last eight games and their ninth in their last 11 games.

The Nets gave Kevin Garnett the night off and the Cavs were again without Kyrie Irving, who missed his second game with an injured left knee. His status for Sunday’s home game against the Indiana Pacers isn’t yet known, but Irving didn’t make the trip to Brooklyn and therefore would seem unlikely for Sunday.

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Cavs 87, Magic 81; Jason Lloyd's final thoughts

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 2, 2014
Varejao, Andy rebound

CLEVELAND: Fourteen final thoughts tonight following the Cavs’ 87-81 overtime win against the Orlando Magic.

1. It’s obvious at this point Andrew Bynum’s departure means more minutes for Anderson Varejao. That could be very good … or disastrous.

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Varejao ties franchise mark for rebounds in Cavs' 87-81 overtime win against Magic

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 2, 2014
Waiters, Dion drive vs Magic

CLEVELAND: Anderson Varejao tied a franchise record with 25 rebounds and the Cavs beat the Orlando Magic in overtime 87-81 Thursday in their first game this season without Kyrie Irving.

Dion Waiters’ driving layup with 6 tenths left in regulation forced overtime after the Cavs trailed by 7 with 15 seconds left. The win ended their season-long six-game losing streak.

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Kyrie Irving ruled out of tonight's game vs. Magic

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 2, 2014

CLEVELAND: Kyrie Irving will not play tonight when the Cavs host the Orlando Magic. Irving injured his left knee in Tuesday’s loss at the Indiana Pacers and remains day to day, but coach Mike Brown said he’s hopeful Irving can return sooner than later.

The Cavs’ next game is Saturday at the Brooklyn Nets. This is the first game Irving has missed this season after battling a variety of injuries during each of his first two years. Jarrett Jack will start in Irving’s place. 

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Pregame: Magic (10-21) at Cavs (10-21)

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 2, 2014
Davis, Glen laying on court

Time: 7 p.m.; Place: Quicken Loans Arena; TV/Radio: FS Ohio/WTAM, WLEC, WAKR

Injury report: Cavs: Kyrie Irving (knee) questionable; Magic: Nikola Vucevic (ankle) questionable.

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Cavs call Irving's injury a contusion, list him as questionable for Thursday vs. Magic

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 1, 2014
Irving, Kyrie behind back pass

Kyrie Irving suffered a left knee contusion during Tuesday's loss at Indiana, the Cavaliers said. An MRI on Wednesday revealed no structural damage to the knee and Irving is listed as questionable for Thursday's home game against the Orlando Magic. 

Irving felt a "pop" in the knee while driving to the rim during the third quarter Tuesday. He fell to the court and had to be helped to the locker room, although he later returned for the fourth quarter. Irving complained after the game that the knee still felt weak and that he was falling on the court. 

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