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Cleveland Cavaliers

Samuels to start in place of Antawn Jamison

By Jason Lloyd Published: March 1, 2011

Samardo Samuels' 260-pound frame crashed into assistant coach Jamahl Mosley over and over and over after Cavs practice Tuesday. Every time Samuels hit him, Mosley let out a painful grunt.

The pair worked on Samuels' post moves for a solid 30 minutes after practice. Samuels will need every one of those moves and a few more, since he's moving into the starting lineup in place of the injured Antawn Jamison.

Samuels has played well the last few games, so Scott is rewarding him by starting him Wednesday at home against Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs. He replaces Jamison, who could miss the rest of the season following successful surgery on his left pinky Tuesday morning. Jamison will miss five to seven weeks; there are seven weeks left in the season.

"The last few games, he’s played pretty well," Scott said of Samuels. "He’s really slowed down and really understands he has to be more patient at times. He’s doing a good job defensively for us."

Scott hasn't decided if Samuels will start at power forward or center, but it will likely be power forward against the Spurs. He has a better shot at defending DeJuan Blair than he does Tim Duncan. J.J. Hickson will start wherever Samuels doesn't. The long-term plan is to transition Hickson back to his natural power forward position, but Scott wants to make that move slowly since Hickson has been such a rebounding force in the paint. At power forward, Hickson will play more on the perimeter.

The loss of Jamison is a tough blow to the veteran, but it could be the best thing to happen for the Cavs. They'll now have seven weeks to take a long look at Samuels, Luke Harangody and Semih Erden to see if any can be valuable pieces moving forward. They'll get a better look now than they would next season during training camp.

Erden, incidentally, is still about a week away from playing. Scott said he didn't do much his last 2 1/2 weeks with the Celtics, so he has some work to do. Erden has conditioning concerns, along with shoulder and groin problems. Baron Davis also isn't likely to play Wednesday. Scott hopes he'll debut either Friday at New York or Sunday at home.

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