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Cleveland Cavaliers

Taking some baby steps over Wolves

By admin Published: February 29, 2008

Cavs 92, Timberwolves 84
--Overall, this was not a very well played game by either side. I think the most interesting thing happened with five minutes to play, after Minnesota cut the lead to four points. Though it was a little different in how it happened, it reminded me of the other night in Milwaukee when the Cavs seemed to freeze up under pressure. This time they executed the offense much, much better and were much more under control. Just seeing Ben Wallace go backdoor -- although, that's probably not the guy you want run plays for in crunch time -- when the Wolves were overplaying was growth. The other night in Boston the Cavs just let the Celtics overplay them. --In the second half, 17 of the 21 baskets were in the paint and 15 of the baskets were assisted. That shows that there is some settling into the offense. LeBron James had 13 assists, which showed he knew where he teammates were going to be. --Defensively, Wallace and Zydrunas Ilgauskas started to show a little chemistry tonight. They had six blocks between them and many came when they were helping each other from the weakside. Al Jefferson had 18 points in the first half and just four in the second because the Cavs used better help defense on him. --LeBron said after the game that he's starting to enjoy playing alongside Delonte West. It is really the first time in his career that he's had a true "push it" point guard playing with him. Jeff McInnis wasn't one, really. And LeBron said he's learning how to run with him. West fed him a couple of times in transition tonight as the Cavs had 15 fastbreak points. --There's still issues all around and the Wolves are really terrible, but there was some improvement in this game. Let's see if it carries over. --As for the questions about the Cavs adding another player, the feel I am getting from the organization is that they're going to stand pat for now. They really don't want to add another major element unless it would be a big upgrade. They are already faced with bringing Daniel Gibson and Sasha Pavlovic in the fold in the coming weeks. At this moment, there is a feeling there isn't a player out there that they could get who would really help. They will probably keep one or both of the 10-day guys for practice purposes, they only have 11 healthy bodies without them. --As for Ira Newble, who was released by the Seattle SuperSonics today, I think the Cavs could use him because he knows the system, is versatile and is a good perimeter defender. I also talked to a couple people close to Ira today and the feeling was he would come back. However, under league rules he cannot re-sign until 30 days after the trade. Also, I am told a couple of other teams are interested in him. So if he can find a spot where he'll get playing time I assume he'll go there instead of waiting around, even if it isn't a playoff team. Remember that he's got to think about next season, he doesn't have a contract.
Recap:
Pregame
Starting lineups
T-Wolves: Sebastian Telfair, Randy Foye, Corey Brewer, Ryan Gomes, Al Jefferson Cavs: Delonte West, Devin Brown, LeBron James, Ben Wallace, Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Officials Bob "Bobby Covert" Delaney, Matt Boland, Monty McCutchen
--LeBron James' ankle is OK, it may be a little stiff but he's been able to walk and run on it just fine. --Brewer has the potential to be a good NBA player, but he's simply cannot handle James at this point because of the size difference. Maybe the Wolves will use Gomes on him, but if it is Brewer LeBron ought to go right at him right away. --Jefferson is one of the most underrated players in the league in my mind. He's got great post moves and excellent touch. He should be an All-Star already but he will be for sure in the future, I really enjoy watching him play. --Wally Szczerbiak isn't here, he is with his wife as they get ready to have their third child. He may not be around on Sunday, either.
Halftime -- Cavs 40, Wolves 36
--No way this game should be anywhere this close. The Wolves are a terrible team and they are not playing well. They are shooting just 32 percent and at one point missed 21 of 23 shots. Despite a significant size disadvantage they are outrebounding the Cavs and have a shocking 12 offensive rebounds. --The Cavs seem to be again out of rhythm on offense. It seems the wrong guys end up getting the ball in certain sets. Example: Anderson Varejao is 1-of-6 while Joe Smith has just one shot. I assume this is a continuance of the adjustment period, supposedly they put in about seven new plays for the new guys since the last game. --It looked like LeBron jammed his right thumb on the alley-oop pass from Damon Jones in the second quarter. LeBron hurt it a few games ago and wrapped it for a few games before it got better. Didn't seem like it affected him too much. --This is a game the Cavs could lose because you have to assume Minnesota will got hot from the field at some point. If this malaise continues and the Wolves stay close you are just asking for it. --Mike Brown's son, Elijah, who is a ballboy is swishing NBA 3-pointers out on the court right now. I think he's about 12 or 13 and is a lefty.
Postgame
Stars LeBron, 30 points, eight rebounds, 13 assists West, 12 points, five assists Ilgauskas, 10 points, six rebounds, four blocks Jefferson, 22 points, 10 rebounds
Quotes LeBron: "We’re trying to get comfortable with each other, I am learning where guys want the ball. It looked pretty good tonight."...on the alley-oop dunk from Damon Jones: "I knew he was going to be looking for somebody. He was going 1-on-3 so I said let me go ahead and take off.” West: "It is just a result of getting more practices and figuring out what everybody can do. It’s not hard to pick up on, it just takes some time.”

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