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Source: Shaq Is Out for 6-9 Weeks.

By George Thomas Published: February 28, 2010

Shaquille O'Neal will undergo surgery to repair ligaments in his sprained right thumb.
O'Neal flew to Baltimore lead team physician Dr. Richard Parker to be examined at the National Hand Center.  The Center's Dr. Thomas Graham will perform the surgery assisted by Parker.
It was determined that the best course of action would be surgery that will end the 7-foot-3 center's regular season. 
A source with knowledge of the situation said that O'Neal will miss 6-9 weeks but should be available for the playoffs. 
O'Neal injured the thumb during Thursday's game against the Boston Celtics.   It now means that abundance of big men that caused minute problems just a week ago has turned into a huge advantage.
In his place expect to see more of Leon Powe and J.J. Hickson both playing at the power forward spot and center, positions that are interchangeable in coach Mike Brown's offense.

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ESPN: Z Returning to the Cavaliers

By George Thomas Published: February 28, 2010

Gameblog: Cavs at Toronto Raptors (or Get Me Sleep, Brudda)

By George Thomas Published: February 26, 2010

Cavs 128, Raptors 116
In a nutshell:
I take no responsibilty for this blog because it was written on fumes.  I am dragging.  Up at 4 a.m. to miss bad weather.  Hiking to make a gate to get to Toronto so I could cover the game.  This is the stuff books and bad television shows are made.
But let's forget about that.  There was a game played tonight and as good as the Cavs looked against the Celtics for three quarters, they looked that bad against the Raptors tonight.  Perhaps it is a work and progress and they showed what they will eventually become on Thursday.  Cavs fans should hope so.
In the meantime, the Raptors kept the game close by working the pick-and-pop and pick-and-roll well much of the game.  Andrea Bargnani and Hedo Turkoglu torched the Cavs from outside and drov to the hoop as well. 
For four quarters, the Cavs had no real answers on defense giving up a 12-point lead in the first half and a seven-point lead in the game's final minutes. Then: click.  In overtime that was it - everything came together on both sides of the court. Defensively they finally got stops as the Raptors shot 1-for-8 in overtime.  The Cavs hit 5-of-9 with two huge three-pointers coming courtesy of Mo Williams who, after a second solid outing, is no longer struggling.
What did the Cavs do right - they finally got stops through sheer will.  The offense was there all night as they shot better than 50 percent during regulation.  Their defensive issues are what frustrate.  There's little doubt that Shaquille O'Neal's absence played a role, but this has been a consistent theme with them for close to ten games.
Luckily for them, Mike Brown has time to work on it.
Game: Cavs at Toronto Raptors
Broadcast: 
TV: FSOhio Radio:  WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM)
Starters:
Cavs:  LeBron James (F); Antawn Jamison (F); Anderson Varejao (C); Anthony Parker (G); Mo Williams (G).
Raptors:  Andrea Bargnani (F); Hedo Turkoglu (F); Rasho Nesterovic (C); DeMar DeRozan (G); Jarrett Jack (G).
Injured:  Cavs:  Shaquille O'Neal (right thumb sprain) - OUT, Sebastian Telfair (groin) - OUT.  Raptors:  Chris Bosh (sprained left ankle) - OUT.
Officials: Bill Spooner, Eric Lewis and Leroy Richardson.
Call it the catching the break tour.  The Cavs missed Paul Pierce last night in Boston due to injury and tonight they don't have to deal with Chris Bosh who is out with an injured ankle.
That certainly doesn't make this thing easy.  The Raptors give the Cavs plenty of problems, especially Bargnani who is a big who feasts on the Cavs from the outside (sound familiar?) averages 23.5 per ge agaisnt them this year.  And of course they still have Hedo Turkoglu to worry about from the outside as well.
The Cavs will want to build on the defensive momentum they gathered last night in Boston.

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WKNR Reports Z Will Re-sign, But Not So Fast

By George Thomas Published: February 26, 2010

According to a report from WKNR's afternoon-drive host and former voice of the Cavs, former center Zydrunas Ilgauskas will be the team's future center when he's eligible to do so.
The Washington Wizards bought Ilgauskas out of his coutract with them Thursday.  The Cavs traded the 12-year veteran in a three-team deal that brought forward Antawn Jamison to the Cavaliers.
But Ilgauskas' agent, Herb Rudoy, vehemently disputes the report saying there is no truth to it.  Ilgauskas won't be making up his mind until well into next week, Rudoy said.
The Cavs have the $1.9 million bi-annual exemption to pay Ilgauskas or the $1.3 million veteran's minimum with which to work to lure him.  But so do the Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks, two Western Conference teams that have express a great interest in the 7-foot-3 center.
So what will happen?  If I were a betting man, I'd say that Ilgauskas returns to the Cavs on March 22.  Some of this is posturing to ensure he's paid the former rather than the latter.
After the heartfelt statements LeBron James made prior to Thursday's Celtics game, I'd be shocked if he ended up anywhere else.

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Shaq Out Tonight; Jackson Recalled from Erie

By George Thomas Published: February 26, 2010

Cavaliers center Shaquille O'Neal left last night’s game at Boston in the second quarter with a significant right thumb sprain. He did not return to the game and is listed as OUT for tonight's game at Toronto. He will be re-evaluated today in Toronto and his status will be updated as appropriate.
The Cavs recalled forward Darnell Jackson from the Erie BayHawks to bolster the bench.

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The Waiting for Ilgauskas Begins or Does It?

By George Thomas Published: February 25, 2010

No news here, but the Washington Wizards bought out center Zydrunas Ilgauskas' contract Thursday and waived him, freeing him to sign with any NBA team.
Were he to sign with the Cavaliers, he would have to wait 30 from the date of the trade.  The earliest he can return to the Cavs is March 21. 
But the Cavs made a move Wednesday that should get some attention.  They sent forward Darnell Jackson and rookie guard Danny Green to the Erie Bayhawks, their D-League affiliate for what could  be as many as three games, coach Mike Brown said.
If the Cavs get Ilgauskas back, someone will have to go.  The Cavs have three options - Sebastian Telfair, Jackson or Green.  It's a possibility that these two or three games will be the most important, so far, of their young careers.

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Gameblog: Cavs at Boston Celtics

By George Thomas Published: February 25, 2010

Cavs 108, Celtics 88
There was disbelief among some of those on press row (include me) and even some mocking (check Twitter feeds) of the Cavs' defense in the first quarter against the Celtics.  What wasn't there to make fun of?
Sixteen points in the paint in the first five minutes and change?  Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo having his way with the Cavs defense?  I'd not be surprised if more than a few flat panel televisions got busted Thursday night.
But it was the tale of two halves as the Cavs turned things around in the second half, holding the Celtics to just 9-of-41 shooting in the final two quarters to embarrass Boston in a game that they should have won handily. 
The Cavs lost Shaquille O'Neal in the second quarter and were forced to go with a quicker, more athletic - albeit smaller - lineup.  The end result was team that created organized chaos for the Boston.
After the way they started, no one can do anything but marvel at how they finished.  They defensive intensity that had been lacking for most of the last seven or so games.
Game: Cavs (45-14) at Boston Celtics (36-20)
Broadcast: 
TV: 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).
Celtics:  Marquis Daniels (F); Kevin Garnett (F); Kendrick Perkins (C) Ray Allen (G); Rajon Rondo (G).
Injured:
Cavs:  Sebastian Telfair - groing (OUT).   Celtics: Paul Pierce.
Officials:  Scott Foster, David Jones and Sean Wright.
Big news tonight is that Paul Pierce won't play.  Pierce is listed as being out indefinitely with a thumb injury.  That puts Ray Allen into the starting lineup.  Allen averages 19.7 points per game against the Cavs.  But they will miss Pierce's 21.2 points per game against the Cavs and no one on the Celtics got up for LeBron James like Pierce.
The wild card tonight is going to be Garnett.  Is he healthy?  His play has been more consistent of late, averaging double figures the past five games.  And the Celtics have won seven of their last 10.  It will be interesting to see how Antawn Jamison matches up with Garnett on the defensive side of the court.  Defense hasn't been his strong suit throughout his career.
Lastly, the Cavs need point guard Mo Williams back in form.  He's been shaking off the rust.  In the process his shot has been flat and he hasn't been close to accurate from the floor.  He will also have his hands full guarding Rajon Rondo, who has only gotten better as the season has gone on.

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Ilgauskas reportedly agrees to buyout with Wizards

By Dan Published: February 25, 2010

According to Michael Lee of the Washington Post, the Washington Wizards have reached a buyout agreement with Zydrunas Ilgauskas.
A source told Lee that an announcement is expected today. The terms include Ilgauskas paying back between $1 million and $1.5 million of his $11.5 million contract.
The Cavs traded Ilgauskas to Washington as part of a three-team trade that sent Antawn Jamison to Cleveland.
Ilgauskas has to wait 30 days to play for Cleveland, which would be on March 21. He can sign and play for another team immediately.
The Denver Nuggets are expected to strongly pursue Ilgauskas.
Mark Warkentien, vice president of basketball operations for Denver, has been in touch with Ilgauskas' agent Herb Rudoy. Warkentien previously served as Cleveland's director of player personnel.
"He had a great relationship with 'Z' (back in Cleveland)," Rudoy told the Post. "Mark has been very aggressive to convince me to convince 'Z.' "

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Leon Powe Activated and Ready to Go Tonight

By George Thomas Published: February 23, 2010

Tonight’s the night for Leon Powe.
After watching for the better part of the season, he’ll dress for tonight’s game against the New Orleans Hornets. He’s under no grand illusion about his role, but he is looking to contribute.
‘’It’s been a long time coming.  I just want to get out there and help my team win,’’ he said. ‘’I just need to get my rhythm back and timing.  We’ll see what happens tonight.’’
Powe will face an issue that has nothing to do with his surgically repaired left knee – the availability of minutes.  With seven of them on the roster, he could find himself fighting for leftovers.
‘’I’m not worried about nothing.  I believe in my game,’’ he said. ‘’I’ve been on a team with a lot of big men already, we won a championship.’

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Gameblog: Cavs vs. New Orleans Hornets

By George Thomas Published: February 23, 2010

Cavs 105, Hornets 95
A win is a win is a win is a...Cliche but true as the Cavs snapped their three-losing streak in an unimpressive fashion.
But there are still too many problems on the defensive side of the court that the Cavs have to get corrected.  They weren't very physical tonight as the Hornets beat them in transition and scored on too many layups and uncontested jumpers.  Consequently, New Orleans shot 50 percent from the floor, a disturbing trend that dates back before the All-Star break.
Quite simply there are things that need to be fixed before the Cavs can dream of championships.
Game: Cavs (44-14) vs.  New Orleans Hornets (30-27) Broadcast:
TV: FSOhio 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).
Hornets:  David West (F); Peja Stojakovic (F); Emeka Okafor (C); Morris Peterson (G); Darren Collison (G). Injured:
Cavs:  Here's a first - they're completely healthy.
Hornets:  Chris Paul (left knee surgery); Darius Songaila (sprained right ankle); Ike Diogu (left knee surgery).
Officials:  Tom Washington, Pat Fraher, Marat Kogut.
The Cavs may have thought they'd gotten a break with Chris Paul missing time with left knee surgery.  Not so.  Up steps Darren Collison, the rookie from UCLA, who is averaging 17.9 points, 8.2 steals and 3.9 rebounds in Paul's place. Nice.   Oh, forgot to mention the triple-double.
The Hornets come in on a two-game winning streak and it's not a team that has nothing for which to play.  They are just one game out - with a winning record - for the eighth seed in the Western Conference.  Were they playing in the East, they'd own the sixth seed.
The Cavs on the other hand, have lost three in a row and are looking for themselves after bringing in Antawn Jamison to bolster the lineup.  Jamison gets his first start tonight and it's his Quicken Loans Arena debut. After an abysmal performance Friday, he played much better against the Orlando Magic Sunday.  But the Cavs' overall dilemma right now is the inability to defend.
They got back to who they were in the second half Sunday, but it was  too little too late.

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Power Rankings From Around the Internet - Cavs Tumble?

By George Thomas Published: February 23, 2010

Forgive me for not posting this last week, but I was on vacation and when a crappy Internet connection Puerto Rico wouldn't allow me to update the blog regularly, I took it as a sign that I should perhaps actually vacation.  Oh dopey me.
Don't worry about me.  Love the 85 degree weather, the ocean, the mojitos, daiquiris, pina coladas and the tour of the Bacaardi rum distillery.  Based on those attributes alone, I will begin a campaign to make that island territory a state. 
As you might guess, the Cavs tumbled in power rankings in the past week.  A major trade and three consecutive losses will wreak havoc with you like that.
John Hollinger - math guru extraordinaire and all-around formula genius - has the Cavs ranked fourth based on his headache inducing formula.  This shouldn't be a shock to anyone who is reasonable. 
And if you're not, try this dose of reality from Hollinger's compatriot at ESPN, Marc Stein:

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It's Official: Jamison Will Start

By George Thomas Published: February 23, 2010

Cavaliers coach Mike Brown made things official today, naming Antawn Jamison a starter for tonight's game against the New Orleans Hornets.
Jamison, who was acquired in a trade with the Washington Wizards last week, spent his first two games in a Cavs uniform coming off the bench.
But against the Orlando Magic on Sunday, he started the second half and was productive in the process, scoring 19 points and pulling down eight rebounds.
His move into the starting lineup wasn't unexpected. Brown said that he was leaning in that direction Monday and it was probably the correct one.
Jamison looked more comfortable in a starting role and his presence means that Shaquille O'Neal and LeBron James will not see as many double teams.
The Cavs will enter the game on a three-game losing streak.

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Brown: I'm Leaning Toward Starting Jamison

By George Thomas Published: February 22, 2010

Mike Brown said Tuesday that he's leaning toward starting Antawn Jamison, the All-Star power forward recently acquired in a trade with the Washington Wizards.
Jamison had a rather rocky debut Friday night against the Charlotte Bobcats going 0-12 from the court and scoring two points total.  Sunda against the Orlando Magic he fared much better scoring 17 points and grabbing eight rebounds in a loss.  But the primary difference then:  most of his points were picked up in the second half after he began it in the starting lineup.
Brown could always change his mind, but at this point it doesn't seem likely.

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Gameblog: Cavs at Orlando Magic

By George Thomas Published: February 21, 2010

Magic 101, Cavs 96
In a nutshell:
A slow start doomed the Cavs to their third consecutive defeat Sunday afternoon in their nationally televised game.  Offensively, there was little in the way of flow. As they shot just 38 percent in the first quarter.  Things got progressively better heading into the second, but they still found themselves down by six points to end the first half. 
Defensively, they looked just as bad as they'd played the past five games.  The Magic shot 58  percent from the floor in those first two quarters.  Things changed in the third.  The Cavs opened on a 16-4 run.  Played their best defense since way before the All-Star break and looked to be on their way.
What has been made clear after Antawn Jamison's performance starting the second half is that he'll  be starting sooner rather than later.  And that it should be. 
Game: Cavs vs. Orlando Magic
Broadcast: 
TV: ABC (WEWS Chanel 5  locally)
Radio: WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM)
Starters:
Cavs:  LeBron James (F); J.J. Hickson(F); Shaquille O'Neal (C); Anthony Parker (G); Mo Williams (G).
Magic:  Matt Barnes (F); Rashard Lewis (F); Dwight Howard (C); Vince Carter (G); Jameer Nelson (G).
Injured:  Leon Powe (left knee surgery) - OUT.
Officials: Joe DeRosa, Tony Brown and Gary Zielinski.
Put all the trash talk aside (you know, Shaq's "Superman my ass" quote) and the Orlando Magic would be sniffing blood to begin anyway.  The Cavs have lost two in a row and right now resemble the team that started the season, not the one that won 13 games consecutively.  Anyone who thought Mo Williams would be able to come back in and not be rusty isn't being realistic.
Then there's the case of Antawn Jamison.  Mike Brown doesn't know how to use him yet.  You'd suspect that eventually he's going to end up in the starting rotation, which would send J.J. Hickson to the bench.  Friday night was in no way indicative of his ability on the court. Even he confessed to being a bit nervous.
The game will ultimately come down to two good defensive teams duking it out.  The Cavs are ranked third defensively and the Magic fourth.  But here's the dilemma, defense hasn't exactly been the Cavs' forte right now.  They've looked godawful on that side of the court, giving up better than 50 percent shooting in the past five games.   They cannot do that against the Magic or they will get burned.

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Gameblog: Cavaliers at Charlotte Bobcats

By George Thomas Published: February 19, 2010

Charlotte 110, Bobcats 93
In a nutshell:
Crappy defensive play.  There's no other way to put it.  The Bobcats shot a stratospheric 55 percent from the floor on their way to drubbing the Cavs.  Stephen Jackson and his supporting cast were allowed to score at will with the Cavs not playing physically.  Even Boris Diaw enjoy resurrection with 18 points on the night.  That shows up in rebound numbers where Charlotte beat them by 10 overall. 
Now it's quite possible that the Cavs are out of sync for a number of reasons, including a return from the All-Star break which they went into with a 13-game winning streak.  Add to the mix Mo Williams just returning to the lineup and the addition of Antawn Jamison and there's no way that expected to play with the skill seen during that win streak.
But even with that being said, the defensive lapse in the past four of five games are alarming because teams have been shooting 50 percent or better.   Now is not the best time to hit this skid.  They land in Orlando tomorrow.
Game: Cavs vs. Charlotte Bobcats Broadcast:  TV: FSOhio Radio: WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM) Starters: Cavs:  LeBron James (F); J.J. Hickson(F); Shaquille O'Neal (C); Anthony Parker (G); Mo Williams (G). Injured and inactive:
Cavs:  Leon Powe (left knee surgery) - OUT
Bobcats:  Alexis Anjica (torn ligament, right thumb); DeSsagan Diop (right MCL sprain) - OUT.  Tyson Chandler (sore left foot) - GAME TIME DECISION.  Nazr Mohammed (back spasms) - PROBABLE. Officials: Bill Kennedy, Marc Daniels and Kane Fitzgerald.
The Cavs have struggled against the Bobcats this year, owing two of their losses to Larry Brown's pesky Bobcats.  They're at full strength in the starting lineup, the first time since the third week in January, so that should help.
What Cavs fans will want to pay attention to is how Antawn Jamison, the power forward acquired this week, plays.  He will come off the bench tonight, but Mike Brown said that he has little idea what his next move will be regarding the player.
Jamison is a native of North Carolina and will have 40 family members and friends in attendance and he's playing for the best team in basketball. He should be up for this one. 
The Bobcats will be without two of their big men - Tyson Chandler and DeSagana Diop tonight leaving Nazr Mohammed to tend to Shaquille O'Neal.
Theo Ratliff and Tyrus Thomas, trade acquisitions from the Chicago Bulls will play for the Bobcats.

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Gameblog: Cavs vs. Denver Nuggets

By George Thomas Published: February 18, 2010

Nuggets 118, Cavs 116
In a nutshell:
If you're a fan watching this game proved a treat, simply to watch LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony go at one another.  Defense?  We don't need no steenkin' defense. 
James had his 27th career triple-double on the season with 43 points, 13 rebounds and 15 assists.  Anthony threw down 40 points, pulled down six rebounds and threw out seven assists.
But as much fun as it was to watch, this is a game that the Cavs should have won.  No professional basketball team has any business shooting just 58 percent from the free throw line.    There's no excuse for that.
The Cavs got the calls, James went to the line 17 times alone, but didn't hit the shots. 
Tonight provided a look as to why the Cavs traded for Antawn Jamison.  The Nuggets made no bones about harassing LeBron James or Shaquille O"Neal with double teams.  That should infrequent when Jamison takes the court.
You chalk this one up to the Cavs being rusty after the All-Star break.
Each player dominated the fourth quarter for Game: Cavs (43-11) vs. Denver Nuggets (35-18)
Broadcast: 
TV: TNT
Radio: WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM)
Starters:
Cavs:  LeBron James (F); J.J. Hickson(F); Shaquille O'Neal (C); Anthony Parker (G); Daniel Gibson (G).
Nuggets:  Carmelo Anthony (F) Kenyon Martin (F); Nene (C); Arron Afflalo (G); Chauncey Billups (G). Injured: 
Cavs: Leon Powe (left knee surgery) - OUT. Danny Green (right foot blister) - PROBABLE. Officials: Monty McCutcheon, James Capers and Mark Linsay.
Yes, there is a basketball game tonight, despite all the trade hoopla.  Will be interesting to see what the CDAvs do to spell relief for Shaquie O'Neal.  There was little dowubt that he would see more playing time after the All-Star break, but without Z to back him up, that's a guarantee.
Carmelo Anthony didn't play in the first meeting between the two clubs, a Nuggets win.  It was also a game that the Cavs should have won were it not for sloppy late play.
What will be more interesting to see is just how rusty they looking coming away from the All-Star break.

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Mo Williams back tonight

By Jonas Fortune Published: February 18, 2010

A day of good news keeps getting better for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Guard Mo Williams will be in uniform tonight against the Denver Nuggets. He will come off the bench. Daniel Gibson will start.
Williams, who was placed on the inactive list Jan. 21 with a left shoulder sprain, has not played since a win over the Toronto Raptors on Jan. 19.
In 43 games this season he is averaging 16.9 points, 5.1 assists and 3.2 rebounds.
forward Leon Powe (left knee surgery) was not cleared by team doctors to play yet despite practicing Wednesday.
Neither forward Antawn Jamison, who was involved with the pre-game shoot around, nor guard Sebastian Telfair will dress this evening. Telfair is out with a groin injury.

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Jamison: We will "do everything possible" to win title

By Jonas Fortune Published: February 18, 2010

At Antawn Jamison's age (33) he is getting a little nearsighted. He sees the end of his career and knows he doesn't have another "5-10 years left in this body."
He only has one goal.
Win a championship, no matter what it takes.
"I’ve never won a championship whether it was college, high school or so far in my career,'' Jamison said. "I’ve been to all star games. I’ve experienced a lot of things. There is only one thing left for me to achieve. There is only one thing that keeps me going. It is one thing that drives me night in and night out. I’ve said to myself its going to happen before I retire."
Perhaps more importantly, he talked about how the Cavaliers, as an organization, share the same beliefs he does.
"We are going to do everything possible,'' Jamison said. "The thing I like about this team is there are no egos. Nobody is trying to achieve individual numbers. It is all about winning. It’s all about trying to capture something special that this city hasn’t captured in a long time."

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Jamison hates playing in Cleveland...

By Jonas Fortune Published: February 18, 2010

Well at least he did as a Washington Wizard. That's all changed now.
"As a player this was one of the arenas, cities, that I hated the most because they made it tough night in and night out,'' Antawn Jamison said in his introductory press conference Thursday at Quicken Loans Arena.
"(The fans) let you know who they were cheering for and what they thought of you. When you think of home court advantage this is truly a home court advantage."
"This was definitely one of the toughest places to play in. We hated it and dreaded coming here.''
It didn't help that Jamison played for heated-rival Washington, who had a knack for bringing out Cavs fans nasty side.
But the days of the Cavs-Wizards rivalry are in the past and there are no hard feelings going forward.
"You heard rumors possibly about a deal getting done,'' Jamison said.  "I love DC and I loved the past six years, but once you hear a rumor like that, it is an opportunity of a lifetime to play along side LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal."

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Jamison a starter? not so fast

By Jonas Fortune Published: February 18, 2010

Don't expect Antawn Jamison to step right into the Cavaliers starting lineup.
Cavaliers coach Mike Brown isn't even sure yet.
The Cavs are currently 40-8 since current starter JJ Hickson stepped into the starting lineup.  Hickson, a second-year player, has shown some growth since taking over.
He is averaging 7.4 points and 4.4 rebounds and has worn teams out who decide to double team center Shaquille O'Neal.
Yet Hickson has still struggled to develop a perimeter game, which is where Jamison excels.
"a stretch 4,'' Brown said of Jamison. "A guy who can shoot the 3-point shot very well, a guy who has to be guarded; create off the dribble and get to the free throw line, he has mastered the medium game, he doesn't have to get to the rim. (He can) finish from 10-12 feet instead of getting to the rim. the way he rebounds is exciting."
So who does Brown choose?
Jamison, who is averaging 20.5 points and 8.8 rebounds this season and is a two-time all-star? or the up-and-coming Hickson?
"I don't know yet,'' Brown said. "A lot of times you kind of just go off gut feel. For a little bit I was like, 'Let's start (Jamison).' After about five hours of feeling that way, I don't know if I'm going to. Then I thought about it again."

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Cavaliers always have a title on their minds

By Jonas Fortune Published: February 18, 2010

The Cavaliers made a championship caliber move Wednesday night by acquiring Antawn Jamison.
But what happens if the trade backfires and the Cavs are unable to win the championship?
"It stunk three years ago, it stunk two years ago, it stunk last year and it will be awful this year,'' Cleveland Cavaliers General manager Danny Ferry said if his team does not win a title. "We want to be a team that's competing for it every year. We want to always be one of the best two, three, four teams in the league that has a chance."
"We've been able to do that the last few years. It's given us a realization, an appreciation of how hard it is and it's made us hungrier to do it. If we can't do it this year it will be awful."
But it won't be the end of it all. Ferry and the Cavaliers expect to be a championship caliber competitor for years to come.

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Z no slam dunk to return

By Jonas Fortune Published: February 18, 2010

It has been widely speculated that Zydrunas Ilgauskas will return to the Cleveland Cavaliers when and if his contract is bought out by the Washington Wizards.
Well, if he is still a Wizard. Trade deadline rumblings have Z's name being tossed around with a few trade options again (as of 3:15 nothing had happened).
Anyways, a decision to return has little to do with the Cavaliers.  It is now out of their hands.
First, the Wizards have to buyout his $11.5 million contract, which would make him available. Because of a kicker in his contract Ilgauskas earned a rumored $600,000 extra for being traded.
Once he is available, he would be free to sign with any team in the league with the exception of the Cavaliers, who must wait 30 days before they can attempt to resign him.
A buyout must take place before march 1 in order for him to be eligible for the playoffs.
It is hard to imagine Z in any uniform other than the Cavaliers. Its all he knows, but it is up for debate on how he is feeling following the trade.
Does he feel used?
Does he feel like he could have a better opportunity to win a title elsewhere?
Can another team offer more money?
``He’s moving ahead,’’ Ilgauskas’ agent Herb Rudoy said in a phone interview Wednesday. ``He’s disappointed, but he knows it’s a business... He’s heard from several very good NBA teams who want to sign him (should he become available).’’
It looks like everyone will have to wait and see.
"The Cavs took a risk by trading him and hoping he comes back because they have to get through the Lakers to win a championship," Ilgauskas' agent Herb Rudoy said.

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Web reactions to trade positive

By Dan Published: February 18, 2010

Michael Wilbon, Washington Post: When Antawn Jamison drove away from Verizon Center in his Bentley he was leaving basketball purgatory in his rearview mirror. The Wizards, for the foreseeable future, are the minor leagues of pro basketball, right there with the Nets, Clippers, Warriors and Timberwolves
Terry Pluto, Plain Dealer: This is a great trade. How many different ways can I say that, after the Cavs deal for Washington’s Antawn Jamison?
John Bena, Fear the Sword: Antawn Jamison has been a target of Danny Ferry for a long time. He provides the Cavaliers that 'stretch-4' that most experts think they need to win a NBA Championship.
Matt Moore, Fanhouse: After four seasons of toying with package deals of mediocre support, the Cavs pulled the trigger on acquiring a legitimate top-flight player to pair with the King.
Brendan Bowers, Stepien Rules:Danny Ferry's a crook, and if I'm ever in the same room as him I'm leaving my wallet in the car.
Lake Erie Soldiers: My question is now to Mike Brown: How are you going to give all these guys their minutes and keep them all happy and productive?
WaitingForNextYear: Jamison trade FAQs
Video of Jamison leaving Washington:

Finally, a portion of "The Giving Z" from John Krolik of Cavs: The Blog:
Once there was a Z….
And he was drafted by a crappy team.
And every day the team would come
and he would score them baskets in the post
and find his teammates with sharp passes
and they would run the offense through him
and ask him to win games
and even after his feet were hurt
he came back
and he made the All-Star game.
And the team loved the Z
very much.

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Highlights from Cavs vs. Magic

By George Thomas Published: February 12, 2010


Huge game. Huge win. The regular season still has a long way to go, but the game sent a message to the Magic, especially after Orlando released a three-point barrage on two separate occasions that the Cavs survived.

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Gameblog: Cavs vs. Orlando Magic

By George Thomas Published: February 11, 2010

Cavs 115, Magic 106
In a nutshell:
Mike Brown praised an offensive effort when there wasn't a lot of defense.  That's special in itself, but the Cavs won this by getting stops when needed because not a lot of them were forthcoming prior to the fourth quarter.
Shaquille O'Neal was huge in that endeavor shutting Dwight Howard down for  more than half of the fourth.
But that wasn't the best part about this game, the best came afterward as Shaq laid into Dwight Howard and not with much subtlety:

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Zydrunas Ilgauskas Joins the MVPuppets

By George Thomas Published: February 10, 2010


Prior to this commercial I could think of two instances in any form of media that captured the atmosphere in African American barber shops: Eddie Murphy's Coming to America and the movie Barber Shop (sorry, Barber Shop 2 doesn't count). I would love to post a video from Coming to America, but the funniest one has a few F-Bombs and Big Brother might come down on me.
The creators of this commercial do it in 32 seconds. And for anyone who has gotten their head cut in the hood, you should love Z's reference to buying DVDs as he walks on the shop.

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Team USA Assembled; Yes, LeBron's Among Them

By George Thomas Published: February 10, 2010

USA Basketball released its list of members of the men's basketball team today and to no one's surprise, LeBron James and eight other gold medalists were among those on the list.
But that list shouldn't be etched in stone, primarily because of business reasons.  Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and, of course, James can all be free agents this summer and they have priorities.
"Special recognition and acknowledgement needs to go to the nine players returning from our 2008 Olympic Team. They have demonstrated that they are the heart and soul of our program and their commitment to continue to represent their country should not be overlooked,'' team director Jerry Colangelo said.
Ahhh yes, but there is that reality thing that USA Basketball must face.  What NBA player is going to go into those games playing for his country and risk injury without a contract? No sane one.  Business before pleasure.
"Just as was the case in 2006-08, the composition of the USA National Team will be fluid and by that I mean there could be additions to this group.  We've learned to expect that you may have injuries; there may be special circumstances where players can't perform, so you need flexibility with regards to the addition and deletion of players in the program."
James alluded to the fact that he doesn't expect his free agency period to last very long so he can play for Team USA. We'll see what happens.
The entire team:
Returning to the USA National Team for 2010-12 are 2008 Olympic gold medalists Carmelo Anthony (Denver Nuggets); Carlos Boozer (Utah Jazz); Chris Bosh (Toronto Raptors); Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers); Dwight Howard (Orlando Magic); LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers); Chris Paul (New Orleans Hornets); Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat); and Deron Williams (Utah Jazz). Rounding out the list of Olympians on the national squad roster are 2004 Olympic bronze medalists Lamar Odom (Los Angeles Lakers) and Amar'e Stoudemire (Phoenix Suns). Completing the list of National Team players are LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland Trail Blazers); Chauncey Billups (Denver Nuggets); Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder); Rudy Gay (Memphis Grizzlies); Eric Gordon (Los Angeles Clippers); Danny Granger (Indiana Pacers); Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers); Al Jefferson (Minnesota Timberwolves); David Lee (New York Knicks); Brook Lopez (New Jersey Nets); Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves); O.J. Mayo (Memphis Grizzlies); Kendrick Perkins (Boston Celtics); Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls); Gerald Wallace (Charlotte Bobcats) and Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder).

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NBA Power Rankings from Around the Internet

By George Thomas Published: February 9, 2010

Marc Stein must be tired of writing that the Cavaliers are No. 1, which they have been for the past seventh week.  He's actually paying compliments to coach Mike Brown's offense:

When a national writer can't knock Brown's offense, something's amiss. 

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Gameblog: Cavs vs. New Jersey Nets

By George Thomas Published: February 9, 2010

In a nutshell:
The Cavs played languidly in this game.  The usual spark wasn't there, especially on the defensive end of the court.
Being honest, you have to credit the New Jersey Nets with playing them consistently close in their three meetings this year. 
However, they didn't have the defensive intensity that normally comes from them. It's the second time that the team has given up better than 50 percent shooting in two games. 
Simply put: has to improve for game against Orlando Thursday.
Game: Cavs (42-11) vs.  New Jersey Nets (4-47)
Broadcast: 
TV: FSOhio WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM).
Starters:
Cavs:  LeBron James (F); J.J. Hickson(F); Shaquille O'Neal (C); Anthony Parker (G); Daniel Gibson (G).
New Jersey:  Javis Hayes (F); Yi Jianlian (F); Brook Lopez (C); Courtney Lee (G); Kenyon Dooling (G).
Injured:
Cavs:  Delonte West (left ring finger) - QUESTIONABLE.  Leon Powe (left knee surgery); Mo Williams (left shoulder sprain) - OUT.
Nets:  Devin Harris (mild left shoulder strain); Yi Jianlian (sore right shoulder) - QUESTIONABLE.  Javis Hayes (bruised left shin) - PROBABLE.
Officials: Tony Brothers, David Guthrie and Haywoode Workman.
Forget the Nets record.  This year they've played the Cavaliers tough in two games that the Cavs eventually pulled out.   What could possibly make this a rout?  The fact that Devin Harris and Yi Jianlian could miss the game 
Conversely what could make this close or turn into a Cavs loss?  If they for some reason look past the Nets, which is a real possibility.  Don't shake your head; don't laugh.  They almost blew a 23-point lead against the Knicks the other night in echos of the earlier part of the season.

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New York Media Begins to Acknowledge Reality?

By George Thomas Published: February 8, 2010

The New York Daily News' Mike Lupica couldn't do it in a Christmas Day column, but a colleague, Frank Isola, the New York Knicks beat writer for the same paper, wrote about what most New Yorkers are afraid to admit:  their chances of getting LeBron James in free agency may not be that great.

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James on Team USA: Sounds As If He's In. Quick Free Agency Decision?

By George Thomas Published: February 7, 2010

Don’t expect LeBron James to drag out his free agent experience come the summertime. He sounds as if he plans to make that decision soon after the July 1 opening so that he can concentrate on the FIBA World Championship in Turkey this summer.  USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo told AOL Fanhouse that he was confident that James would return to Team USA.
When asked if he was closer to making a decision about his participation James said: ‘’I’ve got a really busy schedule and you guys already know my schedule what’s got to happen this summer,’’ he said. ‘’Once I take care of business I’ll be able to give a better commitment to the team.’’
He has a narrow window to take care of that business. Although Colangelo said that James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, should he participate, wouldn’t have to participate in the Las Vegas minicamp July 22-25, they would most certainly need to be in for the team’s training camp beginning Aug. 10.
‘’I’m looking forward to getting back to that team and being with those guys,’’ James said. ‘’ It’s a really strong team that we have at USA Basketball.’’
The World Championships begin Aug. 28 in Turkey.

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Gameblog: Cavs vs. New York Knicks

By George Thomas Published: February 6, 2010

Post-mortem: Cavs 113, Knicks 106
In a nutshell:  Coach Mike Brown didn't like the way Saturday's game played out - even with a win.  The Cavs didn't play Cleveland basketball.  They outshot the Knicks instead.
They allowed New York to shoot 53 percent from the floor and that lack of defense cost them a 22-point lead, making the game too close for comfort.
''I didn't know if we would make shots or miss shots, but nobody was stopping anybody in the first half. We didn't get the lead because we were making stops. We got the lead because 'Bron had a great first quarter and we made shots. We shot 66 percent from the field and scored 74 points.' Brown said.
James' efforts entertained, but Brown said he had a sneaking suspicion that something could go wrong.
''No, it wasn't my type of half,'' he said of the first half. '' It was fun to watch because LeBron went crazy knocking shots down. It's always good to see from a fan's standpoint or the media standpoint....But, no that's not my kind of half. Neither half was. But sometimes you live with it.''
That about sums it up.  Fun to watch, but don't let it happen too often, Brown seee saying.
Game: Cavs (40-11) vs. New York Knicks (19-30) Broadcast: 
TV: FSOhio Radio: WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM)
Starters:
Cavs:  LeBron James (F); J.J. Hickson(F); Shaquille O'Neal (C); Anthony Parker (G); Daniel Gibson (G).
Knicks:  Danilo Gallinari (F); Jared Jeffries (F); David Lee (C); Wilson Chandler (G); Nate Robinson (G).
Injured: 
Cavs:  Leon Powe (left knee surgery), Delonte West (left ring finger); Mo Williams (left shoulder sprain) - OUT. 
Knicks:  Eddie Curry (left knee surgery) - OUT.
Officials: Bennett Salvatore, Bennie Adams, Phil Robinson.
Knicks are 1-4 in their last five games including a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks Friday night.
Shaquille O'Neal will face a stiff challenge against David Lee, who is averaging 19.9 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. Cavs are on a defensive tear of late holding opponents to under 90 points in the past four games.  The Knicks average 101 per game.
It's no secret that Mike D'Antoni likes running the floor, and the Cavs have the horses to keep up.  In the only meeting between these two teams this year, the Cavs beat the Knicks 100-91.  It wasn't that close.

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J.J. Hickson posterizes Dwayne Wade

By Dan Published: February 5, 2010

From last night's game:

One more after the jump.

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Gameblog: Cavs vs. Miami Heat

By George Thomas Published: February 4, 2010

Cavs 102, Heat 86.
In a nutshell:
Here's where everyone should ask themselves "Is there nothing LeBron James can't do on the basketball court?"
Apparently the answer is no.  The Cavs were without all three of their point guards as Daniel Gibson missed the first half to be with his fiancee who had been admitted to the hospital.  Gibson is engaged to R&B singer Keyshia Cole and they are expecting a child.
James played the first half point and ran the team magnificently, scoring 19 points in the process and getting his teammates involved.  By the end of the first half, eight Cavs had scored in the game.
But playing the point also allowed him to drive the ball more and it showed in the stat line he went to the foul line a total of 21 times.  He sank 17 of those free throw shots. 
Once Gibson entered the game in second half, James was free to play more like observers  are used to seeing. 
Gibson ran his streak of scoring into double figures to seven and Shaquille O'Neal continued to play aggressively around the basket.
Game: Cavs (40-11) vs. Miami Heat (24-26)
Broadcast: 
TV: TNT Radio: WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM)
Starters:
Cavs:  LeBron James (F); J.J. Hickson(F); Shaquille O'Neal (C); Anthony Parker (G); Daniel Gibson (G).
Heat:  Quentin Richardson (F); Michael Beasley (F); Jermaine O'Neal (C); Dwyane Wade (G); Rafer Alston (G).
Injured:
Cavs:  Leon Powe (left knee surgery), Delonte West (left ring finger), Mo Williams (sprained left shoulder) - OUT.
Heat:  Mario Chalmers (sprained left thumb).
Officials: Bob Delaney, Brian Forte, Ed Malloy.
The  last game was a squeaker with the Cavs pulling the game out courtesy of a steal by LeBron James.  The Cavs looked and played a bit sluggishly from the outset, trailing for most of the game.   Daniel Gibson, Anderson Varejao  and Shaquille O'Neal played well, but the rest of the team struggled.
The highlight of course, was the duel on both sides of the court between Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.  In each of the two meetings  between the teams, both players have scored in the 30s.  If James has any rivalry - friendly or otherwise - with anyone in the NBA, it's with Wade.  Given those past two games, there's little reason to expect otherwise tonight.
Once again, Gibson's and O'Neal's play will be integral to a Cavs win as they go for their 10th win in a row - their first double-digit win streak of the year.

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Dear LeBron, Please Help Clean Up My Mess, Love Isiah

By George Thomas Published: February 4, 2010

Just when the New York Knicks thought they were done with Isiah Thomas - the former NBA great has been living in college basketball purgatory coaching Florida International - the former New York Knicks guru had to voice his opinion on LeBron James' potential free agency.
For the record, Zeke, as he was known during his plaing days, is all for James migrating to the Big Apple once he can become a free agent.   Then perhaps James can turn the Knicks around and make the starving fans of New York forget how Thomas single handedly turned it into the Washington Generals of the NBA.
Thankfully, several New York writers understand the importance of his endorsement.
From Josh Alper of NBC New York:

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LeBron James chosen Player of the Month for January

By George Thomas Published: February 3, 2010

LeBron James is three-for-three in the NBA season.
He's won the January Eastern Conference Player of the Month for the third consecutive time this season and fifth consecutive time dating back to last season.
James' production in the month of January with Mo Williams and Delonte West injured made it difficult to not choose him.
He led the Cavs to a league best 12-3 record for the month averaging 30.7 points (first for the month) on 50 percent shooting, 7.3 rebounds and 8.5 (second) assists per game.  He scored 20 or more points in 14-of-15 games this season.  James also recorded 1.6 steals per game, the fifth best in the league for January.
Some James highlights:

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More on LeBron's More Than a Game

By George Thomas Published: February 2, 2010

More Than a Game, the documentary about LeBron James and the Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary boys basketball team and their two years in the spotlight, hit video store shelves this week and Time Warner Cable will air a special on cable channel 23, the NEON Network, every Tuesday and Thursday in February at 7:30 p.m. featuring Cleveland Plain Dealer Cavs beat writer Brian Windhorst, St. Vincent-St. Mary coach Dru Joyce II and writer-director Kristopher Belman.  The show, which is hosted by Les Levine, will also be available on Local on Demand channel 501 under the ''sports' tab.

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Gameblog: Cavs vs. Memphis Grizzlies

By George Thomas Published: February 2, 2010

Cavs 105, Grizzlies 89
In a nutshell:
Coach Mike Brown said his team came in keenly aware of what the Grizzlies inflicted upon them in their loss t them earlier in the season.
That was 50 points on the interior.  That didn't come close to happening tonight as the Cavs beat the Grizzlies in the paint 64-34 in a game they dominated from start to finish.  After going ahead 28-16 in the first quarter they didn't have to look back and they never trailed in the game.
The Cavs featured balanced offense, another sparkling performance by Shaquille O'Neal (13 points, 13 rebounds) and another double-digit effort from Daniel Gibson with 16 points.
But where a heaping portion of credit belongs is with Anderson Varejao and, to a lesser degree, J.J. Hickson who handcuffed All-Star Zach Randolph, holding him to just eight points and four rebounds.
Game: Cavs (39-11) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (26-22) Broadcast:  TV: FSOhio WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM) Starters:
Cavs:  LeBron James (F); J.J. Hickson (F); Zydrunas Ilgauskas (C); Anthony Parker (G); Daniel Gibson(G).
Grizzlies: Rudy Gay (F), Zach Randolph (F); Marc Gasol (C); O.J. Mayo (G); Mike Conley (G)
Injured-inactive:
Cavs:  Danny Green (soreness) - GAME TIME DECISION; Mo Williams (left shoulder sprain), Leon Powe  (left knee surgery) and Delonte West (fractured finger) - OUT.
Grizzlies:  Sam Young, Darrell Arthur.
Officials:
Doormats no longer, the Grizzlies are coming off a victory over the Lakers last night.  They also beat the Cavs on a buzzer beater when Mike Conley beat Shaquille O'Neal on a pick-and-roll, a play that coach Mike Brown said that he would defend the same way if given the opportunity.  We'll see if it happens that way tonight.
Much of the Grizzlies' strength lies in the frontcourt with Zach Randolph and Rudy Gay who together average more than 40 points per game and close to 18 rebounds.  Memphis is the only team with two players averaging 20 points per game.   As a team, they average 52 points in the paint per game, having scored more than 50 points on the interior more than 30 times this season.  That will test the Cavs' interior defense which averages a league-low 34.6 po0ints in the paint.  In short: something has to give.

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Shooting Down One Possible Trade Partner - The Pacers.

By George Thomas Published: February 2, 2010

The Pacers have work to do if they expect to be able to trade forward Troy Murphy before the Feb. 18 deadline.
Apparently they wanted everything including the kitchen sink.

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NBA Power Rankings From Around the 'Net

By George Thomas Published: February 1, 2010

The Cavaliers are on an eight-game win streak, had a 12-3 January and a lot of it came without their top two guards - Mo Williams and Delonte West.
A round up of NBA power rankings reflect that.
First from ESPN's Marc Stein, who has the Cavs at his top spot for a sixth consecutive week:

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