Cavaliers Persevere for Tait, Win 100-93

One game left at the Q, against Washington on Wednesday night

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Cavaliers Win A 'Testy' Game In Detroit, Move Ahead Of Minnesota In Wins

The Cavaliers are showing that they have pride and that playing out the string does not mean that a team just goes through the motions at the end of a season.

After falling behind by ten points in Detroit last night after the first quarter, Cleveland could have just mailed it in, but the Cavs fought back to get within one at the half, took a nice lead by the end of the third quarter and held off the Pistons 110-101, in a contest marred by an altercation between the Pistons' Charlie Villanueva and Cleveland's Ryan Hollins in the fourth quarter that had Villanueva scurrying about a loading dock trying to make his way to the Cavs' locker room and police forestalling him.

Daniel Gibson had an unusual five-point play as part of a 16-3 run spanning the third and fourth periods to put Cleveland in control. Gibson sank a three, was fouled and made the free throw, and then added a technical-foul free throw.

Six Cavaliers scored in double figures, and four of those six did their damage off the bench. J.J. Hickson had 20 and Alonzo Gee 16 as starters, while Gibson, Ramon Sessions and Christian Eyenga combined for 49 off the pines.

Hollins scored twelve before being ejected along with Villanueva, in a confrontation which seemed to stem from something that Hollins said to Villanueva. The two tangled with 5:47 left, and after being separated, Villanueva had to be restrained by Rodney Stuckey and security as well as by a Pistons' assistant. After Villanueva went to the Detroit locker room, he later sprinted out and headed for the Cleveland digs, where he was stopped on a loading dock by the police.

According to the story on Yahoo! Sports, Villanueva made the following statement after things had calmed down:

"You’ve got to be careful with the quiet ones, right?" Villanueva said after the game. "At the end of the day, that’s something that happened on the court. It should stay on the court. I overreacted. He said some things that kind of got me upset."

With the win, the Cavaliers passed the Minnesota Timberwolves in wins with 18, with each team having one game left. The Cavaliers entertain Washington on Wednesday while Minnesota -- which lost last night in overtime at Phoenix -- plays their final game tomorrow against Houston at home.

It is looking good -- or bad -- for the Cavs to not be the first team in history to go from first-to-worst, or tied for worst. I guess that some might say that winning when you have a chance for the most shots in the lottery is a bad thing, but I say that pride goes further and says more about the character of a team that has no real shot than folding and hoping for a lucky draw.


The Cavs Stop There: Cleveland Visits Milwaukee Bucks Tonight

With nothing on the line for either team but to get through the remainder of the season without anyone getting injured, the Cleveland Cavaliers will face the Milwaukee Bucks this evening at 8:30 at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee.

The Bucks had outside playoff aspirations until recently, but those hopes have now disappeared for Milwaukee, which is 32-47 on the season and is locked into third place in the Central Division.

Milwaukee gained a signature win on Wednesday when they went into Miami and knocked off the Heat 90-85, ending Miami’s hopes for the top seed in the East in the process. After the big win, the Bucks went to Detroit and were promptly knocked off by the Pistons to the tune of 110-100 last night.

The Cavs, on the other hand, had a two-game winning streak ended last night at the Q when they were knocked off by the Chicago Bulls, 93-82, in a game which clinched the best record in the conference for Chicago.

Milwaukee will be without center Andrew Bogut for tonight’s contest. Bogut has been shut down for the rest of the season and will have arthroscopic surgery on the elbow that was first hurt in a frightening injury at the end of last season.

Without Bogut, the Bucks are 4-10 this season.

Milwaukee has taken two of the three previous meetings between the two clubs this season, one of which was a 20-point loss a month ago today at the Bradley Center.

Milwaukee scores 91.4 and gives up 92.5 PPG, while Cleveland tallies 95.1 and surrenders 104.6 per contest.

After tonight’s game, the Cavaliers travel to the Motor City and face the Pistons on Monday night before closing out the season at home against Washington on Wednesday.


Chicago Bulls Clinch Top Spot In East With Win Over Cavaliers

On a night when the Cleveland Cavaliers kept the likely 2011 NBA MVP in check, it was an old ‘friend’ that led the Chicago Bulls to a 93-82 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers down at Quicken Loans Arena. Carlos Boozer scored 24 points to go along with 11 rebounds to lead the Bulls who clinched the top-spot in the Eastern Conference with the win.

Ronnie Brewer had 12 points, while Derrick Rose tallied 11 points and eight assists in Chicago’s sixth straight win. It’s the first time they’ve captured bragging rights in the East since the 1997-98 season, when the Michael Jordan- led Bulls won their third straight and sixth NBA title in eight years.

Luol Deng had 10 points, nine rebounds and six assists for the Bulls, who will play Indiana in the first round of the playoffs. The Bulls beat Indiana in seven games in the East finals in 1998.

J.J. Hickson ended with 22 points and 15 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who had won their previous two games. Cleveland was swept in four games by the Bulls this season. Chicago won all the games in the season series from Cleveland for the first time since winning all four meetings in the 1995-96 campaign.

Boozer had eight points in the final quarter on 4-of-5 shooting. The rest of the team went 3-for-14 in the period, but the Bulls still maintained a double- digit lead most of the quarter.

A jumper from Brewer expanded the margin to 87-71 with 4 1/2 minutes left but Cleveland came back with a 9-2 burst, capped by a Daniel Gibson three-pointer with 2:21 left. The rally came too late for the Cavs.

Chicago scored 10 in a row during one stretch of the opening quarter for a 24-14 lead. The visitors were up, 29-26, after 12 minutes.

The Bulls led by as many as 14 in the second and carried a 54-46 advantage into the half. It was 78-63 going to the fourth.


Best Record In The Eastern Conference Is The Prize If Bulls Beat The Cavaliers Tonight

Remember when?

For the past two seasons, it was the Cavaliers who were playing in early April with the intent of locking up the home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. And for two years running, they achieved their goal.

The Chicago Bulls may not achieve all that Cleveland did and end up with the NBA’s best record for 2010-11 — San Antonio in the West is a game-and-a-half up on the Bulls for that prize — but if Chicago wins tonight, or if Boston loses at home to Washington, the Bulls will clinch the Eastern Conference regular season title.

At present Chicago’s record is 58-20, while the Celtics and the Miami Heat are 54-24. But Miami has already been eliminated for any chance at the top seed due to tiebreakers, so the whole ball of wax — or rather, ball of basket — is right there for the Bulls to grab if they can in Cleveland.

Ironic, isn’t it? The team that the Cavaliers knocked out of the playoffs last year might well be celebrating at the Q less than a year later.

The stakes for the Cavs are not high, as any hopes for the postseason were left behind weeks ago, but there is the matter of pride, of not letting an opponent achieve something on your home court…and there is momentum, making something positive of the end of a losing season.

With victories in their last two games, against Charlotte (a crushing blow to the Bobcats, who have now been eliminated) and against Toronto, the goal for Cleveland is three wins in a row — an achievement that has happened only once this season, and that way back in November.

The Bulls are led in scoring by Derrick Rose, who is lighting it up for 25.1 PPG, and in rebounding by Joakim Noah, with 10.8 per contest. Rose also leads in assists with 7.9 per game, making him a solid MVP candidate in 2011.

Cleveland is led in scoring by Antawn Jamison, at 18 a game, although Jamison is long since done for the year with a broken finger. J.J. Hickson leads in boards with 8.5, and Ramon Sessions in assists with 5.2 per tilt.

Tonight’s game is the second-last at the Q this season. The Cavaliers’ next two contests are on the road, at Milwaukee and Detroit, before the home schedule — and the season, for Cleveland — ends next Wednesday against the Washington Wizards.


Cavs Make The Big Plays Down The Stretch, Move A Half-Game Ahead Of Minnesota

J.J. Hickson scored 28 points on his way to a double-double, Baron Davis made three big shots late when the Raptors got close, and Anthony Parker put a dagger in his former team, as the Cavaliers defeated the Toronto Raptors last night 104-96, the Cavaliers’ second straight victory.

With the win, Cleveland equaled the victory total of the Minnesota Timberwolves, and actually moved ahead of Minnesota by a half-game in the competition for the NBA’s worst record. The T-wolves lost at home to Phoenix for their 62nd loss, while the Cavs have 61.

As was the formula in their win over Charlotte on Tuesday, the Cavaliers went to the locker room with a big lead — this time at 60-40 — and had to hold the opponent off late when things got a little dicey.

But the Cavaliers had it in them, thanks to Davis and Parker.

After Toronto pulled to within five with eight minutes to go, Davis hit three jumpers and Parker hit a three to restore order and basically put the game out of reach.

Hickson finished with 10 rebounds to go with his 28 points, while Davis tallied 19. Ramon Sessions had 15, Ryan Hollins 14 and Alonzo Gee 10 for the Cavs, who shot 46% from the field for the game.

Toronto, not much better than Cleveland at 21-57 with four games to go and in second-last place in the East, were led by Jerryd Bayless, who scored 28 off the bench.

The Cavs benefited from the absence of leading-scorer Andrea Bargnani from the Raptors’ lineup, but at this stage of the season with both teams playing out the string anyway, a win is a win.

After all, both teams have dealt with missing pieces of their puzzles since day one of this season.

The Cavaliers return home tomorrow night to take on the team with the best record in the NBA — the Chicago Bulls.


Cavaliers Go North Of The Border To Take On Toronto Raptors

Fresh off of their victory last night at home against the Charlotte Bobcats, the Cavaliers take their show on the road tonight when they play the Toronto Raptors at 7 pm.

Cleveland garnered their 16th win of the season with the 99-89 triumph, eclipsing their low-water mark for wins of fifteen, set in their inaugural season of 1970-71 and matched one other time.

Toronto comes in having lost seven of ten and with a record of 21-56. The Raptors are last in the Atlantic Division, three games behind New Jersey, and sit ahead of only the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference.

Toronto, another victim in the exodus of players to Miami when the Raptors lost Chris Bosh to South Beach, are led in scoring by Andrea Bargnani at 21.4 PPG. The Raptors score 99.6 and surrender 105.9 per game, as opposed to Cleveland, which scores 95.2 and gives up 104.9 per contest.

Toronto has taken the first two games of the 2010-11 season series from the Cavaliers. The Raptors, in fact, handed the Cavs their first loss of the season, two days after Cleveland’s opening win over the Boston Celtics. This will be the teams’ last meeting of the season.


Cavs Vs. Bobcats Score: Cavaliers Greet Former Coach Paul Silas With Crushing Loss 99-89

The playoff hopes of the Charlotte Bobcats are on life support. The Cleveland Cavaliers may have just pulled the plug. Ignited by a huge first quarter that saw the Cavaliers lead 34-16 after 12 minutes, Cleveland beat the short-handed Bobcats 99-89 at Quicken Loans Arena, sending the home crowd to the exits happy – except for the fact they narrowly missed a free chalupa.

Charlotte scored the first basket of the game and enjoyed a 2-0 lead. It was the only time all night the Bobcats would have the lead as Cleveland jumped out to an 18 point lead after the first quarter. The lead ballooned to 21 in the 2nd quarter before the Cavaliers settled for a 55-38 halftime lead.

“We just went through the motions in the first half,” Bobcats coach Paul Silas said. “I’m not gonna have that. We’re not gonna do that.”

J.J. Hickson led the Cavaliers with 16 points and 19 rebounds while Ramon Sessions added 18 off the bench in leading Cleveland to their 16th win of the season.

Charlotte would make a run, outscoring the Cavaliers 28-19 in the third quarter to cut the lead to 74-66 heading into the final 12 minutes. The Cavaliers didn’t score for nearly 6 minutes to start the 2nd half allowing the Bobcats to get back into the game. The Cavaliers righted themselves, however, and built the lead back to 14 early in the 4th quarter.

“Obviously, this was a pretty good win for us,” Cleveland coach Byron Scott said. “I thought the guys really took up the challenge. We had a lot of guys play really well. I told them for 39 (minutes) and some change, we played very, very good basketball.”

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