Found March 18, 2012 on Fox Sports Ohio:
CLEVELAND -- Someday, the Cavaliers will win games like these. Theyll come out with energy, play some strong defense, hit the open shot and beat a good team at home. But theyre not there yet. Not with two rookies in the starting lineup. Not with two veterans in the final year of their contract. Not with a rotation that suddenly looks to only go about eight deep. Case in point: The Hawks 103-87 victory over the Cavs on Sunday at The Q. Thats not a shot at first-year men Kyrie Irving or Tristan Thompson, or established men Anthony Parker and Antawn Jamison -- or anyone anywhere who wears a Cavs uniform. Its just reality. Its just what we are likely to see more of from Clevelands pro basketball team this season. And when you think about it, it makes sense. The Cavs point guard and biggest threat is 19 years old. Their new starting center is 21, and really more suited to play power forward. Their backup point guard is no longer Ramon Sessions, who was traded to the Lakers last week. Instead, the Cavs will try to get it done by committee. That makes them a mostly young, vulnerable team. As of today, anyway. On the bright side, theyre still almost certain to steal a few games in which nobody gives them a chance. Sort of like their wins at Boston, at Denver and at Oklahoma City. That makes them a team worth following. But again, there are likely to be plenty more games like Sunday, when the Hawks pounced on the Cavs early and pretty much had their way the rest of the afternoon. They sort of came out and punched us in the mouth, and we never really responded to that, was how Cavs coach Byron Scott described it. There were definitely some bright spots. Not many, but some. One was the play of Alonzo Gee, who is beginning to look more and more like the teams Small Forward of The Future. Gee finished with 20 points on 9-of-16 shooting, including his usual dose of nasty dunks. Irving was also hot, scoring 19 points, passing for a game-high 10 assists and even blocking a team-high two shots. That makes you think the Cavs are on the right path. But this is clearly a long road, especially when it comes to defending. The Cavs just dont have the manpower to do it well for sustained stretches. At one point, the Hawks were shooting 60 percent (and finished at 51). They started by making five of their first seven 3-pointers. And All-Star guard Joe Johnson tallied 28 points. Thats a pretty good basketball team, Scott said, and he speaks the truth. The Hawks (26-19) have had mostly their same unit in place for about five years now. They are battling for home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Theyre balanced, deep and athletic. Meanwhile, the Cavs (16-26) seem to fall further from the playoff race by the day. Theyre playing with one eye on the future, hoping to develop good habits with good people as they change and grow. As badly as they want it, the result is unlikely to be the postseason. Thats OK. Theyre not ready for teams like the Hawks anyway. Not Sunday. Not this year. Maybe soon, though. Aside from the occasional surprising win, right now, thats about the best for which Cavs fans can hope. Follow Sam Amico on Twitter @SamAmicoFSO
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Cavs Officially Waive Kapono, Sign Harris

The Cleveland Cavaliers have officially signed guard Manny Harris for the remainder of the 2011-12 season, Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant announced today. Per league and team policy, terms of the contract were not announced. Additionally, the Cavaliers have waived forward Jason Kapono. Harris most recently completed a second 10-day contract with the Cavaliers on March 11th...

Cavs begin starting Tristan Thompson

With 24 games left, the Cavaliers felt it was time to turn center Tristan Thompson loose. He made his first NBA start against the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday. He had limited impact, with seven points and six rebounds in 35 minutes in the Cavs' 103-87 loss to the Hawks. Thompson became the second rookie in their starting lineup, along with G Kyrie Irving. The 6-foot-9, 227-pound...

Cavs release Kapono, sign Manny Harris

Jason Kapono's second stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers was brief. The team waived the veteran forward Saturday, two days after he was acquired from the Los Angeles Lakers. Kapono, who previously played for the Cavs in 2004, came over in the deal that sent Ramon Sessions and Christian Eyenga to the Lakers for Luke Walton and a first-round draft pick. Kapono is now a free agent...

Box Score: Cavaliers 105, Nets 100

It was the night of the rookies for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Tristan Thompson scored a career high 27 points and Kyrie Irving had 26 points (14 of them in the 4th quarter) as the Cavaliers came away with a nice win in New Jersey. The Cavaliers got off to a hot start as Tristan Thompson was active in the post and was punishing the Brook Lopez-less Nets with dunk after dunk. The Cavs...

Twitter Q+A's with Tristan Thompson, Luke Walton and the Cavaliers Social Media Community

On Sunday I used my credentialed access to the Cavs / Hawks game in order to ask a couple players a few of the questions that I received from the Cleveland Cavaliers Twittersphere leading up to the game, and I appreciate everybody who tweeted questions at me for that. I ended up asking Tristan Thompson two of the questions that I received before the game, and Luke Walton a third...

Front and Center: Bring Back Andy or Roll With Tristan?

Tristan Thompson, the starting center for your Cleveland Cavaliers. Certainly, the original decision was essentially a product of circumstance colliding full speed with default.  Once Anderson Varejao is cleared to play, however, should the Cavaliers continue to deploy the somewhat undersized 21-year old athlete? Admittedly frustrated by the complete lack of opportunism in his...

Thompson has career-high 27 to lead Cavs

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- Tristan Thompson scored a career-high 27 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and gave Cleveland the lead with a tip-in with 1:11 to play Monday night, leading the Cavaliers to a 105-100 victory over the New Jersey Nets. Fellow rookie Kyrie Irving added 26 points, seven assists and five rebounds as the Cavaliers snapped a three-game losing streak and sent the Nets to...

NBA report: Walton seeks new shot with Cavs

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Luke Walton leaned against a wall, holding a basketball and wearing a wide smile. He looked ready to play. Walton is a 31-year old small forward and Laker for life -- until Thursday, when the Lakers shipped him to the Cavaliers as part of the Ramon Sessions trade. But Walton seemed OK with that, as former Cavs coach Mike Brown really found no use for him...

Cavaliers waive F Kopono

The Cleveland Cavaliers waived forward Jason Kopono Saturday.Kopono was acquired two days ago from the Los Angeles Lakers as part of the deal that sent Ramon Sessions and Christian Eyenga to the Lakers for Luke Walton and a first-round draft pick.The two-time NBA Three-Point Shootout champion averaged two points per game in limited minutes for the Lakers this season.

Hawks at Cavs: Tweet me your questions and I'll ask them

The Cleveland Cavaliers play host to the Atlanta Hawks today at 3pm ET as they try to get back into the win column. Tristan Thompson will start at the 5 for this one according to my man Fred McLeod yesterday, Jason Kapono is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier again, and Manny Harris is back for good to close out the season. Donald Sloan is also the newest member of the Cavaliers now...

Short-handed Hawks run past Cavaliers

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Joe Johnson scored 28 points and the short-handed Atlanta Hawks rolled to a 103-87 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday. Atlanta had only 10 players available, but took an early lead that it never relinquished. The Hawks built a 19-point lead midway through the third quarter and answered Cleveland's only run late in the period to win going away. Alonzo...

Cavaliers can't rebound from Hawks' early lead

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Joe Johnson scored 28 points and the short-handed Atlanta Hawks rolled to a 103-87 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday. Atlanta had only 10 players available, but took an early lead that it never relinquished. The Hawks built a 19-point lead midway through the third quarter and answered Cleveland's only run late in the period to win going away. Alonzo...

Cavaliers-Nets Preview

Kyrie Irving is returning to the state where he starred in high school. Deron Williams will be waiting for him. A former New Jersey high school standout, Irving will try to help his Cleveland Cavaliers end a three-game slide Monday night against Williams and the New Jersey Nets. Irving leads all rookies with 18.6 points per game as he plays his first professional game in the Garden...
NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.