Mavericks’ Mbenga suspended for foul on James

Dallas Mavericks center D.J. Mbenga has been penalized one game without pay for committing a flagrant-2 foul on LeBron James.

With 7:35 remaining in the Mavericks’ 107-94 loss at Cleveland, Mbenga knocked James down with a hard foul. A flagrant-1 foul was called but upgraded by the league to a flagrant-2.

Mbenga will serve his suspension Friday night against the Orlando Magic.

Hughes to practice with the team today

Larry Hughes is expected to take part in a practice today for the first time since December, Brian Windhorst from the Akron Beacon Journal reported. Doctors cleared him Tuesday to resume full workouts with his repaired right middle finger. Hughes could return to games in a week or so.

“Everything is healed, it is a matter of keeping the swelling down and getting ready to play,” Hughes said. “I was cleared to do whatever my body can do, and it feels good.”

Hughes has missed 43 games with the injury; the Cavs have gone 24-19 without him.

Letter from Danny Ferry

To celebrate the Cavaliers playoff birth, Danny Ferry sent a letter to all the Cavaliers fans. If you are not a Cavaliers insider and didn’t receive the letter then here it is:

“Dear Cavaliers Partner,

I thought now would be a great time to share some thoughts with you about the Cavaliers and the position we are in. Clinching a playoff birth is certainly a step we can all be happy in taking. While it is an important, positive step forward, it is only the first step and one which we expect to take many times again. More appropriately, it should serve as a reminder of where we ultimately are headed. We can’t and won’t be satisfied with simply making the playoffs. Our goals and your expectations are, and should be, much higher.

Dan Gilbert and our ownership team are committed to developing a championship-caliber culture with the Cavaliers franchise. Hopefully, you can sense this by now. Dan has been completely supportive in all the right ways. Investments in our players, investments in our facilities and investments in the community with new jobs. Most importantly though, Dan is passionate about winning championships. Our goal will be nothing short of that.

The foundation has been set this season. LeBron continues to improve and has elevated his game to an MVP level. Zydrunas continues to be one of the premier centers in the league. Larry is just starting what we think will be a long, successful career at the core or our championship aspirations. We have grown as a team and continue to develop on the court and off. From Dan Gilbert to myself and our basketball front office to Mike Brown and our coaching staff to our veteran players to our younger guys, we believe we are well positioned for the future.

I believe it is also important to note what LeBron is doing for OUR team and for his hometown fans and community. This is what helps punctuate the position we are now in. Dating back to his high school years and then the 2003 NBA Draft Lottery, LeBron has raised the spirit of this community in ways that are remarkable. Yes, he is a game changer on the court every night, but he has proven himself to be an all-star off the court as well with numerous points of giving in our community. LeBron is not just playing a big role in changing the way people think about the Cavaliers. He is changing the way people think about Cleveland and all of northeast Ohio in a way that no one else can.

There continues to be a lot of hard work ahead of us, but we believe we’re entering an era where it is truly possible to dream big. This year’s team and those to follow are going to need your energy in the arena every night to help make the championship a reality. It does make a difference. We’ll do everything we can to do our part.

Thanks for your continued support of OUR team.

Most sincerely,

Danny Ferry
General Manager
Cleveland Cavaliers”

Hughes’ recovery on schedule

Cavaliers guard Larry Hughes’ fractured right long finger was examined today in Baltimore, Maryland by Dr. Thomas Graham, chief of the Curtis National Hand Center and Dr. Richard Parker, Cavaliers Head Team Physician. The examination confirmed the healing process is still taking place as expected and desired.

Larry has also been cleared to gradually resume basketball related activities (shooting, dribbling, passing, catching, etc.) immediately. He has not yet been cleared to resume regular practice. He will be monitored daily and his status will be updated as appropriate. The recovery timeline issued on February 14th (Out 8 to 10 weeks) is still in place.

Cavaliers New Training Facility

The Cavs plan to build a new training facility in the suburbs. They’re relocating from the “Q” and focusing on a new site in Independence. It’s off Brecksville Road, north of Rockside.
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Independence Mayor Fred Ramos announced the deal. The cities will split players’ income tax 50/50. It could have been a much bigger hit on Cleveland. The team says it wanted a more modern, secluded place.

“It’s very private, very up to date and state of the art,” said Quicken Loans Arena CEO Mark Strones. “It’s very convenient to Downtown Cleveland and to the airport. It’s a site that’s accessible and available to the players.” The Cavs have yet to buy the land in question and hope to start construction within a year.

LeBron James named player of the week

LeBron James was named today as the NBA’s Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played Monday, March 20 through Sunday, March 26.

James won the award for the second consecutive week after leading Cleveland to a perfect 3-0 record. James averaged a league-high 36.3 points during the week to go along with 8.0 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game. He hit the game-winning shot with 0.9 seconds remaining vs. Charlotte on March 22 to give Cleveland a 120-118 win in overtime. In that game, James posted his fifth triple-double of the season with 37 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists becoming the first player to put up at least those numbers in a game since Hakeem Olajuwon on Dec. 1, 1994. He scored 36 points (including a season-high 19 points in the fourth quarter) against Boston on Friday night as Cleveland posted a 94-82 win. At Houston on Sunday, James scored 11 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter in a come-from-behind overtime win at Houston.

It marks the fourth time this season and the seventh time in his career that James has won the award. He joins Gilbert Arenas and Kobe Bryant as the only players to win the award in consecutive weeks this season. James and Bryant are the only players in the NBA to win the Player of the Week Award four times this season. James was also named the NBA’s Eastern Conference Player of the Month in November 2005.

Hughes Progressing

Larry Hughes’ return to action is near. He could return within 2 weeks. He’s no longer in a cast and he’s no longer wearing a brace. Hughes has started taking short jumpers and ball-handling drills.
“I’m feeling good right now,” Hughes said. “Everything is feeling good. As soon as I get cleared I’ll be ready to go.” Hughes has been out of action since the end of December and he’s more than ready to play. Before the injury, Hughes was averaging 16.2 points per game.
Flip Murray, Hughes replacement since being acquired from Seattle has played in 14 games for the Cavaliers, starting 12 of them and has averaged 13.9 points per game. Mike Brown will once again have to make some adjustments and rotation decisions when Larry returns.