High School Play

James and Snow will be keeping an eye on their high schools this weekend in the state basketball championships.
James, of course, led St. Vincent-St. Mary to three state titles in his four years there. The Irish play in the Division II state semifinals Friday in Columbus.
“That’s tradition, that’s the only place we know we’re going to play very well,” James said. “I’m excited for them. I’m happy they got there. That shows it doesn’t stop just because I left.”
Snow’s Canton McKinley Bulldogs have advanced to the Division I state semifinals Friday. He and James have been able to attend some of their alma mater’s games this season.
“I’m happy for those kids,” Snow said. “Let those kids know if they work as hard as they can and do what they’re asked to, they’ll give

In the Huddle

Then, moments after the win, James called his teammates together for a meeting near the bench. He made ABC, who was waiting to do a live interview, wait, and he called Zydrunas Ilgauskas over as he was about to do an interview for ESPN Radio. He spoke to the team for a few moments before the huddle broke.
“I wanted to let them know this was a big win for us, after a great win, you don’t want everybody to scatter,” James said. “I wanted to get everyone together and let them know we’re all in it.”
The Cavs held the Lakers to one offensive rebound, a season-low…. The Cavs’ magic number to clinch a playoff spot shrunk to seven Sunday. They also picked up a game on the Indiana Pacers in protecting the No. 4 playoff seed…. The Cavs are 15-4 against teams that are .500 or better at home this season…. Sunday’s game was the team’s 13th sellout of the season, surpassing last season’s 12 sellouts.

James Co-Player of the Week

LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets were named NBA co-players of the week on Monday. James averaged 30.7 points, 9.7 rebounds and 5.7 assists as the Cavaliers won two of three games last week.
LeBron James (23) was named the co-player of the week Monday afternoon. The 21-year-old guard is averaging 30.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 42.6 minutes in 67 starts this season

CAVS: Tall Order

The Cavaliers have been streaky all year – winning six, losing five, winning seven, losing four. It’s the pattern of a team that hasn’t really found its identity. Anyone who’s ever watched a TNT game has heard Charles Barkley lament that fact.

The Cavaliers – still the third-best team in the Eastern Conference – lack two things as the playoff stretch is officially upon us: Consistency and Larry Hughes.

Cleveland’s bench was outscored 105-17 over the weekend. That does not bode well against a deep Mavericks team, but it doesn’t bode well against any team. Donyell Marshall and Damon Jones have to start finding the bottom of the net. Marshall is averaging four points per game over his last nine and Jones is averaging three points per game over his last 12.

Drew Gooden’s recent M.O. has been that he comes out of the gate like a bat out of hell and tends to disappear in the second half. Some of it is Mike Brown’s rotation and some of it is Drew failing to assert himself. He hasn’t notched double-figure scoring in his last three ballgames and on Friday night he had nine points in the first quarter.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas is having one of his best seasons as a pro, but he is having one or two solid quarters per game. He scored 21 points in Miami on Sunday, but 15 of those came in a single period. Z has grabbed double-figure rebounds once in his last 11 games.

The bright spot, of course, has been LeBron James. His statistics aren’t even important anymore because he simply carries the club. He hasn’t led the team in scoring in only one game among the last 25. He is the unquestioned leader of the Cavaliers. He just needs help.

The Cavaliers are an even .500 since Larry Hughes went down. That’s a credit to Coach Mike Brown. And when he returns, the Wine and Gold will be adding an entirely new gear. Hughes does everything LeBron can, just on a slightly smaller scale. He can handle the ball and shoot it. He can break down the defense off the dribble and he’s an All-NBA defender. If they can figure out the consistency part while Hughes recovers, the Cavaliers could be one dangerous squad when the postseason rolls around.

Cavaliers attempt to put the brakes on a two-game skid

Cleveland plays the finale of a three-game road trip tonight again the Mavrickes and attempt to put the brakes on a two-game skid.

On Sunday, Dwyane Wade had 35 points, nine rebounds and seven assists to help the Miami Heat record a 98-92 come-from-behind win over the Cavaliers at AmericanAirlines Arena.

The Cavaliers are just 14-18 as the visitor this season. They have dropped four of their last six games overall.

Dallas will also try and get back on the winning track, as it returns home after going 2-1 on a three-game road trip. On Sunday, Kenny Thomas scored six of his 10 points in the final minute as the Sacramento Kings knocked off the Mavericks 85-80 at ARCO Arena.

Dirk Nowitzki ended with 24 points and 13 rebounds in the loss to Sacramento for the Mavericks, who had a three-game winning streak snapped. Marquis Daniels scored 19 points, while Jason Terry, who scored eight points in the final three minutes, netted 14 and center Erick Dampier grabbed 11 rebounds in defeat.

The Mavericks are an impressive 28-5 as the host this season. They have won 17 of their last 18 contests at American Airlines Center.

Dallas is tied with the San Antonio Spurs for first place in the Southwest Division and the top spot overall in the Western Conference playoff race.

This is the first of two meetings between the clubs this season. The Cavaliers are scheduled to host the Mavericks on March 29th at Quicken Loans Arena.

Ticket Prices Going up

The Cleveland Cavaliers have announced their ticket pricing for the 2006-07 NBA season. Season tickets for the 2006-07 season are on sale now. Tickets available for single game purchase will range from $10 to $69 and will go on-sale closer to the start of the 2006-07 season on a date that will be announced at a later time. The Cavaliers regular season schedule for the 2006-07 season is expected to be announced in late July.

“Demand for our tickets continues to increase and the level of excitement and expectations surrounding the Cavaliers are on the rise. We’ve made significant upgrades in the arena and our team is poised for success, both now and in the future. As a result, we feel our pricing structure for the upcoming season reflects both the positive position of the franchise and our desire to continue welcoming new fans into the Cavaliers family,” stated Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena President Len Komoroski.

Following are some key quick facts regarding ticket pricing for the 2006-07 season.

The Cavaliers will have over 7,700 seats that will not increase in price.
Over 75% of Cavaliers seats (over 15,000 seats) will increase only $4 or less (including the 7,700 that will not increase at all).
The Cavaliers will still have 1,400 seats priced at only $10. This substantially exceeds the minimum NBA requirement of 500 seats and ranks as one of the highest totals league-wide at this price point. The $10 seats are also one of the lowest priced tickets in all of major league professional sports.

The Cavaliers’ average home attendance continues to increase compared to prior seasons. Average home attendance stands at 19,140 after 32 home games, compared to 18,784 last season at this point. The Cavaliers have hosted 11 sellouts thus far this season compared to 10 at this point last season. With 20,562 seats, Quicken Loans Arena is the NBA’s third largest arena (league-wide average capacity is 19,069).

From The Raptors Point of View

Toronto Raptors point guard Mike James apologized to his teammates after last night’s sold out game at the Air Canada Centre. And while the common sound bite is that no single play ever loses a game, James’ mental lapse came as close as possible to making that phrase obsolete. His spectacular showing against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday night was highlight reel, man-on-a-mission stuff with 30 points for the cause. In the end though, it was another one that got away.

“I told my teammates when I came back in here, I apologized to all of them because that was my fault,” said James in a quiet locker room. “They say you don’t win or lose on one play. But the last shot that should have been taken that went in should have been from Mo Pete.”

He is referring to guard Morris Peterson’s three-point make after forward Chris Bosh snagged an offensive rebound that put the Dinos up by two, 97-94, with 4.8 seconds remaining in the game. It capped off a 31 point night for Peterson, who is increasingly becoming a steady threat on both ends of the floor. Alas, the effort was washed away when LeBron James (35 points) got the ball and drove the lane for his final attempt. The defense collapsed on him, including Toronto’s James who inexplicably left three-point specialist Damon Jones wide open in the corner. Jones calmly sunk the buzzer-beating three-pointer to steal a 98-97 win in front of 19,800 fans.

“I makes no sense collapsing,” said Bosh, who recovered from a scoreless first half to register 15 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. “We’re up by two. If he makes a tough two-point shot we can live with that. He can’t suck us in, that’s for the beginning of the game not at the end. That’s too easy. Damon Jones had a standstill three-point shot. Now, instead of at worst going to overtime we lose.

“I made a point to talk to everybody but something else happened.”

That something else was James deviating from the plan, a vigilante judgment that the scraping for wins Raptors can ill-afford.

“We can’t just point the finger at one person,” said Peterson, who also logged 47 minutes on the night while defending the Cavs’ James for most of it. “We’re a team. If we win we win as a team. He’s (James) done a lot of great things for us this year, hit some game winners for us and kept us in games. If we lose, we lose together too. We’re all a family so if we go down we all go down together.”

And so they have but, as most of the Raptors pointed out last night, it’s the same old story of last second losses and untimely brain cramps.

“It was tough,” head coach Sam Mitchell said in a quickie postgame session. “It’s nothing to even talk about.”

Z – Soccer

Zydrunas Ilgauskas is enjoying his own March Madness soccer style. Ilgauskas is a huge international soccer fan. He is a big Manchester United supporter and buys a soccer satellite package.
He watched three Champions League games on Tuesday and spent the hours prior to Wednesday’s game watching the second leg of Arsenal-Real Madrid. Ilgauskas will attend two World Cup games in Germany this summer, a Christmas present from his wife.