Zydrunas Ilgauskas Back at practice, hope to play Thursday

zZydrunas Ilgauskas is ready to play with the bigger boys again. He has been playing one-on-one against Cavaliers general manager Danny Ferry since he was cleared to practice last week.

Ilgauskas said he went through the entire practice on Monday — fast-break drills, a lot of shooting, two or three defensive drills, four-on-four transition drills and then extra shooting.

“Playing Danny one-on-one is not the same as Dwight Howard,” Ilgauskas cracked. “I missed not playing. I missed the guys. I’ve been home all this time, so I missed the camaraderie.”

Ilgauskas initially sprained the ankle defending a shot by former Cav Donyell Marshall at Philadelphia on Dec. 10. He tried to come back at Denver on Dec. 19, but the ankle didn’t get any better. Eventually, it was discovered that he had chipped a bone, so the Cavs shut him down for almost four weeks.

“It was nice to have the big fellow back out on the court,” LeBron James said after practice.

Marbury Says Celtics are trying to sign him, but…

Stephon Marbury said the Boston Celtics have expressed a commitment to sign him but the Knicks are worried to give him up to another Eastern Conference team.

According to the New York Post, the Knicks have not agreed to buy out his contract because they don’t want him contributing to a championship run with the Celtics.

“The question to be asked to the Knicks is: Are they fearful for me playing for another Eastern Conference team?” Marbury said, according to the paper. “My thing is, they shouldn’t be fearful. They’re trying to get under the cap for 2010. They shouldn’t be worried about me.”

Marbury hasn’t played since last April and he and the Knicks had their shares of drama and he was called to be a distraction by the Knicks organization and some players.

“You had guys saying I was a distraction, I’m a cancer,” Marbury said. “If I’m all those things, wouldn’t you want me to go to another team?”

Marbury is in the last year of his contract that pays him $21 million this season.

If Stephon Marbury ends up with the Celtics, how would that impact their team chemistry? Could it be an advantage for the Cavaliers?

Let us know what you think by posting your comment below.

Buck’s Michael Redd Out For The Season

Michael Redd will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL/MCL in his left knee.

In the third quarter of Saturday night’s victory over Sacramento, Redd landed awkwardly on teammate Luke Ridnour’s foot after missing a shot near the basket. Redd had an MRI exam on Sunday that revealed the extent of the injury. A surgery date has not been scheduled.

Redd was averaging 25.0 points per game in January and shooting better than 51 percent from the field.

“I’m deeply disappointed but everything in life happens for a reason and this is God’s plan for me,” Redd said. “I have faith in my teammates and coaches to continue to work together to make our fans proud. I will be supporting them wholeheartedly from the sidelines and working equally hard to return to the court in the best condition possible for next season.”

It’s a tremendous blow to a team that has struggled with injuries all season. The Bucks (22-25) are in third place in the Central Division. Redd missed 14 games with an ankle injury and center Andrew Bogut has missed 13 games, including the last six with back spasms.

“Over half our games have been without two of our main players,” coach Scott Skiles said after the game. “Our guys are hanging in there. It’s not always pretty every night, but we’re hanging in there.”

Lebron, Howard top All-Star Votes

Lebron James won the All-Star MVP two times during the past three years.For the fifth consecutive season, James was voted to the All-Star Game and got a career-best 2,940,823 to top all forwards in the Eastern Conference. The Magic’s Dwight Howard led all players with a record 3,150,181 votes. James was second overall and the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant was third with just over 2.8 million. The game is set for Feb. 15 at the US Airways Center.

“I always look forward to is because it is for the fans,” James said  “They create us and they’re the reason why we have the exposure. Without them there wouldn’t be an All-Star Game.”

Lebron will be joined by Miami’s Dwyane Wade (2,741,413) and Detroit’s Allen Iverson (1,804,649) will be in the East’s backcourt, and Boston’s Kevin Garnett (2,066,833), who beat New Jersey’s Yi Jianlian for the starting nod by 253,004 votes.

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers (2,805,397) was the West’s top vote-getter, and will be joined at guard by New Orleans’ Chris Paul (2,134,798). At center, Yao (2,532,958) will start for the sixth time, along with forwards Tim Duncan of San Antonio (2,578,168) and Amare Stoudemire of Phoenix (1,460,429).

The East’s head coaches will pick the All-Star reserves next week.  Mo Williams is in contention for one of those spots, but it will be difficult as point guards Jameer Nelson of the Magic and Devin Harris of the Nets are in it with Williams. Zydrunas Ilgauskas was an early favorite but his chances have diminished with his recent ankle injury.

The Cavaliers currently hold the top spot in the East and if they continue to hold that spot by Feb 1st, Mike Brown and his staff will coach the East.

Cavaliers Stay Perfect at Home, Beat the Hornets (92-78)

Lebron James wasn’t feeling good, Ben Wallace lost 10 punds in the past few days from an intestinal flue and played only 15 minutes, Delonte West was on the bench with a cast on his wrist that he broke during Thursday’s game in Chicago, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas was in suit. To top all that off, the Cavaliers didn’t get home from Chicago until 4 a.m. because of weather delays.

Mike Brown knew he needed a miracle to pull this off. Using some bizarre lineups and taking calculated risks, the Cavaliers were rewarded with a hard-earned win over the New Orleans Hornets at the Q.

Lebron James played center for about 12 minutes in the second half. Have the 6-foot-2 Daniel Gibson guard the 6-9 David West in the post and have two role players have their best games of the season.

Asked how he liked playing center, James just shook his head.

“Y’all know I’ll do anything for my team,” he said. “But that will have to be an every once in a while type thing.”

“I think the small lineup may have put them in a position they didn’t want to be in or expect,” James said.

The Cavs improved to 20-0 at home, becoming the sixth team since the NBA-ABA merger in ’76-77 to start 20-0 or better at home and first since the ’95-96 Chicago Bulls.

LeBron James had 29 points, seven assists and tied a season-high with 14 rebounds in the win.

Delonte West out 6 weeks with broken wrist

Delonte West will miss up to six weeks with broken wrist he sustained during the a nasty fall on Thursday night late in the first quarter against the Chicago Bulls.

West has been a key to the Cavaliers success this season. He’s averaging 12.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 33 minutes.

“It’s going to be tough for us,” LeBron James said. “It’s going to be tough on everybody but everybody has to step up. We’ll see what happens. You can’t fill Delonte’s shoes. Everybody just has to step up. Delonte’s toughness and what he has been able to do for this team this year is unmatched. There is nobody who can step into his shoes.”

Meanwhile, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who has been out since Jan. 2 with a broken left ankle. Ilgauskas has been cleared to resume on-court basketball activities and could return to game action in two more weeks.

Cleveland’s Mettle Will be Tested Now

When a player who has just produced 28 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists correctly terms that performance “probably my worst game of the season” you know that player is very good.

LeBron James, who also had a season-high eight turnovers and shot just 8-28 from the field–including a career-high 13 straight misses–put up those numbers in Cleveland’s 102-93 overtime loss at Chicago on Thursday night.

While those are uncharacteristically poor shooting numbers for James, it is important to remember that his excellent field goal percentage this season is largely built on the strength of the phenomenal amount of points in the paint that he scores; he still is an erratic shooter outside of that area and a lot of his misses versus the Bulls were jumpers, including a potential game-winner as time ran out in regulation.

Later in the TNT broadcast, Ernie Johnson noted that during his career James has shot just 3-22 from the field in game-winning situations in the last five seconds of regulation or overtime. I would be willing to bet that the vast majority of those misses were jump shots. However, James is the least of Cleveland’s concerns; he was slowed by the effects of a cold and will surely be playing at an MVP level again very soon.

The Cavs have one of the deepest rosters in the league but they have won just four of their last seven games as attrition is rapidly taking a toll that would be difficult for any team to withstand.

Starting center Zydrunas Ilgauskas has missed the last six games and will be out of action for several more weeks with a broken foot, starting power forward Ben Wallace has missed the past two games with an intestinal virus and starting shooting guard Delonte West will likely be on the shelf for a few weeks after suffering a nasty fall late in the first quarter versus Chicago. West jumped to block Derrick Rose’s shot and landed on the baseline with a sickening thud, banging his head hard enough to open up a gash that required stitches to close and fracturing a bone in his right (non-shooting) wrist. West had already scored 11 points on 5-7 shooting in 11 minutes, taking advantage of the smaller, defensively challenged Ben Gordon on the post.

Obviously, being without three starters really hurt Cleveland down the stretch versus Chicago but the real problem when so many key guys are out is not even so much what the new starters will do but rather what kind of production the team can squeeze out of the players who are added to the rotation. With Anderson Varejao and Lorenzen Wright moved into the starting lineup last night to replace Ilgauskas and Wallace, the Bulls’ bench outscored the Cavs’ bench 40-17 and outrebounded them 18-13.

Early in the season, Cleveland enjoyed the luxury of having James sit out most of the fourth quarter in many games as the Cavs’ reserves held or even expanded leads that had been built by the starters; James is averaging a career-low 36.9 mpg this season. James played more than 44 minutes versus Chicago and he has exceeded 40 minutes in five of the last eight games. Of course, he is a young, well conditioned player who can certainly handle the expanded work load without suffering much–if any–decline in his efficiency but ideally the Cavs would like for him to have as much fuel in the tank as possible for what they certainly expect to be a long, grueling playoff run this summer.

The Cavs face the New Orleans Hornets at home tonight and then head out west for games against the league-leading 31-7 L.A. Lakers, the young and upcoming Portland Trail Blazers, the run and gun Golden State Warriors and the always tough Utah Jazz. The Cavs are just a few percentage points ahead of Boston and Orlando in the East and it will take strong performances from James and company to not drop to third in the conference standings by the end of the upcoming road trip.

Cavs lose to Bulls – Delonte West fractures right wrist

Delonte West fractured his right wrist in a nasty fall while trying to block Derrick Roses’ shot.  He also received a cut over his left eye that required stitches.  He will be evaluated back in Cleveland.   Similar injuries have resulted in several weeks of missed games.

Bulls tame LeBron’s Cavaliers in Overtime

The Chicago Bulls handed LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers just their seventh loss of the season with a 102-93 overtime win on Thursday.

Luol Deng scored 22 points to propel the Bulls to an upset victory as the home team ended the game on a 19-6 run to improve their season record to 18-22.


Chicago outscored Cleveland 15-6 in overtime.


The Cavaliers (30-7) entered the game with the best winning percentage in the NBA but faded down the stretch, James suffering a rare off night, shooting 8-for-26 from the floor.


LeBron’s D drives Cavs

The biggest difference between the Bulls and the Cleveland Cavaliers is LeBron James. No great insight there; James is the biggest difference between the Cavaliers and just about every other team in the NBA.

But another, not-so-obvious difference between the teams right now is the focus and determination the Cavaliers show every night and the hit-or-miss efforts of the Bulls.

Although the roster is less than imposing after James, the other players routinely will themselves to good performances by simply outworking their opponents.

Of course, that didn’t happen Thursday as the Bulls put together one of their grittier efforts of the season in a 102-93 victory in overtime.

Chicago Sun Times