Williams’ 16 points lead Cavaliers in rout
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Cleveland Cavaliers and Dallas Mavericks took different paths in getting ready for the regular season.
Cavaliers coach Mike Brown played his starters into the second half Tuesday night, while Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle didn’t suit up three of his stars.
Cleveland, led by Mo Williams’ 16 points and 11 assists, rolled to a 96-66 preseason victory.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas scored 16 points for the Cavaliers (3-3), who had five players in double figures. LeBron James and Anderson Varejao both scored 12 points as Brown kept his starters in the game until building a 30-point lead in the third quarter.
“I wish I could have played them more,” Brown said. “When they were out there, they did some good things and they did some bad things. If we could’ve extended them into the fourth quarter, it would have been a good night for me.”
James had four rebounds, seven assists, two steals and two blocks, while Shaquille O’Neal had six points and seven rebounds in 20 minutes. Brown lifted O’Neal with 5:50 remaining in the third and James with 3:45 left in the quarter.
Williams, who played almost 28 minutes, was rested in Cleveland’s previous game and missed two others with a sore right groin.
“We’re getting into a groove as a team,” Williams said. “I knew going in that we were going to play a lot of minutes. Unfortunately, the game got out of hand and we couldn’t play more.”
Kris Humphries led Dallas (4-2) with 20 points, while Matt Carroll had 17 and Drew Gooden 10.
The Mavericks dressed only nine players. Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry and Jason Kidd did not play, and Shawn Marion, Josh Howard and Tim Thomas continued to nurse injuries.
Brown wasn’t surprised to see Nowitzki, Terry and Kidd on the bench. When the teams played Oct. 17 in Dallas, Brown rested James, O’Neal and Williams.
“It’s a tough deal with the way the preseason is,” Brown said. “But we definitely got something out of tonight.”
Marion sat out a fourth preseason game because of a right calf strain. Howard and Thomas haven’t played in the preseason because of offseason surgeries.
“It’s tough to play, especially when you’re short-staffed,” Carlisle said. “We didn’t have a lot to work with.”
With so many regulars on the bench, Carlisle gave extensive playing time to Carroll, who played 35 minutes in front of his hometown fans. Carroll grew up in Pittsburgh until moving away after the eighth grade.
The Cavaliers built a 51-34 halftime lead as the Mavericks shot 32 percent. They outscored the Mavericks 32-16 in the third quarter to take a 33-point lead.
“Our energy level left us and when that happened, things started going south,” Carlisle said. “We dropped our heads a little bit when the shots weren’t going down.”
Carlisle liked the way the Mavericks held James in check, holding to 3-of-13 shooting from the field.
“I thought our team did a good job of loading up on him,” Carlisle said. “He’s obviously a good player and we had good awareness of him on the court and the basket.”
For the first time in the preseason, troubled Cavaliers guard Delonte West dressed and sat on the bench but did not play. West has missed all seven preseason games because of a personal matter, and it is not known whether he will dress Wednesday night when the Cavaliers finish preseason play against Boston.
West, who has been treated for bipolar disorder, was arrested on gun possession charges in Maryland in September.
Brown said West will not move directly into the starting lineup when he returns. Anthony Parker has assumed the starting guard spot in West’s absence.
“Delonte is part of our rotation,” Brown said. “We’re still figuring how to fit him in. We’re trying to get a feel for what we’re going to do with him because I don’t know how many minutes he’ll get.”
West is coming off his best season, averaging 11.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists. He shot a career-high 40 percent from 3-point range while helping the Cavaliers win a franchise-high 66 games. He was considered the team’s second-most productive player in the playoffs, behind James.