Cavaliers notebook: Cavs aim to play spoiler
For the Charlotte Bobcats, it’s a playoff game. For the Cleveland Cavaliers, it’s considerably less important than that — but you can expect them to treat it like their own personal postseason, anyway.
"At this point, the teams we are playing, we can be the ‘upset team,’ and knock people out of playoff seeding and also out of playoff contention,” said Cavs guard Baron Davis.
The Bobcats are one such team. They trail eighth-place Indiana by two games with six to go. So it’s important for them to win games like the one Tuesday night in Cleveland (7 p.m. ET, FOX Sports Ohio).
And don’t think the Cavs have any intention of lending the Bobcats a helping hand. Anyone who saw how the Cavs fought the Bobcats to the finish last week in Charlotte understands that.
Bobcats forward Dominic McGuire might have saved his team’s season by getting his finger on a last-second shot by Cavs guard Anthony Parker, allowing the Bobcats to escape with a one-point win.
The Bobcats had to “escape” after shooting a sizzling 56 percent from the field and getting the performance of a lifetime from forward Boris Diaw (26 points, 11-for-16 shooting).
“We’ll need more toughness in the interior,” Cavs coach Byron Scott said. “Diaw is a pretty good player, but I don’t consider him a great player.”
In other words, if the Cavs (15-61) hope to gain another victory, they can’t allow guys such as Diaw to play like they’re Larry Bird.
That is why, as much as the Cavs are aiming to play the spoiler role, their biggest priority is finding out what might be in store for next year.
“We have to worry more about us and not so much about anyone else,” Davis said. “We've got to concentrate on just giving it our all for these last six games and forming the chemistry we need.”
Semih Erden participated in a five-on-five scrimmage after practice Monday, and Scott is hopeful the 6-foot-11 center can partake in real live action before the season ends.
Erden has missed all but one game because of a strained hip abductor since coming over from Boston in a late-February trade. Scott also cited conditioning as a reason Erden has been out.
During the scrimmage, Erden displayed strong ball-handling skills and a nice touch near the basket.
“The progression of him getting to this point has been slow but good,” Scott said. “You can tell his wind isn't there, his conditioning isn't really there. But it’s a good thing for us to just see him out here partaking in that situation.”
Cavs forward Samardo Samuels suffered torn ligaments in his right wrist last week against Atlanta but said he would like to continue to play.
That’s mostly because Samuels, an undrafted rookie, knows there are no guarantees for playing time beyond this season.
“Opportunity comes but once,” Samuels said. “You never know what next year brings. Why not take full advantage of it? A lot of people would like to be in the position I’m in right now. If I can even play a little bit, I’m going to play.”
Samuels conceded the wrist is often sore. It also might require offseason surgery.
“It forces me to be more fundamentally sound so I don’t really hurt it,” he said.
Stephen Jackson, the Bobcats' leading scorer, is expected to miss the game Tuesday because of hamstring pain. Also out for Charlotte are center Tyrus Thomas (ribs and knee), guard Shaun Livingston (back) and forward Eduardo Najera (back).