Cavs report: Long trip winding down

BY foxsports • January 16, 2012

INDEPENCENCE, Ohio -- The Cavaliers got to sleep in their own beds on Saturday night.

That might not sound like a big deal, but when you’re making the final stop on your longest road trip of the season, it is.

That trip ends this afternoon in Charlotte (2 p.m., FOX Sports Ohio), where the Cavs meet the Bobcats to conclude a seven-game swing that started in Toronto and took them to the West Coast. But they flew home following Friday’s 97-92 loss to the Lakers, getting a night’s rest in the beds they know well.

“It’s a long one,” Cavs rookie guard Kyrie Irving said from the team‘s practice facility Sunday. “I was happy to be home for the night.”

The Cavs have gone 2-4 on the trip, giving them an overall record of 5-6. Even coach Byron Scott has conceded they’ve looked pretty good in the process.

“It’s been OK,” Scott said. “We’ve had a couple of games that we’ve played pretty bad, and we’ve had some games where I thought we played pretty well. It’s been good from a learning standpoint for the younger guys. We’ve been pretty competitive in every game except for one. With more game left, we have a chance to make this a very successful road trip.”

The Cavs have played less games at home (three) than any other team.

“I’ve definitely felt it,” Irving said. “Waking up in a different city almost every night, it’s a transition. But I’ve still enjoyed it.”

You can tell, as Irving leads all rookies in scoring at 17.0 points per game. That includes a career-high 26 in Thursday’s 101-90 win in Phoenix. He has also scored at least 20 in each of the past four games.

“I thought he was going to be pretty good,” Scott said of the No. 1 overall draft pick. “He hasn’t disappointed us all. I think he still has a long way to go on both ends of the floor, but he has All-Star potential written all over him. It’s just a matter of how bad he wants it.”

Getting Stops

One reason the Cavs are hovering around .500 has been the play of their defense -- particularly when it comes to getting back and slowing down the break. That’s no accident.

“It’s been our emphasis,” Scott said. “Coming into the season we knew we had to do a much better job in transition defense. I didn’t know if we were gonna go from 18th or 19th to No. 1, but the goal was to be in the top 10. So we’ve done a real good job of limiting fast-break points.”

He also pointed out that the Cavs “haven’t done a real good job of taking care of the ball,” as they are committing a whopping 16 turnovers a game.

“So teams are definitely getting the opportunity,” Scott said. “But our guys are doing a real good job of utilizing their energy to get back (on defense) and making sure teams set up.”

Varejao a Keeper

Scott shot down trade rumors involving Anderson Varejao last week, saying the Cavs’ veteran center isn’t going anywhere.

Varejao appreciated the support, claiming Cleveland is where he wants to be.

“I’m happy here,” he said Sunday. “I want to stay.”

Varejao is averaging 9.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. He is fourth in the league in rebounding.



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