Very tough road lies ahead for Cleveland Cavs
By Zac Jackson
FOX Sports Ohio
November 17, 2010
The Cavaliers hit the road this weekend. A very tough road lies ahead.
After playing just two '09-'10 playoff teams in their first 10 games, the Cavaliers' schedule is about to take a nasty turn. It starts Friday in New Orleans against the 9-1 Hornets and continues Saturday with a trip to 9-1 San Antonio. Those are the only remaining one-loss teams in the NBA.
It doesn't get much easier from there as the Cavs then visit Indiana next Tuesday, come home to play red-hot Milwakuee on a back-to-back, then complete a four game in five night stretch by visiting Orlando then hosting Memphis.
Then comes a Tuesday-Thursday home week you may have circled: Boston, then Miami on Dec 2.
"We know we are going into a tough stretch," head coach Byron Scott said after Tuesday night's win over the 76ers, which saw the Cavaliers improve to 5-5. "We're happy with the progress we're making, but I thought we'd have a couple more wins. I thought we'd have a chance to be 7-3 at this point.
"Somewhere along the line we'll have to pick up a couple wins. We'll have to win two games against some teams people don't see us beating."
HE EARNED IT: The Cavaliers embark upon this stretch as a team still in transition. Scott is still emphasizing ball movement and trust and said earlier this week that he's still installing parts of the offense.
The rotation has been in flux, too, and not just because Mo Williams, Anderson Varejao and Antawn Jamison have missed time with injuries. In Tuesday night's win, Scott said he went with a "gut feeling" and gave minutes to Joey Graham, and Graham gave the Cavaliers 13 points and 4 rebounds.
"He'll be in the rotation," Scott said. "I wanted to try something different. With Joey I know I can get scoring in the post, and defensively he did a real good job. I just wanted to change it up a little. I went with a gut feeling.
"I ask these guys every single night to compete, especially at the defensive end. Joey does that. For the time being we'll see if that will continue."
DEFINITELY MAYBE: Williams, who's missed the last two games with a groin injury, will make the trip but remains questionable. Scott said Williams will try to participate in Thursday's practice and possibly again at a Friday morning shootaround before any decision is made.
GETTING TIME: The Cavaliers' NBA D-League affiliate in Erie, Pa., opens this weekend. Though there's been no official decision announced, Scott said early in the week that rookie guard Christian Eyenga "needs to play" and remains a candidate to spend some time in Erie. Eyenga has yet to be active for the Cavaliers this regular season.