my bad, toochski, they played the mavs in pittsburgh this year too...
Cleveland Cavaliers get serious, have no trouble with Dallas Mavericks
By Brian Windhorst
October 20, 2009, 11:44PM
Keith Srakocic / Associated PressCavaliers guard Mo Wiliams, left, battles for a loose ball Tuesday with the Mavericks' Jose Barea in the first half in Pittsburgh.PITTSBURGH -- The point the Cavaliers were trying to make Tuesday night was driven home at the expense of Matt Carroll.
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Early in the third quarter of the Cavs' 96-66 preseason win over the Dallas Mavericks at the Peterson Events Center, Carroll found himself free on what he thought was a breakaway. He should have known by looking at the scoreboard that the Cavs had gotten serious about preparing for next week's regular-season opener. But, instead, he had to learn it the hard way.
As Carroll headed for the rim, LeBron James came soaring in from behind and slammed the ball off the backboard. Carroll did a belly flop on the court, the victim of James' first "chase down" block of the season. By the time Carroll was back on his feet, Shaquille O'Neal was hanging on the rim at the other end after a dunk.
Carroll pleaded for goaltending, but James just gave him a dismissive head shake. Then, two minutes later, James swatted Carroll again from behind, perhaps just for insubordination.
"I'm getting back there," James said. "Both of them were clean."
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Keith Srakocic / Associated PressShaquille O'Neal gets a chance to relax as the Cavs get an easy preseason win at Pittsburgh.That's how it went in the sixth preseason game, when the Cavs decided to get serious in playing their front line heavy minutes for the first time.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, perhaps in a bit of gamesmanship after the Cavs rested seven of their top players last Saturday in Dallas, didn't play most of his best players, including Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki. That kept the game from being close and kept the Cavs from playing their starters into the fourth quarter, which coach Mike Brown had wanted.
Regardless of his old boss' intentions, Brown treated the game like a full dress rehearsal and for the first time the team seemed to show some purpose. It was especially clear on defense as the Cavs collectively began to show effort.
They held the Mavericks to 34 percent shooting and picked off nine steals by getting into passing lanes and applying pressure in the half court.
Offensively, the Cavs took the wraps off some new looks, most of it with Mo Williams at the wheel. It turned out to be by far the most productive night individually for most players in the preseason.
Much of it started with Williams, who moved freely in the half court against the Mavericks' second string and repeatedly and easily kept setting up teammates. In 28 minutes, Williams racked up 11 assists and also scored 16 points and pulled down six rebounds. In all, the Cavs had 29 assists on 38 baskets and 19 fast-break points.
"We got into a little groove as a team," Williams said. "Going into a game knowing you're going to play a lot of minutes, it feels good."
The wicked blocks aside, James still looked a little less than his best as he continues to recover from the flu. He missed some good looks and even missed a dunk at one point. He finished just 3-of-13 from the field with 12 points, although he did have seven assists and two steals.
O'Neal had his lowest-scoring game of the preseason as the Cavs looked to work on offensive sets that didn't involve him as much. He finished with six points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes.
After showing good form last Saturday in Dallas, Zydrunas Ilgauskas continued his solid play by scoring 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting, with seven rebounds and three blocks. He was especially effective in hitting his midrange jumper off the weak side, a look the Cavs haven't shown much in the past. Usually, they have gotten Ilgauskas looks with direct pick-and-rolls.
Anderson Varejao returned after missing two games with a wrist injury to have his best game of the preseason. Finding seams when the Mavericks loaded up on O'Neal and James, Varejao scored 12 points and pulled down nine rebounds. Three different times he scored and was fouled.
The Mavericks, who used just nine players, were led by Kris Humphries' 20 points.
"We're taking baby steps," Brown said. "But we're getting there."