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News » Bobcats-Cavaliers Preview 2009-10-31

Bobcats-Cavaliers Preview 2009-10-31

Bobcats-Cavaliers Preview 2009-10-31The Cleveland Cavaliers finally won a game. A visit from the Charlotte Bobcats could make it two in a row.

Coming off their first victory of the season, the Cavaliers look for a seventh straight win over the visiting Bobcats on Saturday night.

After a pair of lackluster efforts in losses to Boston and Toronto, Cleveland (1-2) had little trouble calming down its potentially concerned fan base with a 104-87 win at Minnesota on Friday. The Cavaliers are coming off a 66-win season in which they lost back-to-back games only twice.

LeBron James scored 24 points, Mo Williams added 20 and Cleveland shot 47.6 percent against the Timberwolves after shooting a combined 37.9 in its two losses.

"If they continue to play hard like they did (Friday) and move the ball like they did," coach Mike Brown said, "we're going to get some wins while we're going through this process."

That could continue against Charlotte (1-1), which is 3-15 all-time against the Cavaliers and 0-9 in Cleveland.

James is averaging 28.3 points through three games and 26.8 in 17 against the Bobcats.

While Shaquille O'Neal is averaging 21.5 points and 8.3 rebounds versus Charlotte, he's still trying to find his place within the Cavaliers system after an offseason trade from Phoenix. His new teammates, meanwhile, are trying to figure out how to incorporate him into the gameplan without slowing it down.

O'Neal has scored 28 points and grabbed 24 rebounds in his first three games with Cleveland.

"It's hard for new guys, with the offense that we're running and defensively. We do things different than most teams," said Cleveland center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who had 15 points against Minnesota after totaling 10 in the first two contests. "So it'll take a little while for Shaq to get comfortable, and it'll take a while for us to get to know where he wants the ball. He's a force in the middle. Obviously when he's out there we need to use him."

The Bobcats could have more trouble than usual trying to stop James and O'Neal after extending themselves in a 102-100 double-overtime win over New York on Friday.

D.J. Augustin made two free throws with 2.5 seconds left in the second overtime to secure the win after Charlotte blew an 18-point, fourth-quarter lead.

"We couldn't have lost this one," said guard Raymond Felton, who fought through cramps to finish with 22 points, eight rebounds and nine assists in Charlotte's home opener. "That would've hurt. But we got it done."

With injured shooting guards Raja Bell (wrist) and Flip Murray (shin) not ready to return, Charlotte has struggled from the field in the first week of the season. After shooting 31.1 percent in an embarrassing 92-59 season-opening loss at Boston on Wednesday, the Bobcats made 38.0 percent of their shots but still came through against the Knicks.

"I'm just proud of our team," coach Larry Brown said. "Without Raja, without Flip and with Boris (Diaw) and (Tyson) Chandler not 100 percent, we need games like this."

Gerald Wallace had 18 points and 15 rebounds, while Diaw added 17 and 11 boards Friday.

The Bobcats, who haven't beaten the Cavaliers since a 96-93 win Dec. 8, 2007, are averaging 93.2 points and giving up 104.8 per game while going winless in Cleveland.

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Added: October 31, 2009


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