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News » Cavaliers focus on the victory

Cavaliers focus on the victory

Cavaliers focus on the victory

What: Cavaliers at Magic.

When: 8 p.m.

Where: Amway Arena, Orlando, Fla.

TV/radio: FSN Ohio, TNT; WTAM AM/1100.

Tonight's matchup between the Cavaliers and the Orlando Magic is like a great novel or a classic movie, with a great plot and a host of intriguing subplots.

There are two Eastern Conference powers meeting for the first time this season in front of a national-television audience.

There are two All-Star starters in LeBron James and Dwight Howard, Olympic teammates squaring off against each other.

There are two top All-Star reserve candidates in point guards Mo Williams and Jameer Nelson looking to make the squad for the first time.

There are two coaches vying to head the Eastern All-Stars in Mike Brown and Stan Van Gundy. A Cavs victory will clinch the honor for Brown.

So do you know what intrigues the Cavs the most?

"The win," Williams said.

Brown was a tad more expansive.

"Playing the right way and getting a win," the coach said.

Oh, come on. Surely someone is excited about the matchup.

"We're looking forward to it because it is our next game, honestly," James said. "They're a very good team. Stan Van Gundy has done an excellent job. It's going to be a very good game."

Well, then. Perhaps this would be a good time to mention the Magic took three of four games against the Cavs last season. In Cleveland's victory Feb. 11 at Orlando, Fla., it took 40 points by former Cavs guard Larry Hughes to break the Magic's spell.

"They were pretty good last year," Brown said. "They've matured another year, been through the ups and downs of the NBA. Stan's in his second year down there and is a great coach. You have your nucleus come back and you're talking about the same things, and you're going to have a chance to get better.

"That's a good ballclub down there. They have guys who can put the ball in the hole. Mickael Pietrus has been out for I don't know how long [12 games with a fractured right wrist] and comes back to score 27 against Indiana. That's not to mention what [Hedo] Turkoglu can do, and [Rashard] Lewis and Nelson. That's a pretty potent ball club. They've got some nice young pieces, too."

Z doubtful: The Cavaliers have listed Zydrunas Ilgauskas as doubtful for tonight's game, meaning there's only about a 25 percent chance the center will play. Ilgauskas, who has been out since Dec. 30 with a sprained left ankle, will travel with the team. Ilgauskas went through a full practice Wednesday, his second this week, but did not speak with reporters after practice.

Talking head: James will join the TNT broadcast team as a guest analyst for the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge and Youth Jam at 9 p.m. Feb. 13 during All-Star Weekend in Phoenix. No Cavs rookies will take part in the game.

Howard and Miami's Dwyane Wade will act as assistant coaches for the sophomores and rookies, respectively. The head coaches will be the lead assistants from the 2009 NBA All-Star Game coaching staffs. Howard mistakenly told reporters earlier that James was going to coach as well.

Sales drive: James has the third-most-popular jersey in the league, based on sales at the NBA store in New York and on the Internet. He trails Kobe Bryant, who regained the lead he had in 2006-07, and Kevin Garnett, who led last season.

The Lakers also have the most popular overall team merchandise this season, followed by the Celtics, Knicks, Cavs and Bulls. The NBA doesn't release actual sales figures.

Game plan: Howard revealed his plan for guarding James.

"When the L-Train is coming down the lane, you try to make him change tracks before he gets up too much steam," Howard told reporters in Orlando. "The main thing with LeBron is you have to meet him early in the lane and make him take tough shots. . . . I have to contest his shot when he gets in the lane and make sure not to give him anything easy."

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter: mschmitt@plaind.com, 216-999-4668

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 30, 2009


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