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Old 10-18-09, 02:52 AM
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Cavs have likely caught San Antonio after being swept by Spurs in 2007 Finals

Cleveland Cavaliers afternoon news roundup:
Cavs have likely caught San Antonio after being swept by Spurs in 2007 Finals
By Starting Blocks
October 17, 2009, 3:45PM

Scott Shaw, The Plain Dealer San Antonio's Tim Duncan grabs the arm of Cleveland's Zydrunas Ilgauskas, trying to stop a drive to the basket by the Cavaliers center in Game 3 of the 2007 NBA Finals.The Cleveland Cavaliers made their lone NBA Finals appearance in 2007. Unfortunately, they had to play a superior team, one chasing its fourth championship in a nine-year span.

That team, the San Antonio Spurs, swept Cleveland, four games to none.

Neither the Spurs, partly because of injuries, nor the Cavaliers have played in the Finals since. Yet, they might both be better teams than they were then - certainly, the Cavaliers are. And, the gap between the teams has definitely closed. If the Cavaliers haven't passed the Spurs among the league's elite, they've caught them in the conversation about who the potential championship teams are.

Fran Blinebury writes for NBA.com about how the teams now are essentially on a par with each other:

Back then, the 2007 Finals went into the books as the least-watched, maybe most one-sided, least interesting in history. But if the same clubs that stretched their muscles through Friday night's 105-98 preseason win by the Spurs meet again next June, it would be two Goliaths with no David. Certainly a fairer fight.

"Absolutely," said (LeBron) James. "We're just a much better franchise. We were caught in a situation where the Spurs definitely were a much better team and we all knew that after the fact.

"We've grown as a franchise. I've grown as a player. We're much better team. We're more of an elite team every single game. We go out there and every single team we play, we know we can win."

The host Spurs defeated the Cavaliers, 105-98, in Friday night's preseason game, as Plain Dealer Cavaliers beat writer Brian Windhorst reports. The game was not taken especially seriously, Windhorst wrties, as key players from both teams didn't play, or played limited minutes, and even San Antonio coach Greg Popovich and Cleveland coach Mike Brown delegated their duties to some degree.

Tonight, the Cavaliers play at Dallas against the Mavericks, a team itself with lofty hopes.

Moon over Cleveland:
Forward-guard Jamario Moon has taken the long route to playing for a Cchampionship contender. Writes Rick Noland for the Medina County Gazette and Elyria Chronicle-Telegram:

Though he’s 29 years old, this is only Moon’s third NBA season, as the Meridian (Miss.) Community College product played all over the country — and parts of the globe — before finally sticking with the Toronto Raptors in 2007.

Moon’s previous teams included the Gary Steelheads, Albany Patroons, Fuerza Regia Monterrey (Mexico), Marietta Storm, Rome Gladiators, Fort Worth Flyers, Kentucky Colonels, Rockford Lightning, Harlem Globetrotters, Oklahoma Storm, Huntsville Flight, Mobile Revelers and Dodge City Legends, not to mention the handful of NBA clubs he had tryouts with.

“I’ve played in a lot of places,” Moon said. “Making adjustments has become easy for me.”

Check it:
Plain Dealer Cavaliers coverage includes beat writer Brian Windhorst's Cavaliers Insider, and Mary Schmitt Boyer's report that Discount Drug Mart is the new outlet for Cavaliers, Monsters and concert tickets.

Who will prevail?
All of the NBA's elite teams made significant roster additions. NBCSports.com carries an Associated Press report that speculates what impact the moves will have on the championship chase:

“A lot of teams in the East got better, a lot of teams in the West got better,” (Shaquille) O’Neal said. “It’s going to be one of the most exciting years ever since I’ve been in the league.”

Economic woes this year and the lure of a blockbuster free agent class next kept most teams quiet this summer. Just not those whose championship window is open.

* The Cavs want O’Neal and James to be a championship pairing like O’Neal-Bryant — without the soap opera.
* The Lakers signed Ron Artest, an upgrade in talent on the court but a wild card in the locker room.
* The Celtics inked Rasheed Wallace, hoping the temperamental forward can either fill in for or play alongside of a recovered Kevin Garnett.
* The Magic traded for Vince Carter, believing he can replace what they lost with the departure of Hedo Turkoglu.
* The Spurs acquired Richard Jefferson, giving them some much-needed athleticism on the wing to play with their trio of stars.

Already among the best, those teams all could be even better.

Cleveland Cavaliers afternoon news roundup: Cavs have likely caught San Antonio after being swept by Spurs in 2007 Finals | Starting Blocks - cleveland.com - - cleveland.com
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Old 10-18-09, 10:37 PM
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Quote:
* The Cavs want O’Neal and James to be a championship pairing like O’Neal-Bryant — without the soap opera.
That's wishful thinking by the Cavs. Shaq's presence guarantees drama at some point.
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Old 10-19-09, 03:08 PM
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Cavs definitely were better than us last year-- but then again they weren't even the best in their own conference anymore, despite the fact that they were far better than the Finals team of '07.

So if they can be happy knowing they're better than our '07 team, good for them.
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Old 10-19-09, 07:22 PM
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They Cavs are a good team but they won't make it to the Finals; I'm pretty sure about that one.
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Old 10-19-09, 10:42 PM
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It'll be interesting in the EC. A lot will depend upon health, home court and some luck with respect to Boston/Orlando/Cleveland.
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