Final Dime: Mavericks 104, Cavaliers 95


Alonzo Gee drives to the hoop on Sunday night at The Q.
David Liam Kyle
NBAE/Getty Images
1. With the Wine and Gold still short a couple of starters, some young guns got a good look on Sunday night. But it was one of the Cavaliers’ old lions who kept them in the game against a Western Conference heavyweight.

In each of the four quarters, the Mavericks ran out to a big lead. And in each quarter, the Cavaliers – led by Antawn Jamison – clawed their way back. It wasn’t until Dallas’ final push that the shorthanded Cavaliers finally succumbed – losing the 17th game in their last 18 contests – 104-95 – on Sunday night at The Q.

“I always like youth and energy,” said Coach Byron Scott. “Even though (Jamison) is our second-oldest guy, he played with more energy tonight than a lot of guys. I just like the direction we’re heading with our younger guys. I thought they played hard and we’ll just keep working.”

The Cavaliers fell victim to a familiar formula on Sunday – finding themselves down 11 points early in the first quarter and having to dig their way out of a hole for the rest of the evening.

To their credit – despite being down starters Daniel Gibson and Anderson Varejao – the Cavaliers scrapped back in every period, cutting Dallas’ lead to single digits. Cleveland lost three of the four quarters by just a bucket and outscored Dallas in the fourth. But in the end, the Mavs’ early edge was more or less the difference in the ballgame.

Cleveland shot 50 percent as a team and was within three boards of Dallas on Sunday. But the Mavericks made ten three-pointers to the Cavaliers’ five. Every Mavericks starter finished in double-figures.

Only two Cavaliers notched double-figures, but one was Jamison – who went off for a season-high 35 points, going 14-for-22 from the floor, including 3-of-6 from long-distance. Jamison notched 13 of his 35 in the fourth quarter – going 6-for-7 from the floor in the period. The 13-year veteran was 4-for-5 from the stripe and also led the Wine and Gold with 10 boards.

“The one thing, despite what our record shows and the way we have been losing, is that we always stay positive,” said Jamison. “We always feel like we can come back and get into it and win games. We were able to keep our poise and just find a way to plug away.”

The Cavaliers got another solid performance from Ramon Sessions, who came off the bench to double up with 19 points and 12 assists. In 30 action-packed minutes, the former Nevada star went 9-for-13 from the floor, adding seven boards.

Cleveland will host one more home game – on Wednesday night against the Raptors – before embarking on tier longest road trip of the season, a five-game, ten-day West Coast junket that’ll see Cleveland face Golden State, Phoenix, the Lakers, Utah and Denver.

2. On Sunday night, Antawn Jamison posted the 290th double-double of his career. It was also his 46th game of at least 30 points and 10 boards and is the first Cavalier to reach those numbers this season.

3. Jamison has now scored at least 20 points in four of his last six games and is averaging 23.3 ppg over that span.

4. After missing the last two contests with a left hip flexor strain, Mo Williams returned to the lineup – netting just five points on 2-for-11 shooting. Mo did hand out seven assists in Sunday’s loss.

5. The Cavaliers bench – which came into Sunday’s game ranked 3rd in the NBA at 37.4 ppg – outscored Dallas’ reserves, 43-19.

6. The Cavaliers 2009 first-rounder, Christian Eyenga, got the call-up from Erie on Sunday night. In his last three games with the BayHawks, Eyenga averaged 17.0 points 7.3 boards per contest. In 15 minutes against Dallas, he notched four points and three boards – including a massive first-half fastbreak dunk.

7. Byron Scott went with his ninth different starting lineup of the season on Sunday night.

8. Anderson Varejao was warming up pregame and is expected to be fitted with a protective mask and return to action this week. He was struck by DeSagana Diop’s forearm in last Wednesday’s loss in Charlotte.

9. Sessions became the first Cavalier to net at least 19 points, 12 assists and seven boards off the bench. He is also the first NBA player to reach those numbers off the bench since the great Clyde Drexler did it with 23 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds against Philly on Jan. 1, 1986.

10. Over his last four outings, Sessions is averaging 16.5 points, 6.3 assists and 5.3 rebounds per contest.