Cleveland Cavaliers v Milwaukee Bucks

Cavaliers down another big man as Varejao’s knee swells up

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Anderson Varejao has been fantastic this young season for Cleveland — 14 points a game on 65.8 percent shooting, plus 15 rebounds a game. He has grabbed 25 percent of the available rebounds when he has been on the floor the first four games (that is Dennis Rodman like). He has been playing like an All-Star.

So Cleveland is really going to miss him Wednesday night, and maybe longer.

Varejao banged knees in the Cavs Monday night win over the Clippers, and while his knee hurt he played through it. Then after the game it swelled up and come the Cavs game Wednesday against the Warriors, he could not go.

Neither could rookie Tyler Zeller, who is going to be out for a while after getting a broken cheekbone and a concussion in the same game.

That’s two rotation big men on a Cavs team that isn’t exactly deep. Coach Byron Scott is not thrilled.

“Tyler was playing great. We know how Andy was playing, unbelievable. You lose not only two of your best players, you lose your size as well,” Scott said before his team faced the Warriors. “Again, we just got other guys who are going to come in and try to pick up the slack for what both those guys brought to the table.”

The guys asked to step up were Samardo Samuels at forward and Tristan Thompson, both of whom started. They will get a lot more run until Varejao and Zeller are back.

Dwight Howard commits ridiculously sloppy inbound violation (video)

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An embarrassing lack of focus by the Rockets? I can hardly believe it.

Late in a game against a team Houston is battling for playoff position, Dwight Howard was just careless, stepping on the baseline as he inbounded the ball. It’s a needless goof, and he’ll get plenty of deserved criticism for it.

But don’t overlook Patrick Beverley‘s frustration foul on Damian Lillard before the ensuing inbound. That was nearly as foolish and even more costly.

The sequence sparked a 7-0 run for the Trail Blazers, who seized control of the game en route to a 116-103 win.

DeAndre Jordan dunks on Marcus Smart before Smart knows what’s happening (video)

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Marcus Smart went to tag DeAndre Jordan on the pick-and-roll, and Jordan took off from so far from the basket, he was dunking on Smart before the Celtics guard could do a thing.

Chris Paul finds brilliant counter to hack-a-DeAndre Jordan (video)

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I originally favored allowing Hack-a-Shaq as the NBA currently does. I found the strategy fascinated – why and when teams would use it and how their opponents would counter.

But it just became too common. Far too many games featured a parade of trips to the line, a boring stretch that made games too long. I thought the intrigue had run its course.

Then, Chris Paul pulled this move last night.

The Clippers guard saw Jonas Jerebko charging toward DeAndre Jordan to commit an intentional foul, so Paul stepped in front of an unsuspecting Jerebko and took the foul himself. That’s sent a good free-throw shooter to the line instead of the dismal Jordan.

Just an awesome heady play by Paul.