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News » West to cover for hobbled Gibson

West to cover for hobbled Gibson

West to cover for hobbled Gibson
Cavaliers INSIDER

Philadelphia - For the first time this season, the Cavaliers' depth will be tested as backup guard Daniel Gibson will be out for at least two weeks because of a big toe he sprained in Tuesday's victory over Toronto.

It's much like the injury he had his rookie season (2006-07), when he missed eight games. Gibson had been playing well lately, averaging 13.8 points and shooting 61 percent from the field in four games in December. That came after a frustrating November (7.5 points, 33 percent shooting).

Gibson's toe problem is the Cavs' first significant injury of the season.

While the Cavs call Gibson a shooting guard, many of his 24 minutes per game were spent at the point where he handled the ball often, especially when starting point guard Mo Williams was on the bench.

Now, the Cavs will use starting shooting guard Delonte West at the point, a position he played for most of his first four years in the NBA - including the final three months of last season when he was traded to the Cavs as part of a three-team deal that included Seattle and Chicago.

"I'm really a combo guard," West said. "I can play either spot. I'm just real comfortable here."

Heading into Wednesday's game at Philadelphia, West was in a bit of a shooting slump.

After hitting 52 percent of his shots in November, he dropped to 35 percent in the first four games of this month. His ball-handling stayed reliable with 17 assists to only six turnovers in those four games, which is why the Cavs are confident West can cover for Gibson while he recovers.

Big day: Gibson's injury led to St. Edward product Jawad Williams being on the active roster for the first time in his NBA career.

Sasha the shooting guard: The player whose minutes should increase with Gibson out is Sasha Pavlovic, who becomes the fourth guard after West, Williams and Wally Szczerbiak. He played little in November, but has been averaging 15.2 minutes and scoring 5.6 points while shooting 48 percent in December. The real key will be if Pavlovic can defend, which is what the coaches demand. It also would help if he used his athleticism to drive to the basket and draw fouls. Heading into Wednesday night, he had shot only one free throw in his past 76 minutes.

Remembering Brad: Memories of Brad Daugherty came up when Zydrunas Ilgauskas broke the center's career franchise rebounding record. But some fans may not recall that Daugherty's career ended at the age of 28 because of back problems that led to multiple surgeries. For his eight-year career, Daugherty averaged 19.0 points, 9.5 rebounds and shot 53 percent from the field. He also averaged 3.7 assists, impressive for a center. Want to feel old? Daugherty is now 43. The high pick-and-roll he ran with Mark Price was poetry on the court. As Cavs broadcaster Joe Tait said, "Brad is one of those guys who is never fully appreciated until after he's gone." The same will be true of Ilgauskas.

Remembering Barkley: LeBron James insisted he wasn't "annoyed" at Charles Barkley, who criticized the Cavs' star for talking about what he may do when he's a free agent in 2010. He implied Barkley "can't read between the lines." He also said his kids watch TV and he doesn't want them hearing bad stuff about their father from Barkley.

To reach Terry Pluto:, 216-999-4674

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: December 12, 2008


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