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Revamped Cavaliers Open With a Win

Monday, February 25, 2008

While emphasizing his team has a lot of work to do on the practice floor, Cavaliers Coach Mike Brown was pleased with his new teammates following Cleveland's 109-89 victory over the visiting Grizzlies.

"It brought some energy to the building," Brown said. "It was energy from the fans because of the new players."

Ben Wallace, who started at power forward, scored 12 points, tying his season high, and had 10 rebounds, while Delonte West, the starter at point guard, scored five points with six assists.

The other two players picked up in the deal, F Joe Smith and G Wally Szczerbiak, came off the bench late in the first quarter. Smith scored 14 points while Szczerbiak had 10.

LeBron James said he was certain the new players would help the team. At one point in the third quarter, the NBA's leading scorer was on the floor with all four of them.

"It was good to see all those guys play well," James said. "It was exciting to be on the floor with them."

Brown said the lineup and combinations he uses could change frequently until the players get comfortable playing together. The other three starters were James at power forward, Zydrunas Ilgauskas at center and Devin Brown at guard.

All four new players received loud ovations throughout the evening. The Cavaliers gave a video tribute to them before the game, fans were given "Welcome to the Family" signs and several "Big Ben" T-shirts were spotted in the crowd.

Wallace and Smith were acquired from Chicago while West and Szczerbiak were picked up from Seattle in the three-team, 11-player deal that was finalized minutes before the deadline.

-- From News Services

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