Written by Erik Cassano

Erik Cassano

dallas_mavericks_logo_bigThe Essentials:

1. The Mavs were without starters Caron Butler and Dirk Nowitzki. However, a midseason game against the lowly Cavs falls under the definition of "Games the Mavs should still win despite having two starters out of action." And win they did.

2. Anderson Varejao and Daniel Gibson were inactive for the Cavs with a cheek fracture and thigh bruise, respectively. Leon Powe started at center and Manny Harris started at shooting guard. They combined for four points and three rebounds. In other words, they matched Christian Eyenga's output from his first-ever NBA game.

3. Yep, that's right. Christian Eyenga received his first NBA regular season action, and responded with four points and three rebounds in 15 minutes. For some reason, he slung up a quartet of three-balls, missing them all, but he played his 15 minutes with energy and enthusiasm. As far as a first NBA appearance goes, it was OK. If this is also his 100th NBA appearance, you can dust off the "bust" tag and slap it on him.

4. Antawn Jamison is starting off the 2011 portion of his "For The Love Of All That's Good And Holy, Someone Trade For Me" campaign with a bang. On the heels of 19 points and nine rebounds on New Year's Day, Jamison attacked early and often against Dallas, racking up 35 points and 10 rebounds.

5. The Cavs shot 50 percent from the floor, after topping out at more than 53 percent after three quarters. That's laser-guided missile stuff from a team shooting 42 percent for the season.

30th Overall Pick Department:

Eyenga was recalled from the Cavs' NBADL affiliate in Erie, Pa. on Sunday, where he averaged 12.3 points per game on 53 percent shooting. With the Cavs bound for the lead pack in the 2011 draft lottery, now is the time to see what they have in the Congolese project, who was the final pick of the 2009 first round.

He's athletic and energetic, but if he becomes a mainstay of the Cavs rotation, let alone a star, he's majorly bucking the odds based on how raw he was when the Cavs selected him. Luckily, the Cavs now have all the time in the world to work with Eyenga.

"Yeah, It's That Bad" Department:

Jamison's 35 points is a season high for a Cavs player. The only other time a Cavs player even broke 30 was J.J. Hickson's 31 in an early November game against Atlanta.

"We're Coming For You, Sacramento" Department:

The 8-26 Cavs now own the worst record in the Eastern Conference, two losses up on the Wizards, who aren't being rescued by John Wall quite the way they thought they'd be. The only team standing between the Cavs and the highest odds for the No. 1 pick in June's draft? The 6-24 Sacramento Kings.

Not that it matters, becauseā€¦..

Kyle Singler Watch:

The 2011 draft will occur mere weeks before an anticipated NBA labor stoppage, meaning this could very well be the Draft To Which No Underclassman Shall Commit. Which, in turn, means this could be a senior-heavy draft -- which is another way of saying "The players who weren't good enough to get drafted early."

Sorry, that's just the truth.

The best senior of the 2011 draft could very well be Duke's Kyle Singler, who is scrappy enough and Caucasian enough to be a fine peripheral piece for the Indiana Pacers. As a main rebuilding block for a devastated Cavs franchise? Not so much.

But if seniors are all who declare for the '11 draft, Singler might be your man. So we better learn about him.

With that in mind, we'll keep tabs on Singler's performance for the remainder of the season, chronicling his most recent games:

12/29 vs. UNC Greensboro: 10-13 FG, 4-7 3PT, 27 PTS, 6 REB

1/2 vs. Miami: 5-15 FG, 2-8 3PT, 14 PTS, 8 REB

Up Next For The Cavs:

Toronto, Wednesday, 7 p.m. at The Q