Probably the last player the Cavaliers expected to "blow up" on Tuesday was center Ryan Hollins.
He has operated under the radar most of the season. He had 13 points, three rebounds, three blocks and two steals in the Cavs' big victory over Miami.
Hollins managed just four points and three rebounds in the Cavs' narrow loss at Charlotte on Wednesday. That's been Hollins' M.O. most of the season.
Coach Byron Scott turned to Hollins out of necessity a week ago when he moved him into the starting lineup. He was the only 7-footer still standing. Scott was in desperate need of height.
He performed majestically in the win over the Heat, but got in immediate foul trouble against the Bobcats and never got on track.
Hollins was the Cavs' emotional leader against the Heat. He earned a technical foul for exchanging pleasantries with Heat guard Dwyane Wade. He also got in a little skirmish with Heat forward Juwan Howard.
The Cavs players feed off his raw emotions in the game.
"I wanted to inspire our team and make some hustle plays," he said.
Suffice it to say, he did.
And the fans ate it up.
"This game was for the fans," Hollins said. "They stuck with us through the losing streak and us losing."
Hollins was a post presence the Cavs have needed all season against the Heat.
"We talked about it all season long about not allowing teams to get into the paint and get easy lay-ups," Scott said. "(Hollins) was a presence out there and set the tone defensively.
"He blocked three shots and he did a good job of (keeping) people off the glass. He really played well (Wednesday) for us. We always felt that he was capable of this. It was just a matter of him going out there and doing it."
Hollins kept his composure, which wasn't easy to do in such an emotional game.
Maybe the biggest sequence in the game came with 5:22 to play. First, he blocked a shot by Heat forward Chris Bosh, who seemed to shy away from Hollins' physical play. Hollins ran the floor and caught a 40-foot pass from point guard Baron Davis for a dunk on the other end.
"It was huge," Hollins said. "It was a big play in the game."
NBA TV analyst Chris Webber, who knows a little about post play, said Hollins just needs to be himself.
"(He needs to) keep it simple," Webber said. "(He needs to) run hard all the time because you'll get somebody else (a) lay-up. He needs to attack the offensive glass.
"(You don't have to score) 25 points and 15 rebounds. If (Hollins) does this, he has created an identity and a really valuable position on that team because you know what he can do every night."
BOBCATS 98, CAVALIERS 97: Bobcats forward Boris Diaw capped off an outstanding evening with a free throw with 14 seconds remaining for the game-winning point.
Diaw, who led all scorers with 26 points, seven rebounds and 11 assists, missed the second free throw. That opened the door for a possible game-winning field goal by the Cavs.
However, the original play drawn up by coach Byron Scott broke down badly. After a time out, Anthony Parker's last-second 12-footer was partially blocked by Bobcats forward Dominic McGuire at the buzzer.
Guard Ramon Sessions paced the Cavs with 24 points and four assists, while J.J. Hickson added 20 points and seven rebounds.
The Cavs allowed Bobcats center Kwame Brown to get 16 points, eight rebounds and two blocks. He came into the game averaging 7.3 points per game.
Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.