- Joined Jan 29, 2005
Cavs going all out for Z tomorrow. There will be "Cavz" t-shirts, Z signs & arena to be re-named "The Z" for day. Plus tons more like that.
twitter: Brian Windhorst, Cavs beat writer
Zydrunas Ilgauskas preparing for emotional return in front of Cavaliers fans Sunday
By Brian Windhorst, The Plain Dealer
March 27, 2010, 7:49PM
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- One of the most memorable moments of this Cavaliers season was back on Dec. 2 when Zydrunas Ilgauskas drew an unscripted but powerful standing ovation when he entered a game against the Phoenix Suns to become the all-time franchise leader in games played.
Yet when he steps on the floor for the first time since re-signing with the team on Sunday against the Sacramento Kings, the response from the crowd could be even warmer.
Ilgauskas' trade to the Washington Wizards last month served as an impetus for an outpouring of support from the Cavs' fan base. From personal letters and e-mails Ilgauskas and the Cavs received, to callers on talk shows to posters on message boards, it was an impromptu Z lovefest that continued until he re-signed with the Cavs last Tuesday.
"It will be emotional; I look forward to it," Ilgauskas said. "In front of your own fans, it is always easier to play. Whatever they do, it will be much appreciated by me."
Though there may have been some discussion within the organization about whether to feature the moment and start Ilgauskas, coach Mike Brown said Friday he wasn't planning on doing so. But you can be assured Brown will play Ilgauskas, unlike in November where a series of circumstances delayed his breaking of the games played record when Brown didn't play him against the Dallas Mavericks.
Most likely, Ilgauskas will make his entrance sometime in the later stages of the first quarter, depending on whether Anderson Varejao is able to play with a hamstring injury.
"It is something the fans have been waiting on for a long time," LeBron James said. "It is always hard to come back on the road, but the fans are definitely going to welcome him on Sunday."
The anticipation for the Ilgauskas return game actually has made tickets for the game in high demand, not something expected against a non-glamorous opponent like the Kings. Sacramento's Rookie of the Year candidate, Tyreke Evans, will not even play because of a concussion.
"It is always a tough ticket these days, isn't it?" Ilgauskas said. "The fans know how I feel about them. They are one of the main reasons why I came back. They have always been great to me and my family and that will never change."
Varejao update: Varejao is being listed as questionable for Sunday's game after missing the second half Friday in San Antonio with a sore left hamstring. Varejao did not pull or pop the hamstring, he left the floor with general tightness so the team believes it is not serious. He will get treatment and be evaluated around game time.
Dribbles: With a victory over the Kings, the Cavs would sweep the Pacific Division this season. They are currently 9-0 against the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors and the Kings. ... The Cavs have outshot their opponents for 15 consecutive games, the longest such streak in the NBA this season.
I'm going to be in the building. Gonna be SUPER emotional