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- Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao (right knee bruise) and shooting guard Daniel “Boobie” Gibson (concussion) remain out, but coach Byron Scott said he was “hopeful” that both could practice Tuesday. Varejao — the NBA’s leading rebounder — has not played since taking a hard fall to the court on Dec. 18 against Toronto, while Gibson has been out since taking a hit to the head from Hawks shooting guard Anthony Morrow on Dec. 28. “The plan is for Andy to practice Tuesday, but we’ll have to see,” Scott said. “Boobie hasn’t been cleared by the NBA yet, so let’s say having them both is hopeful, wishful thinking on my part.”
- Cleveland will start point guard Kyrie Irving, shooting guard C.J. Miles, small forward Alonzo Gee, power forward Tristan Thompson, and center Tyler Zeller. Miles is averaging 15.0 points since replacing rookie shooting guard Dion Waiters in the lineup two games ago. “We’re looking for C.J. and running sets for him, but the biggest thing is he’s being aggressive,” Scott said. “He’s been hot for the last couple of games, and Kyrie is doing a nice job getting him involved.”
- The Cavaliers are coming off a 106-104 win Friday at Charlotte, which was the 400th of Scott’s NBA coaching career. “The players in the locker room were yelling 400 after the game, but I honestly didn’t know what that was about,” said Scott, whose career record with Cleveland, New Orleans, New Orleans/Oklahoma City and New Jersey is 400-489. “When Kyrie said, ‘That’s 400!’, I thought he was talking about dollars, and maybe we had made a bet that I had forgotten about.”
- The Rockets’ starters are point guard Jeremy Lin, shooting guard James Harden, small forward Marcus Morris, power forward Chandler Parsons, and center Omer Asik. Coach Kevin McHale said he plans on keeping Morris in the lineup and bringing power forward Patrick Patterson off the bench “for a while in order to keep Patrick’s minutes down.” Patterson has made 21 starts this season, while Morris is making his 13th tonight in Cleveland.
- Houston’s inactives are power forwards Terrence Jones and Royce White (NBA D-League assignment to Rio Grande Valley), while the Cavaliers are not dressing Varejao, Gibson, and power forward Jon Leuer (NBA D-League assignment to Canton Charge). When asked about White’s status with the Rockets’ organization — and his refusal to report to Rio Grande Valley — McHale replied, “I have no idea.”
– Brian Dulik