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- Jazz point guard Mo Williams (right thumb surgery) returns to action for the first time since Dec. 22 at Miami and will start. Williams had two torn ligaments repaired in a Jan. 4 operation, then had two pins removed from his thumb on Feb. 13. “Mo’s minutes will be guarded a little bit tonight, but we’re glad to have his energy back in the lineup,” Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said. “We’ll play it by ear how long he goes.” Former Cavaliers fan favorite Williams, who sat out the Jazz’s previous 32 games, is averaging 12.9 points and a team-high 6.7 assists in 24 contests this season.
- Jazz center Al Jefferson (left ankle sprain) will miss his third straight contest, but Corbin said, “Al is getting better. When he’s ready to go, we’ll make the call to get him back in there.” Derrick Favors will start at center, alongside power forward Paul Millsap, small forward DeMarre Carroll, shooting guard Randy Foye, and Williams. Carroll replaces Marvin Williams in the lineup in what Corbin termed a “coach’s decision. I like the way DeMarre can run the floor.” This is Utah’s 12th different lineup in 61 games in 2012-2013.
- The Cavaliers will only have 10 players in uniform as shooting guards Dion Waiters (flu) and Daniel “Boobie” Gibson (flu) will not play. Center Tyler Zeller (flu) is starting after sitting out Cleveland’s 102-97 loss to New York on Monday. “The thing I like the most about Tyler is his competitiveness,” Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said. “I know he’s going to keep fighting and he’ll learn from everything he’s gone through this season.”
- Cleveland’s lineup is NBA All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, shooting guard Wayne Ellington, small forward Alonzo Gee, power forward Tristan Thompson, and Zeller. Ellington made his first start with the Cavaliers against the Knicks, but only scored seven points in 27 minutes. This is Cleveland’s 11th different starting five this season.
- Inactive for the Cavaliers are small forward Omri Casspi (appendectomy) and center Anderson Varejao (season-ending right knee surgery), while the Jazz is not dressing Jefferson and shooting guard Raja Bell (not with team). Utah has won six straight games over Cleveland.
– Brian Dulik