TV: League Pass
- Cavaliers’ point guard Kyrie Irving returns to the floor tonight for the first time since hurting his left shoulder earlier in the month. Irving has missed eight consecutive games, including the Cavs’ current string of seven consecutive losses. It was rumored Irving may be out for the remainder of the season, following the injury suffered in Toronto on March 10.
- Cleveland coach Byron Scott said Irving has been asking him to play for the last several days, but was being held back by a cautious Cavaliers’ coaching staff. Scott insisted that Irving is in “no danger” of exacerbating the shoulder injury by playing tonight or in any of the Cavs’ 11 remaining games. In 49 games this season, Irving has averaged 23 points, 5.7 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game.
- The Hornets will also bring back its starting point guard, with the return of Grevis Vasquez who missed two of New Orleans’ past three games due to a sprained left ankle. Vasquez played in each of the Hornets’ first 70 games, averaging 13.9 points and 9.2 assists per game.
- Hornets’ coach Monty Williams said tonight’s game holds particular importance because it will determine whether the Hornets finish its seven-game home-stand with a winning or losing record. New Orleans notched consecutive victories over the Celtics, Grizzlies and Nuggets around losses to the Warriors, Clippers and Heat. “It would be good for our team from a confidence standpoint and the direction of the organization,” Williams said. “We beat some good teams and we play another one tonight.”
– Scott Kushner