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- Bobcats center Al Jefferson (right ankle soreness) is out and will be replaced by Bismack Biyombo in the starting lineup. Jefferson played in Charlotte’s last two games after missing its previous five contests with a bone bruise on the same ankle. “It’s not specifically the same spot as before – he has a lot of soreness in the whole ankle,” coach Steve Clifford said. “It flared up last night, so we’ll just take it day-by-day.” Jefferson is averaging team highs of 15.0 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.33 blocks in three games.
- Cavaliers shooting guard Dion Waiters (flu) will not play, but All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving (right nasal fracture) is active and will start. Irving was hurt Wednesday in the first quarter of Cleveland’s 124-95 loss in Minnesota, forcing him to wear a clear protective facemask for the next two weeks. “Some guys, like Rip Hamilton, love playing with them,” coach Mike Brown said. “I’m sure it’s not going to affect how aggressively that Kyrie plays the game.”
- Cavaliers center Andrew Bynum (family medical issues) is expected to rejoin the team Saturday in Washington. The 7-footer will miss his second consecutive game tonight, but Brown said he will return to the lineup against the Wizards. “If he’s going to play, I’m going to start him,” Brown said. “And when he plays, we’re going to run a lot of stuff through him. Since Andrew doesn’t practice much, we have to get our practice with him during games.”
- Charlotte’s lineup is point guard Kemba Walker, shooting guard Gerald Henderson, small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, power forward Josh McRoberts, and Biyombo. McRoberts sat out the Bobcats’ 89-83 loss Wednesday at Boston for personal reasons. Clifford said rookie center Cody Zeller, power forward Anthony Tolliver, and small forward Jeff Adrien will see increased minutes with Jefferson sidelined.
- Cleveland’s starters are Irving, shooting guard C.J. Miles, small forward Earl Clark, power forward Tristan Thompson, and center Anderson Varejao. Miles, who is averaging 11.6 points, makes his first start of the season. The Cavaliers are 3-0 at home and 0-6 on the road this season — and 14-1 all-time against the Bobcats at Quicken Loans Arena.
– Brian Dulik