KNICKS AT CAVALIERS, 7:30 P.M. ET

TV: NBA TV

  • Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao (back soreness) returns to action after a 12-game absence, but shooting guard C.J. Miles (left ankle sprain) is out for the ninth straight contest. Brazilian national Varejao, who will come off the bench, is averaging 8.8 points and a team-high 10.3 rebounds in 48 games. “Andy will play some,” Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. “But he may only play one stint, just to get him some live action.”
  • Longtime Cavaliers center Zydrunas Ilgauskas will have his No. 11 retired by the franchise during a halftime ceremony. Heat small forward LeBron James, former Cavaliers owner Gordon Gund, and Raptors executive Wayne Embry are among the invited guests for his special night at Quicken Loans Arena. “Z” specifically chose an off-date on Miami’s schedule so close friend James would be able to attend.
  • The Knicks have won two straight games to move within 4 1/2 games of the final Eastern Conference playoff spot. New York’s starters are point guard Raymond Felton, shooting guard J.R. Smith, All-Star small forward Carmelo Anthony, power forward Amar’e Stoudemire, and center Tyson Chandler. “We dug ourselves a hole,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. “Now, we’ve got to dig out of it.”
  • The Cavaliers’ lineup is All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, shooting guard Jarrett Jack, small forward Luol Deng, power forward Tristan Thompson, and center Spencer Hawes. Cleveland is 3 1/2 games behind the Hawks, who hold the eighth and final postseason position in the Eastern Conference. “Kyrie is a hell of a playmaker at the rim and he’s a one-man fast break,” Woodson said.
  • Woodson declined to comment on reports that NBA legend Phil Jackson is interested in joining New York’s front office. “At this point, I’m not even going to entertain that,” the coach said. “My job is trying to get us into the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference this season. That’s all I’m focusing on. Phil Jackson, I’m going to stay away from that.”
  • Inactive for the Knicks are center Andrea Bargnani (left elbow ligament tear) and power forward Kenyon Martin (left ankle soreness). Not in uniform for the Cavaliers are Miles, rookie small forward Sergey Karasev (NBA D-League assignment with Canton Charge), and rookie shooting guard Carrick Felix (left patellar stress fracture).
  • Cleveland rookie power forward Arinze Onuaku played for the Charge in its 118-110 victory over Springfield on Saturday afternoon — ringing up 19 points and 15 rebounds — before making the one-hour drive north from Canton. “I’m trying to get some fuel now,” Onuaku said as he ate a quick dinner in the Cavaliers locker room.

– Brian Dulik

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