CELTICS AT CAVALIERS, 7 P.M. ET
February 28, 2012 · 6:18PM
TV: League Pass
- Cavaliers shooting guard Anthony Parker (lower back strain) returns to the starting lineup after missing 12 games, but will be limited to 15-22 minutes by coach Byron Scott. The 36-year-old defensive stopper, who last played on Jan. 29 in Boston, admits that his “wind and timing are not where they were, but hopefully they’ll come back quickly.” Parker is averaging 6.0 points and 2.2 assists in 18 games this season. “It took longer for me to get back than I anticipated, but I just couldn’t get over the hump,” he said.
- Celtics center Chris Wilcox (right adductor strain) and power forward Brandon Bass (left knee soreness) are active, but center Jermaine O’Neal (left wrist sprain) did not travel with the team. Wilcox sat out Boston’s final game before the All-Star break, while Bass had missed six contests since last playing on Feb. 10 at Toronto. O’Neal, who was injured on Feb. 20 at Dallas, is sidelined for a second straight game and will undergo additional medical tests Wednesday.
- Bass is starting at power forward for the Celtics, joining center Kevin Garnett, small forward Paul Pierce, shooting guard Ray Allen, and point guard Rajon Rondo in their first five. Cleveland’s starters are point guard Kyrie Irving, small forward Omri Casspi, power forward Antawn Jamison, center Semih Erden, and Parker.
- Boston holds a 1 1/2-game lead over Cleveland in the race for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot. The teams have split two contests in 2011-2012. “When we’re healthy, we’re a pretty good product,” Celtics coach Glenn “Doc” Rivers said. “But we’ve still got a number of guys who are working their way back for us.”
- A camera crew is following Cavaliers shooting guard Daniel “Boobie” Gibson around Quicken Loans Arena, gathering footage for his upcoming reality television series “Family First.” Gibson’s wife, R&B singer Keyshia Cole, co-stars in the half-hour show that is scheduled to debut in July on BET.
- Cleveland wraps up its franchise-record, nine-game homestand tonight, which equals the third longest run in NBA history. The Cavaliers are 4-4 thus far, beating the Clippers, Pacers, Kings and Pistons, but losing to the Bucks, 76ers, Heat and Hornets.
- Cleveland’s inactives are swingman Christian Eyenga and center Anderson Varejao (right wrist fracture), while Boston is not dressing shooting guard E’Twaun Moore and O’Neal.
– Brian Dulik
KINGS AT CAVALIERS, 6 P.M. ET
February 19, 2012 · 5:19PM
TV: League Pass
- Cavaliers shooting guards Daniel “Boobie” Gibson (left ankle sprain) and Anthony Parker (lower back strain) remain out, making Alonzo Gee the starter for a third straight game. Cleveland coach Byron Scott said Gibson has a 50-50 chance of returning before the NBA All-Star break, while Parker’s status will be updated Monday. Center Anderson Varejao (right wrist fracture) is also inactive and expected to miss the next 4-6 weeks. “We’ll have the same guys tonight that we’ve been going with,” Scott said.
- Kings power forward J.J. Hickson spent his first three pro seasons with the Cavaliers before being traded last summer for small forward Omri Casspi. Hickson, who was the 19th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, will be a free agent following this season. “I’m not having the year I wanted to have, not personally and not winning,” said Hickson, who is averaging 5.2 points and 5.4 rebounds for Sacramento. “But (earning a new contract) is gonna take care of itself.”
- The Kings rank last in the league in field goal percentage (.409) and in points allowed (101.6), which is a combination that makes Scott nervous, even though the Cavaliers own the NBA’s second-best rebounding percentage (.520). “Because they’re only shooting 40 percent from the floor, there will be lots of opportunities for second-chance points,” the coach explained. “We’ve got to prevent that tonight from happening on the boards.”
- The Kings will start point guard Isaiah Thomas, shooting guard Marcus Thornton, small forward Tyreke Evans, power forward Jason Thompson, and center DeMarcus Cousins. Sacramento coach Keith Smart, who began his NBA head coaching career with the Cavaliers in 2003, reported no injuries on his 14-man roster. Rookie forward Tyler Honeycutt is the Kings’ lone inactive.
- Cleveland’s starting lineup includes point guard Kyrie Irving, power forward Antawn Jamison, center Semih Erden, Casspi, and Gee. Casspi also has struggled in his new surroundings, shooting just .418 from the floor and .596 from the foul line while starting all 28 games. “I think Omri is progressing nicely, but it’s coming slower than we expected and slower than he wants,” Scott said.
- Cleveland is 2-3 on its franchise-record long nine-game homestand, while Sacramento is 0-3 on its six-game road trip.
– Brian Dulik
BUCKS AT CAVALIERS, 7:30 P.M. ET
February 10, 2012 · 6:49PM
TV: League Pass
- Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (concussion) will not play tonight against Milwaukee or Saturday against Philadelphia, but remains listed as “day-to-day.” The No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft was injured Tuesday in Miami when he was inadvertently kneed in the head by Heat guard Dwyane Wade. Former Bucks point guard Ramon Sessions makes his second straight start in Irving’s place. “Obviously, they’re a very different team without Irving, but Ramon will do a nice job,” Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles said.
- Also out for Cleveland is shooting guard Anthony Parker (lower back strain), who last played on Jan. 29 at Boston, but power forward Tristan Thompson will return to action after missing four games with a sprained left ankle. Daniel Gibson makes his third start of the season at shooting guard. Center Anderson Varejao, power forward Antawn Jamison, and small forward Omri Casspi round out the Cavaliers’ first five.
- Skiles downplayed comments made by Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings, who said he was “doing my homework on big market teams,” but later tweeted, “Just because I said I’m keeping my options open don’t mean I’m leaving Milwaukee.” Jennings cannot become an unrestricted free agent until 2014. “It’s premature because Brandon is still in his rookie deal,” Skiles said. “He’s still got to become a restricted free agent (in 2013) before any of that comes into play.”
- The Bucks will start center Drew Gooden, power forward Luc Mbah a Moute, small forward Carlos Delfino, shooting guard Shaun Livingston, and Jennings. Out for Milwaukee are center Andrew Bogut (left ankle fracture) and power forward Larry Sanders (illness), but power forward Ersan Ilyasova (back spasms) returns to action after sitting out one game.
- For additional depth, the Cavaliers signed NBA D-League point guard Ben Uzoh to a 10-day contract. Uzoh was averaging 16.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. The 6-foot-3 Tulsa product spent the 2010-2011 NBA season with the New Jersey Nets.
- The Bucks are holding down the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, one-half game ahead of the Knicks and Cavaliers.
– Brian Dulik