RAPTORS AT CAVALIERS, 7 P.M. ET
February 27, 2013 · 6:16PM
TV: League Pass
- Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (hyperextended right knee) will miss his second straight game, but remains listed as day-to-day. “I don’t know if we’ll see him Friday (against the Los Angeles Clippers), but I do know that would give him four days rest,” Cleveland coach Byron Scott said. The first-time NBA All-Star was injured in practice late last week, but played in Orlando and Miami before sitting out the Cavaliers’ 101-98 win Tuesday at the Bulls. Cleveland is 3-9 this season without Irving, who underwent an MRI in Chicago that confirmed there was no structural damage.
- With Irving sidelined, point guard Shaun Livingston makes his second start with the Cavaliers. Livingston, who scored a season-high 15 points Tuesday against the Bulls, was claimed off waivers from the Wizards on Christmas Day. “I’ve always been intrigued with Shaun,” Scott said. “He just seems to fit into our system very well, and he’s also probably as healthy as he’s been in this league.” The 27-year-old Livingston is averaging 5.3 points and 3.4 assists in 25 games with Cleveland.
- Joining Livingston in the Cavaliers’ lineup are rookie shooting guard Dion Waiters, small forward Alonzo Gee, power forward Tristan Thompson, and rookie center Tyler Zeller. “They may not have Irving, but our approach definitely cannot change — and will not change tonight,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “Cleveland plays the same way without him, and Dion Waiters has really come in and taken Kyrie’s place as the attacker in the fourth quarter of games.”
- Toronto’s starters are point guard Kyle Lowry, shooting guard DeMar DeRozan, small forward Rudy Gay, power forward Amir Johnson, and rookie center Jonas Valanciunas. The Raptors are seeking their first four-game road winning streak since March 22-April 5, 2002 — and are 7-4 since Gay joined them in a trade from Memphis. “Toronto isn’t an athletic team, but they have two of the most athletic wings in the league in Rudy and DeRozan,” Scott said.
- The Cavaliers have 11 players in uniform as shooting guard Daniel “Boobie” Gibson has returned after a three-game absence for personal reasons. Cleveland small forward Omri Casspi (appendectomy) is resting at home after undergoing surgery Saturday in Orlando, while point guard Josh Selby (NBA D-League assignment with Canton Charge) and center Anderson Varejao (season-ending right knee surgery) are inactive.
- Raptors small forward Linas Kleiza (right knee soreness) is sitting out his 28th straight contest, while small forward Mickael Pietrus is a healthy scratch for the second game in a row. Toronto enters the evening five games behind Milwaukee in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. “That’s our goal,” Casey said. “Everybody’s goal should be the playoffs.”
– Brian Dulik
HORNETS AT CAVALIERS, 8 P.M. ET
February 20, 2013 · 7:11PM
- Hornets shooting guard Eric Gordon (right knee soreness) will not play for precautionary reasons as New Orleans is on the second half of a back-to-back game set. The fifth-year pro scored 20 points Tuesday in a 96-87 loss to Chicago, but is not being permitted to play on consecutive days on orders of the Hornets’ medical staff. “I wish that (policy) was over, but we don’t see it ending anytime soon,” New Orleans coach Monty Williams said. “For whatever reason, the doctors feel that’s best for Eric. But he’s healthy, so it’s tough.” Williams added that Gordon’s sprained right hand is fully healed.
- With Gordon out, New Orleans is starting rookie Austin Rivers at the two. Rivers was named after Cavaliers broadcaster — and former Cleveland All-Star — Austin Carr, but the two had never met until this evening. “I just went out and introduced myself to him, which was incredible,” Rivers said. “It was an honor and very exciting, knowing my dad (Celtics coach Doc Rivers) chose his name for me because he looked up to him so much. It’s unbelievable knowing that I’ll be playing in front of him tonight.”
- The Cavaliers are making their only national television appearance of the season. ESPN originally scheduled the Miami at Atlanta game for the 8 p.m. broadcast window, but dropped it in favor of the first pro matchup between the last two No. 1 overall draft picks: Cleveland point guard Kyrie Irving (2012) and New Orleans power forward Anthony Davis (2013). “We want to show the world what we can do,” Irving said.
- Irving shined brightly on all three days of All-Star weekend in Houston. The reigning Rookie of the Year won the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest, and played very well in the NBA All-Star Game and BBVA Rising Stars Challenge. “I’m still trying to catch up on my sleep, but I’m ready to get back out there tonight,” said Irving, who ranks sixth in the league with a 23.5 scoring average.
- The Hornets’ starters are point guard Greivis Vasquez, Rivers, small forward Al-Farouq Aminu, Davis, and center Robin Lopez. The Cavaliers’ lineup is Irving, shooting guard Dion Waiters, small forward Alonzo Gee, power forward Tristan Thompson, and center Tyler Zeller. New Orleans won the teams’ last meeting, 89-84 on Feb. 22, 2012 in Cleveland.
- The NBA trade deadline is Thursday at 4 p.m. Cavaliers center Marreese Speights is among the prime candidates to be dealt as he can opt out of his contract at the end of the season. “Mo Speights has always been a bit of a wildcard, especially when he’s knocking down his jump shots,” Williams said. “He can be a physical presence, as well.”
- Cavaliers coach Byron Scott plans to fly to Los Angeles for the funeral of Lakers owner Jerry Buss. Lead assistant coach Paul Pressey will run Cleveland’s practice on Thursday.
– Brian Dulik
TIMBERWOLVES AT CAVALIERS, 7 P.M. ET
February 11, 2013 · 6:21PM
TV: League Pass
- The Timberwolves will only have 10 players in uniform, including point guard J.J. Barea (left mid-foot sprain), who dressed but was unable to play Sunday in a 105-88 loss at Memphis. “He may try to play tonight, but I don’t know if he’s going to be serviceable,” Minnesota coach Rick Adelman said. “We’ve got to be careful, too, because with a foot injury, you don’t want to make it worse.” Adelman added that Barea will decide whether he is healthy enough to play a handful of minutes, based on how his foot feels after warming up with his teammates.
- Timberwolves small forwards Andrei Kirilenko (right quadriceps strain) and Chase Budinger (left knee surgery), power forward Kevin Love (right hand surgery), shooting guard Brandon Roy (right knee surgery), and point guard Malcolm Lee (season-ending right knee and right hip surgery) are all out. Kirilenko has been sidelined since being hurt on Feb. 4 against Portland, but Adelman said he should return after the NBA All-Star break. “It’s not just the people we’re losing, it’s the quality of that players we’re losing,” the coach said.
- Minnesota’s starting lineup is point guard Ricky Rubio, shooting guard Luke Ridnour, small forward Mickael Gelabale, power forward Derrick Williams, and center Nikola Pekovic. The Timberwolves, who are making their first appearance at Quicken Loans Arena since Dec. 26, 2010, are 2-15 since Jan. 9.
- The Cavaliers are starting All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, shooting guard Dion Waiters, small forward Alonzo Gee, power forward Tristan Thompson, and center Tyler Zeller. Cleveland is playing its third home game in four nights, previously beating Orlando (Friday) and losing to Denver (Saturday).
- Irving and Cavaliers coach Byron Scott will face off in a 3-point contest at practice Tuesday. Irving, who is shooting .429 beyond the arc, will compete in the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest at NBA All-Star Weekend. “He’s been talking a lot of trash, but I think I’ve got a good shot at beating him,” Scott said.
– Brian Dulik
NUGGETS AT CAVALIERS, 7:30 P.M. ET
February 9, 2013 · 6:51PM
TV: NBA TV
- The Nuggets are riding an eight-game winning streak, which is their longest since they posted 10 straight victories from March 30-April 15, 2005. “We’re going to try and shock the world and become the first team to win a championship without an All-Star,” Denver coach George Karl said. “There are only about 10 true superstars in the NBA, I think, but I believe Andre Iguodala, Ty Lawson, Andre Miller, and Kenneth Faried are in the next 40 players.”
- The Cavaliers have won a season-high tying three straight games and are 11-11 since Dec. 22. They have not won four games in a row since March 17-24, 2010, which was LeBron James’ final campaign with the franchise. “We’re definitely making steps in the right direction,” Cleveland coach Byron Scott said. “We’re playing good basketball right now, but we still can play better.”
- The Nuggets are scheduled to fly to Boston following the game, but Logan Airport is not expected to re-open until at least 11 p.m. because of the East Coast blizzard. A Denver spokesman said the team still plans on leaving Cleveland tonight, but has hotel rooms reserved in case it must stay in Northeast Ohio. The Nuggets play at the Celtics on Sunday evening.
- Denver’s starting lineup is point guard Lawson, shooting guard Iguodala, small forward Danilo Gallinari, power forward Faried, and center Kosta Koufos. The Nuggets are 32-18, which is the sixth-best record in the NBA. “We’re not that good, it’s a bunch of fake (wins),” Karl quipped. “We’re lucky, not that good at all.”
- Cleveland’s starters are point guard Kyrie Irving, shooting guard Dion Waiters, small forward Alonzo Gee, power forward Tristan Thompson, and center Tyler Zeller. The Cavaliers are playing home games on consecutive nights for the first time this season. They defeated Orlando 119-108 on Friday.
- Not in uniform for Cleveland are center Anderson Varejao (right knee surgery) and point guard Josh Selby (NBA D-League assignment with Canton Charge). Denver’s inactives are shooting guard Julyan Stone and power forward Quincy Miller — both on NBA D-League assignments with the Iowa Energy.
– Brian Dulik
CAVALIERS at PACERS, 7 p.m. ET
December 12, 2012 · 6:27PM
TV: League Pass
- In an effort to solve his ongoing second-unit problem, Indiana Coach Frank Vogel has opted to double his dosage of Hansbroughs. Ben Hansbrough, the younger brother of Tyler Hansbrough, will replace D.J. Augustin as the backup point guard starting with tonight’s game. “We’ll see what it does for the second unit,” Vogel said. “Maybe a different guy or style of play can change things.” The younger Hansbrough, an undrafted rookie, was the Big East Player of the Year at Notre Dame in 2010-11 and spent last season playing professionally in Europe.
- One of the team’s touted offseason free-agent pickups, Augustin has been stunningly inept, averaging 13.0 minutes, 3.2 points and 2.3 assists, shooting .266 overall and .213 from the 3-point line. He has career averages of 10.3 points, 4.3 assists, .402 shooting overall and .366 from the arc. His demotion could be short-term but in the meantime Augustin needs to remain engaged while working to find his game. “It’s always a concern how a player is going to handle it when he’s taken out of the rotation,” Vogel said. “He’s got to stay bought-in, he’s got to stay sharp and he’s got to stay confident.”
- With Kyrie Irving’s return, the Cavs are closing in on having their full complement of players. Irving missed 11 games with a broken left index finger, but came back Tuesday and scored 28 points with 11 assists as Cleveland beat the Lakers 100-94 to snap a four-game losing streak. Cavs Coach Byron Scott said there will be no need to ease Irving back into the flow. “His easing back was last night when I threw him in there,” Scott said. “Once the doctor says you’re OK and you’ve practiced, you’re ready to go.”
- The Cavs are awaiting those developments for rookie guard Dion Waiters, who will miss his sixth straight game with a left ankle sprain. Cleveland also will be without reserve guard Omri Casspi (5.2 points, .442 from the 3-point line), who remained at the team hotel with a stomach ailment. Daniel Gibson, listed as a game-time decision with a hyperextended right elbow, said he will play.
– Conrad Brunner