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
SPURS AT CAVALIERS, 7 P.M. ET
February 13, 2013 · 6:17PM
TV: League Pass
- Spurs power forward Tim Duncan (left knee soreness), point guard Tony Parker (right knee bruise), and shooting guard Manu Ginobili (left hamstring tightness) all return to action tonight. San Antonio’s “Big Three” sat out its 103-89 win Monday in Chicago, but will play in the Spurs’ final game before the NBA All-Star break. Duncan and Parker are starting, while Ginobili resumes his role as their sixth man. “Everything will be back to normal for us,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said.
- Spurs center Tiago Splitter (left ankle) also will start after twisting his ankle against the Bulls, but small forward Stephen Jackson (personal reasons) is not with the team for the second straight game. “Tiago is going to give it a shot tonight, but we’ll see what happens,” Popovich said. Small forward Kawhi Leonard and shooting guard Danny Green round out San Antonio’s first five.
- Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (left ankle) is in the lineup two days after landing awkwardly on the foot of Timberwolves point guard Alexey Shved. The NBA All-Star has the sixth-highest scoring average in the league at 23.9 points. Center Tyler Zeller, power forward Tristan Thompson, small forward Alonzo Gee, and shooting guard Dion Waiters join Irving as starters.
- The Spurs are 3-1 on their annual nine-game, 19-day Rodeo Road Trip. San Antonio owns the best record in the league at 41-12 and has won five straight over Cleveland — all in the post-LeBron James era for the wine and gold. “I expect the Cavs to have (foam) coming out of their mouths and the veins popping when they come out of the tunnel tonight,” Popovich joked.
- The Cavaliers are 3-2 on their seven-game homestand, but are coming off losses to Denver (111-103 on Saturday) and Minnesota (100-92 on Monday). Cleveland is 9-15 this season at Quicken Loans Arena, which is the third-worst home record in the NBA. “As a young team, it is easier to get fired up for teams with a better record,” Popovich said. “We’re very aware of that.”
- Inactive for the Spurs are Jackson and point guard Cory Joseph (NBA D-League assignment with Austin Toros), while the Cavaliers’ inactives are center Anderson Varejao (season-ending right knee surgery) and point guard Josh Selby (NBA D-League assignment with Canton Charge).
– 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
BOBCATS AT CAVALIERS, 7 P.M. ET
February 6, 2013 · 6:22PM
TV: League Pass
- Bobcats small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (concussion) traveled to Cleveland but will miss his second straight game. The No. 2 overall pick in the NBA Draft was injured Saturday when he took a scary fall at Houston. “Mike’s head is clear and all of his (physical) signs are a plus,” Charlotte coach Mike Dunlap said. “He said everything feels substantially better — he’s still very sore — but he’s certainly not ready to play tonight.” Fellow rookie Jeffery Taylor starts in his spot.
- The Bobcats’ lineup is point guard Kemba Walker, shooting guard Gerald Henderson, Taylor, power forward Jeff Adrien, and center Bismack Biyombo. Charlotte is 0-4 on its current five-game, 10-day road trip. “We have a lot of respect for Charlotte because they play hard and Mike’s doing a nice job with them, but offensively, if we run our plays and execute tonight, we’ll be fine,” Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said. “I am worried about our defense, though.”
- Cleveland shooting guard Daniel “Boobie” Gibson is active for the first time since spraining his right big toe on Jan. 26 at Toronto. Gibson, who has spent his entire seven-year career with the Cavaliers, ranks 14th in NBA history with a .413 3-point percentage. Also active is power forward Luke Walton, who has not played since Jan. 25 against Milwaukee because of personal reasons, and left foot and ankle soreness.
- 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 have won four of their last five home games, including a 115-110 upset of Oklahoma City on Saturday. “It’s like I told the guys this morning, we have to be afraid of losing, especially in our building,” Scott said.
- Inactive for Cleveland are center Anderson Varejao (season-ending right knee surgery) and point guard Josh Selby (NBA D-League assignment with Canton Charge). Varejao was in the Cavaliers locker room before the game and said he remains on blood thinners, even though the post-surgical blood clots in his lungs have dissipated.
- The Bobcats are 1-13 all-time at Quicken Loans Arena, which is the worst record by a visiting team. They also are 4-31 since Nov. 26 after opening the season with seven wins in their first 12 games.
– Brian Dulik
SUNS AT CAVALIERS, 7 P.M. ET
November 27, 2012 · 6:18PM
TV: League Pass
- Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao leads the NBA in rebounding with a 14.7 average and is working on a streak of five straight double-doubles. The mop-topped Brazilian is averaging 13.6 points and 17.6 rebounds during that span. “The way Anderson is rebounding the ball right now, the only comparison you can make is to (NBA all-time great) Dennis Rodman,” Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. “So many players assume every shot is going to be made, but he plays every shot like it’s going to be missed. That’s really why he’s such a great rebounder.”
- Phoenix rallied from a 26-point deficit to beat Cleveland 107-105 at US Airways Center on Nov. 9. It was the third-largest comeback in Suns history, as well as the biggest blown lead by the Cavaliers since 1980 (when the NBA began tracking the statistic). “We definitely don’t want to be in a hole like that again, but it did allow us to show everyone what kind of a winning attitude we have,” Phoenix shooting guard Shannon Brown said.
- The Suns’ lineup consists of Brown, point guard Goran Dragic, small forward Michael Beasley, power forward Markieff Morris, and center Marcin Gortat. Phoenix is 0-1 on its current six-game, 10-day road trip — its longest of the 2012-2013 season — and has a 1-5 overall record in away games.
- Cleveland will start Varejao, power forward Tristan Thompson, small forward Alonzo Gee, shooting guard Dion Waiters, and point guard Jeremy Pargo. The Cavaliers have lost three straight games, all on the road, but are 2-2 at Quicken Loans Arena this season.
- Inactive for the Suns are center Channing Frye (enlarged heart) and point guard Diante Garrett. Not in uniform for Cleveland are point guard Kyrie Irving (left index finger fracture) and power forward Luke Harangody (right knee surgery).
- Reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Irving is not expected to return to action until mid-December, but he did work out and attempt many shots on the arena’s main court before the game. His broken finger remains in a splint and was heavily wrapped in blue tape.
– Brian Dulik