The Cavaliers continue to play without their top three scorers in All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving (left shoulder sprain), shooting guard Dion Waiters (left knee soreness), and center Anderson Varejao (season-ending right knee surgery). Irving and Waiters both worked out on the court before the game, raising hopes that they could return in early April. “If they’re out there, I guess that’s a good sign,” Cleveland coach Byron Scott said. “But I have no official update on their status.”
Reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Irving will miss his eighth straight game since being injured on March 10 at Toronto, while Waiters is sitting out his fourth contest in a row after being temporarily shut down by the Cavaliers’ medical staff. Irving, Waiters and Varejao have only played in 131 combined games out of a possible 210 this season. “We’ve got to figure out a way to stay healthy,” Scott said. “Those guys have to play more than half the season for us to be successful.”
The 76ers are 1-16 on the road since Jan. 2 and have the fifth-worst away record in the NBA at 7-26. Philadelphia is ninth in the Eastern Conference standings, but sits seven games behind Milwaukee in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot with 11 contests to play. “It’s been a tough year for our whole franchise,” 76ers coach Doug Collins said. “It’s a lot like what’s happened to Cleveland, where injuries have really affected what they were trying to do.”
Philadelphia’s lineup is point guard Jrue Holiday, shooting guard Damien Wilkins, small forward Evan Turner, power forward Thaddeus Young, and center Spencer Hawes. Wilkins — the son of former Cleveland shooting guard Gerald Wilkins — attended eighth grade at Revere Middle School, which was located several miles from the Cavaliers’ arena at the time, The Coliseum in suburban Richfield.
Cleveland’s starters are point guard Shaun Livingston, shooting guard Wayne Ellington, small forward Alonzo Gee, power forward Tristan Thompson, and rookie center Tyler Zeller. The Cavaliers were officially eliminated from postseason contention Thursday when the Bucks defeated the Lakers 113-103. Cleveland also is riding its longest losing streak of the season at six games.
The 76ers’ inactives are shooting guard Jason Richardson (season-ending left knee surgery) and center Andrew Bynum (season-ending knee surgery). Philadelphia leads the all-time series with the Cavaliers 98-88, including a 17-16 edge at Quicken Loans Arena, which opened with the 1994-1995 NBA season.
Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (flu) was listed as doubtful earlier in the day, but will play and start. “I went to the doctor and got checked out, so everything is OK,” Irving said, adding with a smile. “This is what 13 hours of sleep will do for you.” Irving is the fourth Cleveland player to be affected by the flu this week, but the Eastern Conference All-Star did not miss any games because of it. “Kyrie says he’s OK and so did (trainer Max Benton), so I guess he’s OK,” Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said. Irving is the seventh-leading scorer in the league at 23.2 points per game.
Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph (left ankle sprain) is out for the third game in a row, while power forward Darrell Arthur (back, neck soreness) will miss his second straight contest. Randolph — a Western Conference All-Star — was injured on March 1 at Miami. “We’ve played the last couple of games without Zach, so you just move down the line and get the next guy up,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said.
With Randolph not playing for Memphis, Ed Davis makes his second start in a row at power forward. Point guard MikeConley Jr., shooting guard Tony Allen, small forward Tayshaun Prince, and center Marc Gasol round out the first five. The Grizzlies are 10-1 since Feb. 8 and own the fourth-best record in the West at 40-19.
Cleveland shooting guards Dion Waiters (flu) and Daniel “Boobie” Gibson (flu) are active. Waiters missed two games with the illness, while Gibson sat out one. The Cavaliers’ starters are Irving, Waiters, small forward Alonzo Gee, power forward Tristan Thompson, and center Tyler Zeller.
Cleveland has won seven straight over the Grizzlies at home, making it 13-2 all-time against Memphis/Vancouver at Quicken Loans Arena. The Grizzlies’ last victory on the North Coast came on Nov. 29, 2003, which was LeBron James’ rookie season with the Cavaliers.
Inactive for Cleveland are small forward Omri Casspi (appendectomy) and center Anderson Varejao (season-ending right knee injury). Casspi participated in practice Thursday, but is not physically ready to play in games.
Jazz point guard Mo Williams (right thumb surgery) returns to action for the first time since Dec. 22 at Miami and will start. Williams had two torn ligaments repaired in a Jan. 4 operation, then had two pins removed from his thumb on Feb. 13. “Mo’s minutes will be guarded a little bit tonight, but we’re glad to have his energy back in the lineup,” Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said. “We’ll play it by ear how long he goes.” Former Cavaliers fan favorite Williams, who sat out the Jazz’s previous 32 games, is averaging 12.9 points and a team-high 6.7 assists in 24 contests this season.
Jazz center Al Jefferson (left ankle sprain) will miss his third straight contest, but Corbin said, “Al is getting better. When he’s ready to go, we’ll make the call to get him back in there.” Derrick Favors will start at center, alongside power forward Paul Millsap, small forward DeMarre Carroll, shooting guard Randy Foye, and Williams. Carroll replaces Marvin Williams in the lineup in what Corbin termed a “coach’s decision. I like the way DeMarre can run the floor.” This is Utah’s 12th different lineup in 61 games in 2012-2013.
The Cavaliers will only have 10 players in uniform as shooting guards DionWaiters (flu) and Daniel “Boobie” Gibson (flu) will not play. Center Tyler Zeller (flu) is starting after sitting out Cleveland’s 102-97 loss to New York on Monday. “The thing I like the most about Tyler is his competitiveness,” Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said. “I know he’s going to keep fighting and he’ll learn from everything he’s gone through this season.”
Cleveland’s lineup is NBA All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, shooting guard Wayne Ellington, small forward AlonzoGee, power forward Tristan Thompson, and Zeller. Ellington made his first start with the Cavaliers against the Knicks, but only scored seven points in 27 minutes. This is Cleveland’s 11th different starting five this season.
Inactive for the Cavaliers are small forward Omri Casspi (appendectomy) and center Anderson Varejao (season-ending right knee surgery), while the Jazz is not dressing Jefferson and shooting guard Raja Bell (not with team). Utah has won six straight games over Cleveland.
Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (hyperextended right knee) will start in his return from a three-game absence. The first-time NBA All-Star successfully participated in Cleveland’s morning shootaround, prompting coach Byron Scott to declare him good to go. “I really didn’t ask for the time off, but it was nice to have it,” said Irving, who last played on Feb. 24 at Miami. “My knee was really limiting my ability to go to the basket, but it’s all good now.” The reigning NBA Rookie of the Year was injured when he fell awkwardly to the floor during practice.
Cavaliers shooting guard Dion Waiters (illness) and center Tyler Zeller (illness) will not play. Both first-round draft picks were struck with the flu shortly after Cleveland’s 105-89 loss to the Clippers on Friday night, forcing them to spend time in the hospital Saturday. Shooting guard Wayne Ellington and center Marreese Speights — both acquired from Memphis in a Jan. 22 trade – will make their first starts with the Cavaliers in place of the aforementioned rookies.
Knicks coach Mike Woodson is keeping small forward James White in the starting lineup. White had zero points in eight minutes Sunday during New York’s 99-93 loss to Miami, marking his third straight scoreless game. “We’ll go the same way tonight and see how it turns out,” Woodson said. “I’m still fighting with our rotation, trying to figure out how to play this many guys. But it’s good to have that situation, especially with this many back-to-backs this week.”
Center Tyson Chandler, power forward Carmelo Anthony, shooting guard Iman Shumpert, and point guard Raymond Felton round out New York’s first five. Power forward Amar’e Stoudemire will continue to come off the bench, but Woodson said, “I’ve got to get him more than the 24-25 minutes we’ve been getting him. He’ll never play 40 minutes like Tyson and Melo are, but he needs more than (21) like he got last night against Miami.”
Joining Irving, Ellington, and Speights in Cleveland’s lineup are power forward Tristan Thompson and small forward Alonzo Gee. The Cavaliers will only have 10 players in uniform as small forward Omri Casspi (appendectomy) and center Anderson Varejao (season-ending right knee surgery) remain out.
The Knicks have lost 10 straight games at Quicken Loans Arena, last beating the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Nov. 29, 2006. New York’s inactives are small forward Chris Copeland and center Rasheed Wallace (left foot fracture), while power forward Kenyon Martin’s 10-day contract expires after the game.
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