- 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