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- 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.
– Brian Dulik