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
KINGS AT CAVALIERS, 6 P.M. ET
February 19, 2012 · 5:19PM
TV: League Pass
- Cavaliers shooting guards Daniel “Boobie” Gibson (left ankle sprain) and Anthony Parker (lower back strain) remain out, making Alonzo Gee the starter for a third straight game. Cleveland coach Byron Scott said Gibson has a 50-50 chance of returning before the NBA All-Star break, while Parker’s status will be updated Monday. Center Anderson Varejao (right wrist fracture) is also inactive and expected to miss the next 4-6 weeks. “We’ll have the same guys tonight that we’ve been going with,” Scott said.
- Kings power forward J.J. Hickson spent his first three pro seasons with the Cavaliers before being traded last summer for small forward Omri Casspi. Hickson, who was the 19th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, will be a free agent following this season. “I’m not having the year I wanted to have, not personally and not winning,” said Hickson, who is averaging 5.2 points and 5.4 rebounds for Sacramento. “But (earning a new contract) is gonna take care of itself.”
- The Kings rank last in the league in field goal percentage (.409) and in points allowed (101.6), which is a combination that makes Scott nervous, even though the Cavaliers own the NBA’s second-best rebounding percentage (.520). “Because they’re only shooting 40 percent from the floor, there will be lots of opportunities for second-chance points,” the coach explained. “We’ve got to prevent that tonight from happening on the boards.”
- The Kings will start point guard Isaiah Thomas, shooting guard Marcus Thornton, small forward Tyreke Evans, power forward Jason Thompson, and center DeMarcus Cousins. Sacramento coach Keith Smart, who began his NBA head coaching career with the Cavaliers in 2003, reported no injuries on his 14-man roster. Rookie forward Tyler Honeycutt is the Kings’ lone inactive.
- Cleveland’s starting lineup includes point guard Kyrie Irving, power forward Antawn Jamison, center Semih Erden, Casspi, and Gee. Casspi also has struggled in his new surroundings, shooting just .418 from the floor and .596 from the foul line while starting all 28 games. “I think Omri is progressing nicely, but it’s coming slower than we expected and slower than he wants,” Scott said.
- Cleveland is 2-3 on its franchise-record long nine-game homestand, while Sacramento is 0-3 on its six-game road trip.
– Brian Dulik