Game 75: Pacers at Cavs
7 p.m. Wednesday
They've beaten the Magic six times in a row, including the last two on the road.
Guard Kyrie Irving is expected back in the starting lineup for tonight's game. Obviously, he is their best player. However, the potential is there for him to muck up what the Cavs have accomplished in the last eight games.
Coach Mike Brown said Irving will start when he does come back. But for whom?
It's not cut-and-dry. On one hand, one has Dion Waiters, who averaged 22 points and 5.1 assists in the previous eight games. The other option would be to sit down Jarrett Jack, who has emerged into the team's floor general in Irving's absence.
Jack has averaged 15 points, 3.9 rebounds and 5.9 rebounds. My educated guess is that Jack will remain in the starting lineup, and Waiters will return to his sixth-man role.
Since Jack has been starting - at least in the last two weeks - he has helped move the ball and move bodies on offense.
Then, Waiters can come in and do his thing.
On the night they are expected to get Irving back, they'll be playing without their best big in Anderson Varejao, who sprained the AC joint in his right shoulder. It's unfortunate that this guy just can't stay on the court.
I hear from people all the time, "Trade Andy." It's not as simple as that. It would be next to impossible to find a replacement for that kind of production and hustle.
But the fact remains he just can't stay healthy. He's averaging 8.6 points and a team-high 10 rebounds per game.
What that means is Spencer Hawes, Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller must fill the void. They must attack the glass. The Cavs must also get some rebounding from their wing players to stay afloat.
This is a chance for Zeller to get some major minutes. He has played well in spurts this season. He's a quality player. Now's the time to show everyone that.
The Cavs signed Scotty Hopson for the rest of the season. Don't expect him to get any time.
Forward Anthony Bennett didn't make the trip due to personal reasons. I wouldn't expect Varejao to play in either of the two road games, either.
Swingman C.J. Miles (sprained left ankle) and shooting guard Carrick Felix (fractured patella) are also out, probably for the duration.
UP NEXT: The Cavs travel to Atlanta at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Philips Arena.
C Spencer Hawes (7-1, 245) vs. Nikola Vucevic (7-0, 250)
Magic - N/A