Without Kyrie Irving, the Cavaliers will have to well, theres no easy answer that to that one. Truth is, without Irving, we have no idea what the Cavs can do.
With Irving, they won just two of their first 10 games. Some of that has to do with their brutal schedule, in which the Cavs played just three home games (and even that was a followed by a game the next night in another city).
Now, the Cavs have another quick stop at home -- followed by three more on the road. This for a team that features two rookies (Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller) and two second-year guys (Irving and Tristan Thompson) among its top six players.
Thanks a lot, NBA.
No matter, Irving is out (potentially a month) with a broken finger, and the Cavs have to find a way to persevere. Or at the very least, survive.
It doesnt really matter who replaces Irving in the starting lineup. The candidates, according to coach Byron Scott, are Donald Sloan and Jeremy Pargo. Sloan is a minor-league regular although he started several games for the Cavs when Irving was hurt last season. And Pargo is in his first season with the team after warming the bench in Memphis last year.
Neither can replace Irving, and neither is expected to. Instead, the Cavs will need to find points, strong decision-making and general willpower from everyone. Replacing Irving is, for the most part, a 12-man job.
So Scott and the Cavs will turn to Sloan and Pargo (no starter was announced as of late Tuesday). Theyll likely increase the minutes (and responsibility) of Daniel Gibson, whos been fairly effective off the bench. And yes, Waiters is likely to handle the ball more as well.
He wont start at point or anything like that, Scott said of Waiters. But hes going to play some point, hes been playing some point during the season and hell play a little more.
If Scott sounded vague, its probably not on purpose. Hes probably like the rest of us. Hes probably wondering how the Cavs are going to make this work without Irving.
Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland
7 p.m. EST
FOX Sports Ohio HD (Cavaliers Live pre-game show begins at 6:30 p.m.)
Cleveland - WTAM-1100 AM (broadcast begins at 6:30 p.m.)
C Kwame Brown; PF Thaddeus Young; SF Evan Turner; SG Jason Richardson; PG Jrue Holiday. Coach: Doug Collins.
C Anderson Varejao; PF Tristan Thompson; SF Alonzo Gee; SG Dion Waiters; PG Donald Sloan. Coach: Byron Scott.
Irving scored just nine points on 4-of-14 shooting in Sundays loss. He admitted his injured index finger, broken the night before in a loss Dallas, affected his play. ... Gee scored a season-high 17 points in the previous Cavs-Sixers game. Former Ohio State star and No. 2 overall draft pick (2010) Evan Turner scored 19 to lead the Sixers. The Cavs outscored the Sixers 44-24 in the paint, but still only shot 36 percent from the floor. The Sixers led by just two (75-73) late, but Turner and Spencer Hawes hit consecutive jumpers to pretty much put it away with 3:01 remaining. The Sixers lead the all-time series, 98-87, and have won six straight in the series.
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