Originally written November 26, 2012 on Fox Sports Ohio:
OPENING TIP Eventually, the Cavaliers will get to play some scrubs -- at home. Honest. There will be a team when the NBA's bottom-feeders will have to visit The Q, and the Cavs will receive an opportunity to feast upon them. That's just the way it goes in this league. Everybody has to play everybody else on the road. So far, the Cavs have not had that luxury. Instead, they've played nine of their 13 games on the road. Of those first 13, all but four made the playoffs last season. That includes both of the returning Finalists -- Oklahoma City and Miami. The Cavs lost both, but didn't have standout point guard and leading scorer Kyrie Irving for the latter. They still led most of the way, and it took a heartbreaker from Ray Allen for the Heat to escape. Now, the Cavs get to try it again. Tonight in Memphis, they will again be without Irving, who's a week into his projected four-week absence. They again will be facing a playoff team from last year -- and the Grizzlies arguably have the best in the West this year. They beat Miami at home, by 18 points. They beat Oklahoma City on the road. They've been together awhile, with the same coach in Lionel Hollins, and primarily the same lineup, led by forwards Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph, center Marc Gasol and point guard Mike Conley Jr. The Grizzlies are cohesive, deep and are now armed with two years of postseason experience. Three weeks into the season, they're everybody's sleeper. Only they're not really sleeping. They're wide awake and dreaming. As for the Cavs, well, you know the story. They're sort of like Memphis was three or four years ago. They're very young, still finding their way and hoping to pull off the occasional surprise. A win over the Grizzlies without Irving would be that type of nice surprise. But even if the Cavs aren't yet ready to pull off an upset, they should be able to survive knowing that, soon enough, it will be their turn to face the duds at home. VENUE FexExForum, Memphis TIP-OFF 8 p.m. TELEVISION FOX Sports Ohio HD (Cavaliers Live pregame show at 7:30 p.m.) RADIO 1100-WTAM AM (broadcast begins at 7:30 p.m.) PROJECTED STARTERS Cavs C Anderson Varejao; PF Tristan Thompson; SF Alonzo Gee; SG Dion Waiters; PG Jeremy Pargo. Coach: Byron Scott. Grizzlies C - Marc Gasol; PF - Zach Randolph; SF - Rudy Gay; SG - Tony Allen; PG - Mike Conley Jr. Coach: Lionel Hollins. NOTABLE The Cavs lead all-time, 21-10, but have lost two straight in the series. ... Pargo played in 44 games as a rookie with Memphis last season, averaging 2.9 points in very limited action. ... In three games as a starter with the Cavs, Pargo is averaging 19.7 points and shooting 44 percent on three-pointers. ... The Cavs committed a season-low 11 turnovers in the loss to Miami. ... Scott played for the Grizzlies in their expansion season (1995), when the team was located in Vancouver. He prefers not to remember those days. ... Both Scott and Hollins have had their number retired by Arizona State. Follow Sam Amico on Twitter @SamAmicoFSO
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