INDIANAPOLIS: Some quick pregame notes as Cavs and Pacers inch close to tip-off…
* No Andrew Bynum tonight. That was to be expected after he played last night. There was an erroneous report on NBA.com that Bynum had a stress fracture in his foot. It’s pretty bad when the league’s reporters can’t even get the story straight, but there is no truth to it. His feet are fine. The error has since been corrected.
* Kyrie Irving’s elbow is fine. His right arm was numb after he banged his elbow last night, but x-rays were negative and he said the feeling started to return by the end of the game. “It’s all good,” he said. “I’m good.”
* Dion Waiters, however, is not. Waiters was essentially benched for the second half last night, although he’s back in the starting lineup tonight. Mike Brown didn’t specify what exactly Waiters did he didn’t like, but Brown referenced a number of silly reach-in fouls and Waiters acknowledged he had a couple silly fouls. But he is struggling with his shot, too, and the Cavs received just 2 points out of their starting shooting guard and small forward.
* When asked if Brown was more unhappy with his offense or defense, Waiters said, “I think it was more the defensive end, but I don’t know why because I feel I was playing hard in the post. Had a couple silly fouls, but other than that I can’t tell you. Only he can.”
* I asked Waiters how he responds when he gets benched – anger, upset, reflection – but he said he wasn’t sure. “People handle things differently,” he said. “Was I happy I wasn’t out there? I was more upset than anything. But there’s nothing I can do at the end of the day.”
* Rookie Anthony Bennett enters tonight 0 for 8 through his first two games, and five of his eight shots have been 3-pointers. Bennett said all of his teammates have told him to ease off the 3-pointers and look for easier ways to score. “They’ve all been telling me that and been preaching that,” he said. “I’m going to try to be a little more aggressive.”
* Bennett admitted the NBA is a huge adjustment from where he has been. When I asked him what has been the biggest adjustment, he said everything. “This is a huge transition from college to pros,” he said. “I have to get familiar with my teammates, the pace of the game, the coaching staff … everything.”
* The Pacers are without starting point guard George Hill (sore hip). C.J. Watson is starting in his place.
* It’s only two games, but the Cavs began the night 27th in the league in shooting percentage. “We’re not doing a great job just trying to play the right way in terms of helping your teammates,” Brown said. “We always talk about, ‘Make your teammates better.’ Well how do you do that? You move the ball, you pass on time, you make scoring cuts, you set solid screens, you space the floor the right way and we have to get better in those areas while trying to get better with our execution of each specific play set.”
* Brown was able to watch his son, Elijah, play an exhibition game this afternoon for Butler at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Elijah Brown, a freshman, had 18 points off the bench in a 93-68 win over Depauw. “To be in Hinkle Fieldhouse to watch my son, that was unbelievable for me,” Brown said. “That was really good.” Elijah is bringing his Butler teammates to tonight’s game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and even has a suite. It’s Elijah, his buddies … and his mom. “We’ll see how that turns out,” Brown joked.
* It’s been a long travel day. Heavy fog this morning in Charlotte, N.C. delayed my flight three times before it was finally cancelled. I landed in Indianapolis after eight hours stuck in the airport and took a cab directly to the arena. Looong day.