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Cavs (2-3) at Sixers (3-2); pregame notes

By Jason Lloyd Published: November 8, 2013
Sixers flames
Flames illuminate the court as the Philadelphia 76ers are introduced before a game this week. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

PHILADELPHIA: Pregame thoughts prior to Andrew Bynum's return to Philadelphia...

* Mike Brown said this morning no decision had been made yet regarding Andrew Bynum's availability, but he always says that during morning shootarounds. He never really gives an affirmative yes until right before the game.

* Bynum, however, went through the entire shootaround this morning, so I'd expect him to play. As for the reception he'll get, I was actually expecting more media and more vitriol following Thursday's practice. It was relatively subdued. I'd expect the crowd to boo him tonight, but that's about it. 

* There are those within the Cavs organization who think Bynum's comments about considering retirement are natural at this stage of his recovery. Some days are better than others, some are worse. 

* Bynum worked hard over the summer, worked harder probably than any other offseason in his life. He did everything the doctors and trainers asked, he got back on the court ... and he still has pain in his knees. Now he has to decide how much discomfort is tolerable and if all of this is worth it. 

* The Cavs keep comparing Bynum's recovery to the foot problems Zydrunas Ilgauskas endured. Like Bynum, Ilgauskas lost a lot of his athleticism and mobility following multiple foot surgeries. But Ilgauskas adapted and still retired as the Cavs' all-time leader in games played. Bynum has to decide if his new way of playing is worth it. 

* The Sixers have come crashing back to reality following a remarkable 3-0 start that included wins over the Heat and Bulls. Since then, they've lost to the Warriors and Wizards by an average of 17 points. 

* This is a terrible Sixers team, but the Cavs have struggled on the road this season. They get the Sixers at home Saturday and there's really no reason not to win both of these games.

* Rookie guard Michael Carter-WIlliams is the reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week, making him the second rookie ever to win the award after his first week in the league and the first since Shaquille O'Neal. Carter-Williams played with Dion Waiters at Syracuse.

* "It's going to be the same as it was in college when we went at it," Waiters said. "We came from similar backgrounds. My freshman year and his freshman year he came off the bench, he played behind me. It should be interesting."

* After further review, Kyrie Irving conceded this morning he should've used the screen last week in the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Irving twice waived off Anderson Varejao, who was coming up to run pick-and-roll with Irving, but Irving waived him off both times because he wanted to beat J.J. Barea off the dribble himself. 

* This is obviously the first time Brown and Irving have worked together, and right now both sides said they're going through some trial-and-error with late-game situations. They never really had the chance to work on it during the preseason because the Cavs rarely had their entire lineup healthy and playing together, plus there weren't any real end-game situations. 

* But already in four of the Cavs' first five games, they've been put in situations where they needed a basket late in the game. Varejao hit a big shot from the free-throw line to beat the Nets on opening night and Jarrett Jack launched an ill-advised 3-pointer near the end of a loss at Charlotte. Since then, Irving had the ball in his hands against both the Timberwolves and Bucks. He had a good look, but missed against the Timberwolves after beating Barea off the dribble, then missed on two chances against the Bucks when he first dribbled the ball off his foot, then missed a contested, off-balance 3-pointer from the wing. 

* "We've done it a little bit in practice but doing it in practice is one thing, doing it live is another thing, especially against another team," Brown said. "So I have a better feel of what these guys can do. I have a better feel of where I want to put them. And they have a better feel of what I want."

* Whenever the Cavs needed a basket late in games last season, Byron Scott put the ball in Irving's hands and told him to go make a play. There wasn't a lot of structure or play calling, it was just quickly getting the ball into the best player's hands and seeing what he could do. Brown wants it in his hands, too, but with a little more structure.

* "Kyrie is our best player, and the ball will end up in his hands and we'll ask him to go make a play at the top of the floor," Brown said. "But then there are other times we feel like we have some very good basketball players and good shot makers and good screeners. You've got Dion who can take the last shot. You've got C.J. who can take the last shot. you've got Jack who could take it. Other guys are going to have other opportunities, too, but the first option will be Kyrie a lot of times."

* Irving said he had Zaza Pachulia right where he wanted him when he was driving to the basket Wednesday at Milwaukee, he just dribbled it off his foot. But he conceded he should've used the screen Varejao was trying to set against theTimberwolves.

* "We should’ve put another pick-and-roll in and put Kevin Love in a pick-and-roll because he was dropping all night," Irving said. "It would’ve been me and him one-on-one to the basket."

* "We’r still figuring each other out," Irving said of he and Brown. "It’s different reads, different plays and we’re meeting each other 50/50."

* The Cavs should have a huge cheering section tonight. Dion Waiters is from Philadelphia and is expecting at least 100 people, Alonzo Gee has a lot of family in the area from his father's side and Jarrett Jack grew up in Washington, D.C. and still has big turnouts in Philly games. Waiters will have the most ticket demands, but all three players are expecting big crowds.

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