Injury report:Tobias Harris (ankle) questionable.
Officials: Tom Washington, Nick Buchert, Derrick Collins
Series: First meeting
* Kyrie Irving has a sizable lead already in All-Star voting and seems destined to start the Feb. 16 game in New Orleans. Irving already has nearly as many votes after one set of returns (365,712) as he did all of last season (445,730).
* Derrick Rose is third behind Dwyane Wade and Irving, but will miss the rest of the season. His total will presumably decline as voting continues, leaving the Wizards’ John Wall as the next threat to Irving – and Wall only had 124,851 votes as of Thursday’s announcement.
* “It’d mean a lot if it happens,” Irving said this morning. “It’s a credit to a lot of hard work this summer coming into the season, but until they name the starters, I’ll continue to work for my teammates.”
* Irving’s popularity certainly has been helped by the “Uncle Drew” character he created for Pepsi Max, but he didn’t seem to think the character impacted voting much.
* “I think it’s attributed to it, but this is my job out here,” Irving said. “Uncle Drew wasn’t anything that was part of my job, I just kind of did it on my own. Just part of my branding team working hard. You have to perform on the court.”
* Irving has a financial incentive to be voted a starter because it would get him halfway to that coveted “Derrick Rose exception” status. Under the new collective bargaining agreement, Irving is entitled to 30 percent of the salary cap in his next contract if he meets various criteria. One of those is to be voted in as a starter in two All-Star games during his rookie deal. It’s impossible to calculate exact figures now, but if Irving is voted in this year as an All-Star starter and again next season, it could mean the difference of about $15 million over the life of his next deal (provided he signs a max contract).
* “It’s great. He's a developing superstar,” Mike Brown said. “It's part of his growth process to be able to experience stuff like that. It's great to be an All-Star. It's better to be an All-Star if you can really help your team continue to grow and propel into a winning organization and I think that's the direction that he's headed.”
* The ongoing experiment of turning Victor Oladipo into a point guard continues tonight against the Cavs. Oladipo is now starting on the wing, but the Magic are entrusting him to bring the ball up and initiate despite Jameer Nelson also on the floor. Oladipo has enjoyed terrific moments, such as a triple-double against the Sixers, but he’s also struggled with games of seven, eight and nine turnovers.
* The Magic’s roster is still in flux. They have veterans they’d likely be open to moving, such as Nelson, Arron Afflalo and Glen Davis, along with budding stars like Oladipo and Nikola Vucevic.
* “They’re still relatively young, but they are an up-and-coming ball club,” Brown said. “They do have some nice pieces. They do play hard. They are a dangerous team. They can either score a ton of points or get stops. They've shown the ability to do both. For us, it's a game we have to make sure we're focused on and we're not thinking about the next game (Miami).”
* The Cavs’ 1-10 road mark is well documented. This is what they need to get, particularly with the Heat looming Saturday night on the second night of a back-to-back. Thank the NBA schedule makers for that one.
* The Magic will likely have a short video tribute tonight for Earl Clark. I know, right? But as part of the Magic’s 25th season, they honor all players with any previous ties to the Magic when they travel through. It might be Clark’s first tribute video in his life.