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Cleveland Cavaliers

Pregame: Cavs at Bobcats

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 16, 2012

Cleveland Cavaliers (5-6) at Charlotte Bobcats (3-10)
Time: 2 p.m.; Venue: Time Warner Cable Arena; TV/Radio: FS Ohio/WTAM, WAKR, WHBC
Cavs probables: PG Kyrie Irving (17.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 5.1 apg), SG Anthony Parker (7.0, 2.9, 2.3), SF Omri Casspi (6.7, 2.4, 2.5), PF Antawn Jamison (16.5, 5.5, 1.1), C Anderson Varejao (9.5, 11.2, 1.5)
Bobcats probables: PG D.J. Augustin (14.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 7.3 apg), SG Kemba Walker (11.1, 2.8, 3.0), SF Gerald Henderson (14.4, 4.8, 2.0), PF Tyrus Thomas (7.8, 4.5, 0.5), C Byron Mullens (13.0, 5.0, 0.5)
Injuries: Cavs -- None; Bobcats -- Corey Maggette (knee) out, Eduardo Najera (knee) out, Reggie Williams (knee) out
Officials: Monty McCutchen, Leon Wood, Haywoode Workman

Notes
* The Cavs were able to swing through Cleveland and give the players a night at home Saturday night. They stayed in Los Angeles Friday night, flew home Saturday, practiced later than usual Sunday and arrived in Charlotte Sunday night for today'sddd game.

* It was a bit surprising coach Byron Scott didn't go straight to Charlotte from Los Angeles, giving the coach an extra day at his L.A. home. But he wanted to get the guys back home for at least one night after such a long road trip. I'm sure the wives appreciated it.

* Today's rare afternoon game on Martin Luther King Day comes against a struggling Bobcats team that recently snapped a six-game losing streak. Coach Paul Silas, in an effort to shake the slump, inserted rookie Kemba Walker into the starting lineup Saturday against Golden State.

* Walker responded with a career-high 23 points and the Bobcats won for the first time since Jan. 4. The Bobcats shot 50 percent from the floor and scored 48 points in the paint in the win, but the new lineup is not without shortcomings.

* Regardless of their listed heights, neither Augustin nor Walker is 6 feet tall. That leaves the Bobcats incredibly small in the backcourt and will likely force them into playing a lot of zone today against the Cavs. Both Cavs guards Irving and Parker will have a considerable size advantage, not to mention that Charlotte's Gerald Henderson is defending small forwards for the first time in his career.

* Former Ohio State star Byron Mullens is resurrecting his career this season in Charlotte. The Bobcats picked the former lottery pick off the scrap heap for a couple of second-round picks and he's finally learning how to use his body and play in this league. He is well on his way to earning the league's Most Improved Player award.

* The Bobcats are going nowhere fairly quickly this season, but this will still be a difficult game for the Cavs simply because it comes at the end of a long and winding road trip. Even though they were able to stop home for a night Saturday, it simply felt like one more road stop on a two-week trip. Today's game is the final stop on a seven-game trip that spanned 13 days and games in all four time zones. It is easily the longest trip of the season, so getting it out of the way early is probably a good thing.

* I was impressed with how well Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson played on the second night of a back-to-back against the Lakers on Friday. Both were awful in their first attempt at playing on consecutive nights, which is actually how this trip began. I didn't get a chance to talk to Thompson about it, but Irving said he switched up his pregame routine prior to the Lakers game and had a plate of spaghetti and meatballs. Prior to Toronto, he only had a handful of pretzels. "I don't know what I was thinking," Irving joked. Kids these days...

* Semih Erden's numbers since returning from a fractured thumb have been awful, but I learned long ago it's not my job to judge who can play in this league and who can't. So I consulted a scout about Erden's play on the tail end of this road trip. "I think he's playing like crap," I said. "There's a lot of guys who smell a lot worse than him," the scout said.

* His point was that Erden is huge, a legitimate 7 footer with some meat on those bones. Yes, his offensive game is rough, but the scout likes the way he has defended. I pointed out his incredible ability to foul (15 fouls in 52 minutes). "Well, he's a bruiser, I'll give him that," he said.

* The main point he was trying to get across is there are a lot of big guys in this league with less ability. Scott said it was unfair to judge Erden based on these first 10 games because he's still playing his way into basketball shape. But sooner or later, I'd like to see the guy make a basket. Just one.

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