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Cleveland Cavaliers

Pregame: Cavs at Lakers

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 13, 2012

Cleveland Cavaliers (5-5) at Los Angeles Lakers (8-4)
Time: 10:30 p.m.; Venue: Staples Center; TV/Radio: FS Ohio/WTAM, WAKR, WHBC
Cavs probables: PG Kyrie Irving, SG Anthony Parker, SF Omri Casspi, PF Antawn Jamison, C Anderson Varejao
Lakers probables: PG Derek Fisher, SG Kobe Bryant, SF Matt Barnes, PF Pau Gasol, C Andrew Bynum
Injury report: Cavs -- none; Lakers -- Steve Blake (ribs) questionable, Kobe Bryant (wrist) probable, Derrick Caracter (knee) out, Pau Gasol (shoulder) probable, Josh McRoberts (toe, thumb) doubtful, Troy Murphy (gastroenteritis) questionable.
Officials: Scott Foster, Dick Bavetta, Karl Lane
Notes
* The Cavaliers and Mike Brown will be reunited tonight. Just as in Cleveland, Brown is paired with another moody superstar who just wants to win, but can be difficult on coaches. Brown is trying to install his defensive principles into a team that has long been known for firsst its "Showtime" offense and then later Phil Jackson's triangle offense.

* You can be sure Byron Scott will remind his guys of last season's horrendous debacle, when the Cavs were whipped 113-57 here. It was easily the worst loss of the season in a filled with many contenders. It was so bad, it took Scott about 36 hours to shake the loss. Normally when he wakes up the next day, he is over the previous night's game and ready to move on. But not that one.

* Maybe a team full of youngsters was intimidated by the Lakers' mystique or the aura of a Lakers game. Maybe they just had a bad night. Regardless, it's safe to say it won't happen again.

* This Cavs team is playing with a tremendous amount of confidence right now. They believe in each other and they believe they can win every night. I don't think that was true last season. Of course, at 5-5, this team has the same record as last year's team had before the rails came off the season.

* Even without Lamar Odom, the Lakers have a ton of size with Gasol and Bynum. That will pose a big threat to a Cavs' frontcourt that has been inconsistent beyond Anderson Varejao.

* Semih Erden has looked awful in three games. Scott remains committed to him and said it will take him 10 games just to knock the rust off. The Cavs aren't going anywhere this season and have time to give him, but he has to start showing something soon. He fouled out in 12 minutes Thursday night and hasn't shown an ability to do much besides foul.

* Bad wrist or not, Kobe Bryant is averaging 30 points and playing well. Kyrie Irving rose to the challenge of facing Steve Nash on Thursday, and while he likely won't be asked to defend Bryant, it will be interesting to see if Irving raises his game to match Bryant's scoring. He certainly shouldn't be asked or expected to match Bryant shot for shot, but if the Cavs have any chance at winning tonight, Irving will probably need another game similar to the one he produced against the Suns.

* Of course, this is Irving's second set of back-to-back games as a pro. He wasn't very good the first time it happened and Scott said he looked exhausted five minutes into the second game. Let's see if he looks any better this time. By the way, this is game No. 11 for Irving -- exactly how many games he played in all of last season at Duke.

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