Cleveland Cavaliers (16-26) at New Jersey Nets (15-31)
Time: 7:30 p.m., Venue: Prudential Center, TV/Radio: Fox Sports Ohio/WTAM, WAKR, WHBC
Cavs probables: PG Kyrie Irving (18.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 5.6 apg), SG Anthony Parker (5.9, 2.2, 2.2), SF Alonzo Gee (10.8, 4.4, 1.6), PF Antawn Jamison (18.5, 6.4, 1.9), C Tristan Thompson (6.7, 5.7, 0.4)
Nets probables: PG Deron Williams (22.0 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 8.1 apg), SG Marshon Brooks (13.3, 3.7, 2.3), SF Gerald Wallace (13.2, 6.5, 2.7), PF Kris Humphries (13.3, 10.9, 1.3), C Shelden Williams (4.9, 6.1, 0.6)
Injury report: Cavs – Anderson Varejao (wrist) out, Nets – Shelden Williams (shoulder) probable, Jordan Farmar (groin) questionable, Brook Lopez (ankle) out, Damion James (foot) out
Officials: David Jones, Scott Bolnick, Eric Dalen
* The Cavs and Nets went in drastically different directions at the trade deadline despite being in drastically different positions in the standings. On the cusp of the playoffs, the Cavs traded away Ramon Sessions in an effort to improve long term. The Nets traded their first-round pick, with just a top three protection, to Portland in exchange for Gerald Williams.
* Williams is a nice player, but it reeked of a panic move after the Nets learned they couldn’t have Dwight Howard this season or next. Until Howard signed the paper ensuring he would return to Orlando next season, the Nets were frantically trying to clear payroll at the trade deadline in an effort to create room to sign both Howard and re-sign Williams in the offseason.
* Now the Nets are a mess of a franchise with no clear direction – and now no first-round pick, either.
* Center continues to be a huge concern for the Cavs, in part because neither of the two guys Byron Scott is using there right now are true centers. He went with Tristan Thompson and Samardo Samuels as his centers in Sunday’s loss to the Hawks and Scott thought both were manhandled by Zaza Pachulia, who isn’t much of a player, but at 275 pounds he outweighed both Thompson and Samuels by about 50 pounds each.
* The Cavs’ two actual centers, Ryan Hollins and Semih Erden, remained planted on the bench in Sunday’s loss. After Samuels had five turnovers on Sunday, one or both may soon get another chance.
* Thompson should ultimately be just fine, but as long as he remains at center, there will be plenty more nights when he is giving up 40 or 50 pounds to his opponent. He’ll have to find ways to his quickness to combat that, similar to how J.J. Hickson did last year at center despite being undersized.
* I hope the Cavs don’t give up on Samuels after the season. He has been incredibly inconistent, but he also looks uncomfortable playing center. Guys can say the 4 and the 5 are interchangeable all they want, but they’re really not. Samuels is proof of that.
* I was shocked to see J.J. Hickson released by the Kings today. Hickson and the Kings reached a buyout on his contract, which is set to expire at the end of the season. It was evident from his trip into Cleveland that Hickson was absolutely miserable in Sacramento and he didn't produce at all, costing himself millions and millions of dollars in free agency.
* The Cavs, of course, dealt Hickson to the Kings last summer in exchange for Omri Casspi and a first-round pick. While Casspi has been a disappointment, the Cavs would have to be considered the winners in that trade given today's events.
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