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Pregame: Magic (14-35) at Cavs (15-34)

By Jason Lloyd Published: February 8, 2013
Magic players
The Magic have lost 11 straight, but leading scorer Arron Afflalo is expected to make his return tonight against the Cavs. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

 

Time: 7:30 p.m.; Place: The Q; TV/Radio: FS Ohio/WTAM, WLEC, WAKR

Injury report: CavsAnderson Varejao (knee, lung) out; Magic: Glen Davis (foot) out, Al Harrington (knee) out, J.J. Redick (shoulder) out.

Officials: Mike Callahan, Kevin Cutler, Gary Zielinski

Series: Magic lead 1-0

 

Cavs probables

Name Ht, Wt Pts Rebs Asts
PG Kyrie Irving 6-3, 191 24.0 3.5 5.4
SG Dion Waiters 6-4, 221 14.2 2.5 3.2
SF Alonzo Gee 6-6, 219 10.4 4.0 2.0
PF Tristan Thompson 6-9, 227 11.1 9.3 1.3
C Tyler Zeller 7-0, 250 8.1 6.1 1.2

 

 

Magic probables

Name Ht, Wt Pts Rebs Asts
PG Jameer Nelson 6-0, 190 15.0 3.9 7.2
SG Arron Afflalo 6-4, 191 16.7 3.8 3.0
SF Mo Harkless 6-8, 210 4.8 3.8 0.5
PF Andrew Nicholson 6-9, 250 7.3 3.4 0.4
C Nikola Vucevic 7-0, 240 12.1 11.4 1.6
 

Notebook

* The Magic come limping into the Q fairly banged up and dragging the league's longest current losing streak (11 games) into tonight's game. But the last wounded team to face the Cavaliers, the Warriors, drilled them by 13. Not to mention, the Cavs have lost 10 straight to the Magic. Their last win in this series was Feb. 11, 2010.

* After an impressive start to the post-Dwight Howard era, the Magic have come crashing back to earth. Injuries have played a big part in that. Leading scorer Arron Afflalo is expected to return after missing the last six games with a strained calf, but J.J. Redick will not play. Injuries have forced the Magic to use 17 starting lineups in coach Jacque Vaughn's first year. They've only used the Nelson/Afflalo/Harkless/Nicholson/Vucevic lineup one other time and lost the game. 

* If this recent surge continues, the turning point to this season will be the two days off between the end of the West Coast trip and the home game against Boston on Jan. 22. That's when Scott told Kyrie Irving the ball will be in his hands the majority of the time and that he needs to attack.

* Prior to that, the Cavs experimented with letting Dion Waiters initiate the offense for stretches and leaving Irving off the ball. They tried splitting the two up, sending Waiters to the bench. Finally, after a disappointing West Coast trip left Irving wondering when to attack and when to facilitate, Scott essentially said enough is enough.

* Scott went to Waiters and told him he needs to run the floor and Kyrie needs to handle the ball as much as possible. "When Kyrie gives it up, the next best option is now we're swinging it and you're on the other side," Scott told Waiters. "Now you get to come off and play pick and roll and be aggressive.  He finally started to understand exactly what we were trying to get to and obviously it's been working pretty well."

* Scott said he will not try to limit Irving's minutes during the Rising Stars challenge, and that how much he plays is entirely up to Irving. Shaquille O'Neal conceded on Inside the NBA he selected Portland's Damian Lillard first because of concerns Irving won't play very much.

* Shaq was burned last year when he selected Blake Griffin first overall, then Griffin only played about 10 minutes because (like Irving) he was scheduled to play in the real All-Star game two nights later. Shaq didn't want to get burned again, but Charles Barkely bypassed him, too, although Barkley didn't really offer a reason why.

* Irving won the MVP award for the Rising Stars game and led Team Charles to victory after Barkley selected him first (second overall behind Griffin). Perhaps because of the same concern over minutes, this time Barkley elected to take Hornets rookie Anthony Davis. Shaq snatched Irving with the third overall pick.

* Irving, Waiters and Tyler Zeller are all on Team Shaq, leaving Tristan Thompson as the lone Cavs player on Team Charles. "I am the lone wolf. That's always happened to me in my life, I've always been the outcast," Thompson joked this morning following shootaround. "That's all right. I've got Ricky Rubio and I've got some good bigs. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing for us. We're going to compete and get this win. I'm 0-1." Thompson was separated from Irving in last year's game, too.

* With Irving in the Rising Stars game on Friday, the 3-point shootout on Saturday and the All-Star game on Sunday -- not to mention the charitable work the players do over the break and his meetings with sponsors -- Irving won't get any rest over this All-Star break. 

* "They're going to run him ragged, there's no doubt about that," Scott said. "So obviously when we come back to practice on that Monday night, I'm not going to have him do a whole lot. Try to save his energy as much as possible because it's going to be a busy weekend for him. He's going to be very busy. The only thing I'll tell him is take care of himself and enjoy it."

* As for the 3-point contest, Scott said they'll pull out the racks and put Irving through a dry run after practice on Tuesday so he knows what to expect going in. Scott was quick to mention he finished third in the 3-point shootout in 1988 behind Larry Bird and Dale Ellis. But he forgot he also competed the year before -- and finished with the lowest first round score and failed to advance. "That one minute is a lot of time," Scott said. "I told him he has to beat what I did. I was third, so he has to beat that."

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