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Cleveland Cavaliers

Pregame: Spurs (36-14) at Cavs (17-33)

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 3, 2012

7 p.m.; Quicken Loans Arena; FS Ohio/WTAM, WAKR, WHBC

 

Cavs probables

Name Ht, Wt Pts Rebs Asts
PG Kyrie Irving 6-3, 191 18.9 4.0 5.7
SG Anthony Parker 6-6, 210 6.2 2.4 2.4
SF Alonzo Gee 6-6, 219 10.8 4.9 1.7
PF Antawn Jamison 6-9, 235 17.5 6.5 1.9
C Tristan Thompson 6-9, 227 7.7 6.2 0.4

 

Spurs probables

Name Ht, Wt Pts Rebs Asts
PG Tony Parker 6-2, 180 19.3 2.8 8.0
SG Danny Green 6-6, 210 8.4 3.7 1.3
SF Kawhi Leonard 6-6, 225 8.2 5.4 0.9
PF Tim Duncan 6-11, 255 15.2 9.0 2.5
C DeJuan Blair 6-7, 270 9.6 5.7 1.2

 

Injuries: Cavs -- Kyrie Irving (shoulder) probable, Anderson Varejao (wrist) out, Daniel Gibson (ankle) out; Spurs -- None.

Officials: Dick Bavetta, Kevin Cutler, Mark Lindsay

Notes

* This had the makings for a disastrous night before Kyrie Irving was cleared to return. Irving participated in shootaround this morning and Cavs coach Byron Scott said he expects Irving to play tonight after missing one game with a sprained right shoulder.

* Even with Irving, the challenge in front of the Cavs is steep. The Spurs are the league's hottest team, having won seven straight, while the Cavs' seven-game losing streak is tied with Charlotte for the league's longest active losing skid.

* The Spurs lead their division and trail Oklahoma City by 2 1/2 games for the best record in the Western Conference. They also have the league's longest winning streak this season at 11 games, which coach Gregg Popovich willingly ended when he sat almost all of his regulars in what became a 40-point loss at Portland in late February. 

* Manu Ginobili is 34 and has fought injuries all season, Duncan turns 36 at the end of this month and Tony Parker turns 30 next month. Popovich is wisely giving his veterans sporadic days off in this condensed season to ensure they're healthy and rested for the postseason. Meanwhile, the Spurs quietly keep winning while the rest of the league continues to ignore them. "This organization has been doing this for the past 10 years," Scott said of the Spurs. "Every year, people don't even talk about them being a force in the Western Conference. Then when you look up toward the end of the regular season, they're right there, just like they are this year."

* Cavs rookie Tristan Thompson spent part of the lockout last summer working out and playing basketball with Duncan, a future Hall of Famer. Thompson left the tutorials with two major points Duncan impressed on him: 1) try to get better every day and 2) do what got you here. "A lot of guys when they got to the league think they got drafted on scoring," Thompson said. "I knew that defense, playing hard, rebounding and running the floor is what got me here." 

* Thompson didn't get better in Saturday's loss at New York. Cavs coach Byron Scott benched him for most of the second half because of Thompson's foul trouble and he didn't like the way he was playing. That's rare for Thompson, but Scott is assuming it was just an off night. Thompson said the issue wasn't discussed after the game. "He doesn't need to tell me anything," Thompson said. "I'm a basketball player. I know foul trouble is going to keep you off the court. I wasn't as active and Mardo (Samardo Samuels) brought good things when he came in the game."

* Danny Green's career has been rejuvenated this season with the Spurs. He is starting in place of Manu Ginobili, who has battled injuries much of the season, and is averaging 8.4 points and 3.7 rebounds. He scored a career-high 23 points in a win over Denver in January and has led the Spurs in scoring four times this season.

* Green was the Cavs' final roster cut during training camp last season and latched on with the Spurs at the urging of Danny Ferry, who now works in the Spurs' front office and who drafted Green to the Cavs in 2009. Green was out of the league for about a month before the Spurs signed him last season, only to release him a week later. He was out of the NBA for more than three months before the Spurs re-signed him again last March and he has been with them ever since.

 

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