NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, April 2nd (All times Eastern)
Cleveland Cavaliers (30-45) at Orlando Magic (21-53), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Kyrie Irving hasn't played since injuring his left biceps more than two weeks ago and the Cleveland Cavaliers hope their star guard will return Wednesday against the Orlando Magic.
Irving sustained the injury in a 102-80 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on March 16 and he missed the following eight games. The Cavs are 4-4 over that time, but have won four of their last five games.
"I feel good, feel good," Irving said after Tuesday's practice. "It's great to be back out there with my teammates. It was definitely hard for me these last two weeks sitting on the bench. Our team has been playing extremely well and they've been doing some great things and now I'm ready to just help them out."
Irving, the All-Star Game MVP, participated in contact drills to knock some "rust" off and will see how it goes during Wednesday's shootaround. He will also talk with the medical staff and doesn't know if his minutes will be monitored if he plays. Irving is the team's leading scorer, averaging 21.2 points, and will not need surgery on the arm.
The Cavaliers are coming off an impressive 90-76 win over the stumbling Indiana Pacers on Sunday, as Dion Waiters posted 19 points and Luol Deng followed with 15. Spencer Hawes scored 13 points and Tristan Thompson ended with 12 and 16 rebounds for Cleveland, which is three games off the final playoff spot in the East with seven to play.
Cleveland, which had a 64-49 lead at one point, scored 22 points off 16 Indiana turnovers and held the Pacers to 37 percent shooting from the field.
"I thought our guys just buckled down and tried to play the right way, especially defensively," Cavs head coach Mike Brown said.
Brown is two victories shy of tying Bill Fitch (304) on the Cavs' all-time wins list. Lenny Wilkins had 316 wins with the Cavs.
Since re-entering the starting lineup (eight games), Waiters is averaging 22.0 points, 3.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists in 39.9 minutes per game. Those numbers could drop now that Irving is expected to return. Waiters is posting 14.7 points off the bench.
The Cavs will visit the Hawks Friday night and are 13-25 on the road.
Orlando will wrap up a four-game homestand versus the Cavs and had a rare two- game winning streak cut short with Sunday's 98-93 loss to Toronto. The Magic trailed 96-93 with 8.9 seconds on the clock when Maurice Harkless failed to inbound the ball in time and were assessed a five-second violation.
"Full confidence in Maurice being able to inbound the basketball. It's more than just that one play guys, there was a 30-point quarter we gave up in the second quarter. It's more than one possession at the end of a game," said Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn.
Nikola Vucevic tallied 22 points and 10 boards and Jameer Nelson and Victor Oladipo scored 16 apiece for the Magic, who have lost 10 of their last 12. Tobias Harris contributed 14 points and seven rebounds off the bench.
The Magic dropped to 2-1 on the homestand and 17-19 as the host. They will visit Charlotte Friday night.
Orlando has lost the first three meetings of the season with Cleveland and hasn't been swept in a season series against the Cavs since 1990-91 (0-2). The Cavs have won six straight over the Magic.
04/02 10:28:05 ET