October 22, 2014

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Cavaliers: Brown says he will tinker with starting lineup

Guard C.J. Miles will continue to start in place of Dion Waiters, but with his team struggling, Cavaliers coach Mike Brown isn't done tinkering with the starting lineup. (AP photo)

Guard C.J. Miles will continue to start in place of Dion Waiters, but with his team struggling, Cavaliers coach Mike Brown isn’t done tinkering with the starting lineup. (AP photo)

INDEPENDENCE — Cavaliers coach Mike Brown isn’t done tinkering with his starting lineup, but it will likely be the same for the second straight game when the Washington Wizards visit Quicken Loans Arena tonight.

C.J. Miles is expected to continue to start at shooting guard in place of Dion Waiters, who started the first nine games but missed the last two due to illness.

Earl Clark, who has averaged 13.0 points over the last two games, will make his third straight start at small forward but will also see action at power forward, meaning No. 1 overall draft pick Anthony Bennett could be totally out of the rotation for the third time in the last five games.

Kyrie Irving will continue to start at the point, with Tristan Thompson at power forward and Andrew Bynum in the middle, but Brown warned the Cavs might not have a set lineup until December.

Even then, it will change on the nights Bynum rests his knees, with Anderson Varejao, who will also get some minutes at power forward, starting in place of the 7-foot, 294-pounder.

“It might change. And it should change,” Brown said Tuesday following practice at Cleveland Clinic Courts. “I don’t know if we’ve played well enough yet as a team to say, ‘This is the group we’re going to go with and we’ll rock-n-roll with that group.’”

Miles averaged 8.0 points and a shade over 24 minutes in his two starts, going 6-for-16 from the field, 2-for-6 on 3-pointers and 2-for-2 at the line. He averaged 2.5 rebounds and 0.5 assists.

For the season, the left-hander is averaging 10.9 points, 2.3 rebounds and 0.9 assists. He’s shooting .460 from the field, .373 on 3-pointers and .900 at the line.

Waiters is averaging 13.3 points, 2.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists while shooting .398 from the field, .414 on 3-pointers and .583 at the line, but Brown likes Miles’ ability to stretch the floor and catch-and-shoot when Bynum draws double teams in the low post.

“I’m still searching a little bit, but there’s a chance I might let it play out for a little bit,” Brown said of starting Miles. “I’m not sure how long.

“Whether he’s making shots or not, he’s got to be guarded. He’s done a solid job defensively.”

The 6-10 Clark began the season as the Cavs’ starting small forward, but struggled and eventually fell totally out of the rotation, with Alonzo Gee taking over his starting spot.

Gee also didn’t do much, so Clark is now getting another chance and making the most of it. He’s averaged 13.0 points in his two recent starts and hit 10-of-13 shots, including 6-of-7 3-pointers.

Though Brown said Bennett had his best practices of the season Monday and Tuesday, he added there might not be any minutes available with Clark and Varejao also playing power forward.

Bennett is averaging 1.4 points and 2.7 rebounds in 11.7 minutes a night, but has not played in two of Cleveland’s last four games. He is shooting .143 from the field overall (5-for-35) and .083 on 3-pointers (1-for-12).

Second-year big man Tyler Zeller did not practice due to a sore foot.

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @RickNoland.