CLEVELAND — No help arrived for the Cavaliers on Tuesday night when they hosted the Toronto Raptors at Quicken Loans Arena.
It’s highly unlikely any will be coming tonight in Oklahoma City, either.
Center Anderson Varejao missed his seventh straight game with a sore back, shooting guard Dion Waiters sat out his fourth straight with a hyperextended knee and swingman C.J. Miles was sidelined by a sprained ankle for the third game in a row.
None of the three was expected to accompany the team to Oklahoma City on Tuesday night.
Varejao has done some court work and seems fairly close to returning. Waiters has also done some court work and appears close to playing, while Miles, who is still walking with a slight limp, has not yet done any work on the court.
That means guys like Tyler Zeller, Alonzo Gee, Matthew Dellavedova and Anthony Bennett will continue to get steady minutes.
“That’s why we have 14-15 guys on the team,” Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. “We’ve just got to have guys step up. Yes, it is tough. Yes, we were in a nice rhythm with our guys on both ends of the floor (prior to the injuries). That’s part of the evolution of the season.”
Former Cavs forward Earl Clark, shipped to Philadelphia at the trade deadline in the deal that brought Spencer Hawes to Cleveland and then quickly released by the 76ers, is finalizing a contract with New York.
“He’s a good player,” Brown said. “He’s going to help them, especially in that system, playing the pick-and-roll and spreading the floor.”
Toronto 6-foot-11, 231-pound center Jonas Valanciunas, whom the Cavs passed on when they took Tristan Thompson with the No. 4 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, began the night averaging 10.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 0.91 blocks in 27.6 minutes.
“He has some skill,” Brown said. “Most big, strong, tough guys, you just look at them as that. He has some skill that can help inside and on the perimeter.”
Thompson entered Tuesday averaging 12.2 points, 9.6 rebounds and 0.4 blocks in 32.9 minutes, but Valanciunas is considered to have the bigger upside.
With Adam Silver having taken over for David Stern as NBA commissioner, there’s been some preliminary discussion about adding a 4-point line to the current 3-point one.
Brown shook his head when asked about the possibility, then smiled and added, “Whatever they think is best for the game.”
Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan entered Tuesday averaging 25.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists in nine games in February.
The only other players averaging 25 points for the month were Minnesota’s Kevin Love (34.1), Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant (33.6), the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin (31.7), New York’s Carmelo Anthony (32.5), Miami’s LeBron James (30.8), Houston’s James Harden (27.3) and the Clippers’ Jamal Crawford (25.2).
- Hawes moved into the starting lineup in his third game with the Cavs, with Zeller going to the bench.
- The Cavs entered Tuesday with a 32-4 record against the Raptors in their last 36 meetings at The Q.
- Prior to Tuesday, Cleveland had held opponents to fewer than 100 points in seven straight games. The last time the Cavs did that was March 1-14, 2010.