Tipoff: 7:00 p.m.
Television: Fox Sports Ohio
Line: Cleveland -6.5
Injuries are piling on the Charlotte Bobcats as they enter tonight’s preseason game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Charlotte will be without starting center Al Jefferson, who sprained his right ankle in last Friday’s loss to the Miami Heat. Jefferson is listed as day-to-day, but expects to be ready for the team’s regular season debut in Houston.
In addition to Jefferson, the Bobcats will be without Brendan Haywood, who’s sidelined for three months with a left foot stress fracture. Haywood missed the remainder of the 2013 season with a stress reaction in the same foot.
Bismack Biyombo started in Jefferson’s absence Saturday and grabbed 21 rebounds in a win against the Milwaukee Bucks. Biyombo is still expected to come off the bench for the Bobcats when Jefferson returns for the regular season.
Charlotte started four players with three years of NBA experience or less, including first round draft pick Cody Zeller. Zeller went scoreless in 24 minutes during his third preseason start. Gerald Henderson, entering his fifth season in the league, was the veteran of the group. Henderson had four points on 1 for 9 shooting last Saturday.
Kemba Walker led Bobcats starters with 12 points on 3 for 11 shooting. Jannero Pargo, off the bench, led all scorers with 24 points. Charlotte is 1-2 in preseason play and is struggling shooting the ball early. The starting lineup has only made 3 three pointers while reserves have made 16. Only the Memphis Grizzlies starters made fewer three pointers than the Bobcats last season.
The Cavaliers are expecting big things this season from their young nucleus of Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson and Kyrie Irving. Irving averaged 22.5 points and 5.9 assists last season in route to his first all-star appearance.
Cleveland finished 24-58 last season, but could be one of the league’s most improved teams under head coach Mike Brown, making his second stint with the Cavaliers. The team added first overall draft selection Anthony Bennett, along with Jarrett Jack and Andrew Bynum in free agency.
Jack will miss tonight’s game with left knee inflammation, while Bynum isn’t expected to play in preseason and continues to work closer towards a return.