Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
Cleveland regroups with Kyrie Irving out after thumb injury.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have started the season with a disappointing 2-8 record, and on Wednesday, they'll take the court for the first time since Kyrie Irving suffered a non-displaced hairline fracture in his left hand. Their opponent will be the Philadelphia 76ers, who defeated the Cavs, 86-79, in Cleveland's last game on Nov. 18.
Irving's replacement will likely be backup point guard Jeremy Pargo, but the onus to score will fall on the more offensively inclined members of the starting lineup. Chief among them is rookie shooting guard Dion Waiters, who figures to handle the rock much more and to take over from Irving as Cleveland's top pick-and-roll threat. So far this year, Waiters is averaging 13.7 points per game on just 38 percent shooting from the field.
It will no doubt be an uphill climb for the Cavs, who have completely relied on Irving for their offense this season. When Irving has been on the floor, Cleveland has scored a spectacular 108.3 points per 100 possessions, but when he's been off the floor, that number has dropped to an unfathomably bad 81.6 points per 100 possessions. For the Cavs to be able to weather his absence, they will need to find new sources of offense.
It starts Wednesday in Cleveland with the Sixers in town. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on FSN Ohio.