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NBA Scores: Cavaliers Slide In Standings Without Kyrie Irving, Anderson Varejao

Cavaliers struggle to sustain strong start as injuries mount.

What a difference a week makes for Cleveland Cavaliers in this NBA season with a condensed 66-game schedule.

After beating the Dallas Mavericks last Saturday night, 91-88, the Cavs lost three of their next four games and were leap-frogged in the standings by the New York Knicks and their "Linsane" five-game winning streak. Cleveland remains in the mix for the eight playoff spot in the East, now two games behind the resurgent Knicks.

The Cavs are trying to hold things together without rookie points guard and leading scorer Kyrie Irving who missed the last three games with a concussion. The Cavs hope Irving can return after a few days off for their next game against Indiana on Wednesday. Cleveland also has front court issues with their top rebounder and energizer, Anderson Varejao out indefinitely with a broken wrist suffered in the second half of the Cavs' 113-112 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Cavs started the week losing 107-91 to the Miami Heat before posting an impressive 99-92 win over the Los Angeles Clippers. The injuries hit home with the loss to Milwaukee on Friday and the 99-84 pounding by the Philadelphia 76ers.

Rookie Tristan Thompson and Semih Erden will have to step up in the absence of Varejao when Irving returns to keep the young Cavs fighting for that final playoff spot in the East which would be a remarkable accomplishment, far exceeding preseason expectations for this team.

For more on the Cavs, check out Fear The Sword.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.