The Cleveland Cavaliers couldn't end their series losing streak to the Chicago Bulls back in early November with their backcourt healthy.
Now the Cavs face the possibility of being without both of their starting guards on Wednesday night in a rematch with the division-rival Bulls.
Cleveland dropped its ninth game in a row against Chicago back on Nov. 2, falling 115-86 at home. The Cavaliers haven't beaten the Bulls since March 19, 2010 in Chicago and have lost five straight at home to the club over the skid.
Starting point guard Kyrie Irving led Cleveland with 15 points and Dion Waiters added seven points, but the Cavs could be without both tonight. Irving is out with a broken left index finger, while Waiters is questionable with a sprained left ankle suffered on Saturday in a double-overtime loss versus Portland.
Waiters did not play in Monday's 89-79 setback to the Detroit Pistons, with Alonzo Gee and Jeremy Pargo getting the start in the backcourt. Waiters did not practice on Tuesday and is once again questionable for tonight.
That could spell trouble for Cleveland, which has been beaten by more than 20 points in each of its past four meetings with Chicago.
"It's terrifying to think about playing the Bulls without Kyrie and (Waiters), yeah," Cavs head coach Byron Scott said following practice on Tuesday. "But everybody laces them up the same way and you've got to come out there and compete no matter who's on the floor. That's the bottom line."
Anderson Varejao had 17 points and 18 rebounds in Monday's loss, logging a double-double in a career-best ninth game in a row. Nine of his boards were offensive and he is the first Cleveland player to log nine straight double- doubles since Geoff Huston from Jan. 27-Feb. 13, 1982.
Pargo added 10 points and a career high-tying eight assists for a Cleveland squad that hit just 7-of-28 shots in the first quarter and then its final three shots of the game after getting to within six with 1:54 to play.
"Overall, I thought our guys competed. We played hard," Scott said. "We obviously couldn't score enough points, but defensively I thought we did a heck of a job."
Pargo is averaging 15.1 points and 4.8 assists per contest in eight games as a starter this season, while Gee and Varejao both had 12 points in the earlier loss this season to the Bulls.
Chicago plays for a second night in a row and fell 80-76 to the visiting Indiana Pacers on Tuesday. The loss denied the Bulls their first three-game winning streak of the season and gave them a split of a four-game homestand.
The Bulls are also thin at guard. Derrick Rose has yet to play this season due to left knee surgery and Richard Hamilton is out with a left foot ailment sustained against Philadelphia on Saturday. Marco Belinelli got the start in place of Hamilton Tuesday night and had six points in 24 minutes.
Nate Robinson came off the bench and led the club with 19 points, while Luol Deng had 17 and seven rebounds. Deng's jumper had the Bulls up four in the fourth quarter, but Indiana went on a 10-2 run over the final 3 1/2 minutes.
"I don't think we played well," Deng said bluntly.
Carlos Boozer had 14 points and 10 rebounds in the loss. He is averaging 15.6 points and 11.3 rebounds per game over his last nine with seven double-doubles in that span.
Boozer and Hamilton both had 19 points in the earlier win over the Cavs.