GameDay Preview: Cavs vs. Trail Blazers

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Alonzo Gee
David Liam Kyle/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Wine and Gold host the Portland Trail Blazers tonight at The Q. Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. ET. The matchup will mark the first of two regular season meetings between Portland and Cleveland.

Cleveland (9-14) has won four straight games at home and stand at 7-3 at The Q this season. During the four-game home winning streak, the Cavs are outscoring opponents 98.0 to 89.3. The Wine and Gold have also won seven of the last nine games at home against Portland.

Portland (21-4) enters tonight's contest on a four-game winning streak after point guard Damian Lillard sank a fadeaway jumper as time expired to give the Trail Blazers a 111-109 overtime victory at Detroit on Sunday.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland ClinicCavaliers: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - C.J. Miles, SF - Alonzo Gee
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Andrew Bynum

Trail Blazers: PG - Damian Lillard, SG - Wesley Matthews, SF - Nicholas Batum
PF - LaMarcus Aldridge, C - Robin Lopez

Injuries: (Cavs) - None to Report

(Trail Blazers) - C.J. McCollum, (Fractured Left Foot, Out)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

The two teams split their two-game regular season series in 2012-13 with the Cavs winning the latest contest 93-88 in Portland on Jan. 16, 2013.

All-time, the Wine and Gold are 49-62 against Portland (31-24 Home, 18-38 Road).

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Forcing Tough Shots

Thanks to an efficient, high-scoring offense, the Trail Blazers have the best record in the Western Conference. Portland averages 107.9 points and shoots 45.9 percent from the field, both of which rank near the top of the NBA.

Furthermore, Portland is among the league leaders with a 41.2 shooting percentage from three-point range.

Needless to say, the Cavaliers must continue their solid defensive and force Portland into tough shots in front of the Cleveland faithful tonight.

During the Wine and Gold's current four-game winning streak at The Q, they have been holding opponents to .411 shooting from the field, including .279 from the three-point line.

Key Matchup

Backcourt Battle

With the Trail Blazers up-tempo style of play, the backcourt matchup will be vital in dictating the pace of tonight's game.

Damian Lillard sets the table for Portland's attack with averages of 20.1 points and 5.7 assists while backcourt mate Wesley Matthews is enjoying a career season. Matthews enters Tuesday's matchup averaging 16.1 points to go along with 4.2 rebounds.

Over the last nine contests (Nov. 27-Dec. 14), Cleveland's Dion Waiters has five 20-point games and is averaging 16.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 29.2 minutes per game off the bench. Waiters tallied 16 points and three rebounds in 35 minutes at Miami on Saturday.

In two career games against Portland, Kyrie Irving is averaging 26.0 points on .537 (22-41) shooting, 3.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.5 steals in 34.0 minutes. In the Jan. 16 victory over the Trail Blazers, Irving had a game-high 31 points, five assists and four steals in 39 minutes. Irving was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week yesterday after averaging 29.0 points on .508 (32-63) shooting, including .409 (9-22) from beyond-the-arc and .933 (14-15) from the foul line, 6.3 assists and 2.3 steals in 34.3 minutes per game.

Jarrett Jack provides depth to the Cavs backcourt and leads all Eastern Conference reserves in assists per game at 3.7 (5th-best among all NBA bench players), has scored in double figures in four of the last five contests with averages of 11.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 25.4 minutes.

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FOX Sports Ohio, Radio: WTAM 1100, NBA League Pass Audio, XM 219, Sirius 216

For live in-game updates, follow @cavs, @CavsJoeG, @CavsFredMcLeod, @MrCavalier34, @CavsJMike and @chones22 on Twitter.

Be sure to check cavs.com for Joe Gabriele's live in-game blog providing instant analysis and game notes. Plus, get into the discussion as die-hard Cavs fans talk about the game on CavFanatic's GameDay Thread.

Available Ticket Offers

On Deck

After tonight's game, the Cavs welcome the Milwaukee Bucks to The Q on Friday, December 20th at 7:30 p.m. for Anderson Varejao Bobblehead Night.