GameDay Preview: Cavs vs. Bobcats

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Tristan Thompson
David Liam Kyle/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Cleveland Cavaliers return to Quicken Loans Arena tonight at 7:30 p.m. to take on the Charlotte Bobcats for the second of four regular season matchups between the two teams.

When the Cavs and Bobcats last squared off exactly two weeks ago, C.J. Miles (22 points) and Jarrett Jack (15 points) combined for 37 points off the bench, as the Cavs reserves outscored Charlotte’s reserves 43-31. Cleveland also pulled down 11 offensive rebounds that led to a 21-3 edge in second chance points.

On the season, the Cavs bench is averaging 33.1 points, outscoring the opponent’s bench in eight of nine games this season. The team is also averaging 12.1 offensive rebounds per game, which is the 8th-best in the NBA.

Charlotte comes to Cleveland victorious in their last game on Wednesday in Boston against the Celtics.

Al Jefferson scored a season-high 22 points to go with 11 rebounds in the first game of their two-game road trip as the Cats headed into TD Garden and earned an 89-83 victory.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland ClinicCavaliers: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - Dion Waiters, SF - Alonzo Gee
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Anderson Varejao

Bobcats: PG - Kemba Walker, SG - Gerald Henderson, SF - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
PF - Josh McRoberts, C - Al Jefferson

Injuries: (Cavs) - Carrick Felix, (Mild Sports Hernia, Out), Dion Waiters, (Flu-Like Symptoms, Doubtful) Not With Team: Andrew Bynum, (Family Medical Matter, Out)

(Bobcats) - Brendan Haywood, (Stress Fracture, Left Foot, Out)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

The Cavs hold a 22-10 all-time record against the Bobcats, including 14-1 at The Q. Cleveland has won the previous four home games over Charlotte.

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Key to the Game

Getting Off to a Good Start

Expect another great crowd tonight at Quicken Loans Arena. If the Wine and Gold can jump out to a lead and get the fans involved early, they will give themselves a big advantage against a young Bobcats squad.

This season, the Cavs are undefeated at The Q with a 3-0 record. Cleveland is averaging 106.0 points per game at home, which is the 3rd-highest among Eastern Conference teams playing in their own arena (7th in NBA).

Furthermore, Cleveland is dishing out 23.7 assists at The Q. Defensively, the team is averaging 9.0 steals and 8.3 blocks, while holding opponents to .415 shooting.

Key Matchup

Frontcourt Battle

Charlotte made a splash in free agency when they signed talented big man, Al Jefferson. Jefferson has been dealing with a right ankle injury which caused him to miss five of eight games this season including the first matchup against the Wine and Gold. Through three games, Jefferson leads the team in scoring (15.0 ppg) and rebounding (8.7 rpg).

Josh McRoberts, Bismack Biyombo and first round pick Cody Zeller join Jefferson in the frontcourt. All three Charlotte bigs are extremely athletic and active at both ends of the floor.

Fortunately for the Wine and Gold, they possess two players who specialize in energy and activity with starters Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao.

Tristan Thompson’s first double-double of the season came against the Bobcats on Nov. 1 when he recorded 21 points on 6-11 (.545) shooting, a game-high 11 rebounds, one steal and one block in 35 minutes. He also tied his career high in free throws made by shooting 9-10 (.900) from the foul line.

On the season, Thompson is averaging a near double-double on the season with 12.7 points and 9.7 rebounds in 32.0 minutes to go along with a team-leading five double doubles (T-2nd in Eastern Conference, T-7th in NBA).

Varejao tallied 13 points (5-8 FG) and grabbed five rebounds in 28 minutes against the Timberwolves on Wednesday. On the season, Varejao is averaging 9.3 points and 6.7 rebounds while shooting a stellar .529 from the field.

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FOX Sports Ohio, Radio: WTAM 1100, NBA League Pass Audio, XM 205, Sirius 136

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.

Programming Note

Tonight, FOX Sports Ohio is airing the Cavs – Bobcats game (7:30 p.m.) and the Blue Jackets – Canadiens game (7:00 p.m.). Refer to programming details by clicking here.

Available Ticket Offers:

On Deck

After tonight's game, the Wine and Gold head back onto the road as they travel to Washington D.C. to take on the Wizards Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. ET.