GameDay Preview: Cavs vs. Bobcats

Tyler Zeller
David Liam Kyle/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Wine and Gold host the Charlotte Bobcats tonight at The Q. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Cleveland has won five of their last seven games and will look to bounce back following last night's loss to the Hawks in Atlanta.

Dion Waiters led the Wine and Gold with 23 points and Spencer Hawes doubled-up with 16 points and 10 boards.

Charlotte (38-38) is close to clinching a second trip to the postseason in their 10-year history. The Bobcats currently sit seventh in the Eastern Conference standings, 5 1/2 games ahead of the ninth-place New York Knicks with six games left in their regular season.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland ClinicCavaliers: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - Dion Waiters, SF - Luol Deng
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Spencer Hawes

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

Status Update: (Cavs) - Carrick Felix, (Left patellar Stress Fracture, Out), Anthony Bennett, (Left Patellar Tendon Strain, Out), C.J. Miles, (Left Ankle Sprain, Out)

(Bobcats) - Brendan Haywood, (Stress Fracture, Left Foot, Out), Josh McRoberts, (Left Ankle Sprain, Doubtful), Jeffery Taylor, (Ruptured Right Achilles Tendon, Out)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

In the two teams' last matchup on March 7th in Charlotte, Luol Deng recorded 19 points on 8-15 (.533) shooting, six rebounds and one steal in 34 minutes while Dion Waiters also chipped in 19 points, adding five rebounds and three steals in 32 minutes off the bench.

All-time, the Wine and Gold are 22-12 against Charlotte (14-2 Home, 8-10 Road).

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Key to the Game

Defensive Intensity

The Bobcats have been on fire at the offensive end as of late, winning five of seven games while averaging 106.9 points (10.2 higher than their season average).

Cleveland must bring energy and effort at the defensive end in hopes of slowing down the Bobcats.

Since Feb. 9 (27 games), the Cavs’ defense is holding teams to the 9th-lowest FG% in the NBA (.443).

Key Matchup

Cavs Bigs vs. Al Jefferson

Bobcats center Al Jefferson has always given the Wine and Gold problems. In the two teams' last meeting, Jefferson led the Bobcats with a game-high 28 points on 12-18 (.667) shooting, seven rebounds and three blocks in 39 minutes.

In Charlotte's last seven games, Jefferson is averaging 25.1 points per contest while pulling down 11.1 rebounds.

Suffice it to say, the Cavs bigs will have to bring their "A" games in order to win the battle in the paint. Despite Jefferson's dominance down low, Cleveland held a 42-26 edge in points in the paint during that March 7th matchup.

Also in that contest, Spencer Hawes posted 13 points and seven rebounds in 36 minutes while Tristan Thompson had a near double-double with 10 points on 5-9 (.556) shooting and a team-high eight rebounds in 31 minutes.

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FOX Sports Ohio, Radio: WTAM 1100, NBA League Pass Audio, XM 219, Sirius 108

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

Be sure to check 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.

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On Deck

After tonight's game, the Cavs welcome the Detroit Pistons to Quicken Loans Arena on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. ET. Buy Tickets