GameDay Preview: Cavs vs. Bucks

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Anderson Varejao
Mike Lawrie/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

In the midst of a five-game home stand, Cleveland (15-27) will face Central Division rival Milwaukee Bucks (8-33) tonight at Quicken Loans Arena for the third of four regular season matchups. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. ET

Through the first two games of this series, the Cavs have been solid offensively with averages of 109.0 points, a .411 (23-56) mark from three-point line, a .837 (41-49) percentage from the foul line and only 10.5 turnovers.

Defensively, the Cavs have scored a combined 39 points off of Milwaukee’s 27 miscues, while blocking 14 total shots this season.

Milwaukee defeated the Detroit Pistons 104-101 on Wednesday night to snap a nine-game losing streak. Caron Butler scored 30 points to help the Bucks rally from 13 down in the third quarter.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland ClinicCavaliers: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - C.J. Miles, SF - Luol Deng
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Anderson Varejao

Bucks: PG - Brandon Knight, SG - Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF - Khris Middleton
PF - Ersan Ilyasova, C - John Henson

Status Update: (Cavs) - None to Report

(Bucks) - Carlos Delfino, (Post-Surgery, Right Foot, Out), Zaza Pachulia, (Right Foot Fracture, Out)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

In the previous meeting between the Cavs and the Bucks on Dec. 20 at The Q, Kyrie Irving posted 39 points (10 in OT) and a career-high four blocks to become the first Cavs guard to register those numbers since blocks became an official stat in 1973-74 in a 114-111 overtime win.

All-time, the Wine and Gold are 80-113 against Milwaukee (49-47 Home, 31-65 Road).

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Second Chance Points

In January, the Cavs are pulling down 13.6 offensive rebounds per game (2nd-most in NBA this month) and scoring 15.0 second chance points (8th in NBA).

Versus Chicago on Wednesday, Cleveland recorded 19 offensive rebounds and 19 second chance points. On the season, the team ranks 6th in offensive rebounds per game (12.3).

The Wine and Gold should look to continue to crash the glass in hopes of converting some easy buckets.

Key Matchup

Backcourt Battle

This season, Milwaukee's backcourt has received a big boost from rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo. At 19 years and 12 days old, Giann is is the youngest Buck ever to crack the starting lineup.

Joining Antetokounmpo is the starting backcourt will be Brandon Knight. Knight filled up his box score in their last meeting in Cleveland tallying 17 points, a career-high 14 rebounds, eight assists and three steals.

Matching up with the Bucks backcourt will be Cavs guards Dion Waiters and Kyrie Irving.

With an Eastern Conference-best 14.8 points per game as a reserve this season, Waiters is averaging more points off the bench than any Cavalier player since Hot Rod Williams scored 16.9 points per game off the pine in 1989-90 (minimum 20 games). Waiters has scored in double figures in 21 of his 28 appearances as a substitute.

Named as an All-Star starter yesterday, Irving leads all East PGs in scoring (21.7) and topped 20 points for the fourth straight game after tallying 26 points on 10-19 (.526) shooting, six rebounds and five assists in 37 minutes against Chicago on Wednesday. He now has 21 games of at least 20 points this season.

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FOX Sports Ohio, Radio: WTAM 1100, NBA League Pass Audio, XM 222, Sirius 215

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 host the Phoenix Suns on Sunday at 6:00 p.m. ET. Get Tickets