GameDay Preview: Cavs at Clippers

Dion Waiters
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Game Summary

The Wine and Gold travel to Los Angeles tonight to take on the Clippers at 9:30 p.m. ET.

Cleveland (26-40) has improved to 6-2 in their last eight matchups against Western Conference opponents after defeating the Golden State Warriors 103-94 in the second game of this road trip on Friday. Cleveland overcame an 18-point deficit against the Warriors, their largest comeback victory since a 20-point deficit on Jan. 25, 2013 (vs. Milwaukee Bucks).

Through the first two games of the three-game road trip, Cleveland is outscoring their opponents 106.5 to 97.5, while shooting a combined .478 (22-46) from the three-point line.

Los Angeles (47-20) enters tonight's contest on a 10-game winning streak after defeating the Utah Jazz 96-87 on Friday night in Salt Lake City. Blake Griffin had a game-high 20 points while Chris Paul added 18 points, six rebounds and seven assists.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

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

Clippers: PG - Chris Paul, SG - Darren Collison, SF - Matt Barnes
PF - Blake Griffin, C - DeAndre Jordan

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

(Clippers) - J.J. Redick, (Bulging Disc Lower Back, Out), Jamal Crawford, (Strained Left Calf, Day-to-Day)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

Cleveland is 17-5 against the Clippers dating back to the 2002-03 season. The Cavs have also won five of the last six meetings versus the Clippers at STAPLES Center, which includes a 108-101 win last season (Nov. 5, 2012) when Dion Waiters nailed a career-best seven three-pointers and finished with 28 points in just his fourth career game.

All-time, the Wine and Gold are 69-48 against L.A. (44-16 Home, 25-32 Road).

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Key to the Game

Defensive Intensity

L.A. has the most potent offense in the entire NBA averaging a league-best 107.7 points per game. The Clippers have scored 100 or more points in the first nine wins of their current streak, tying the 1974 Buffalo Braves for the longest streak of wins in a row while also scoring 100+ points in franchise history.

In the first meeting between the two teams on Dec. 7 at The Q, Cleveland held Los Angeles to an opponent season-low 28-87 (.322) shooting from the field to win 88-82.

The Wine and Gold should look to duplicate that same defensive intensity in hopes of containing the Clippers offense.

Watch Interview: Irving on Facing Chris Paul

Key Matchup

Frontcourt Battle

L.A. boasts one of the most athletic frontcourts in the NBA with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

This season, Griffin is averaging 24.4 points per game, 9.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists. He is on track to be the first player in more than 35 years to average at least 24 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in one of the first four years of his NBA career.

Through 67 games, Jordan leads the NBA in field goal percentage (66.3%) and rebounding per game (13.9). Only Dwight Howard and Wilt Chamberlain have finished a season atop the league in both categories and only Howard has done so in the last 40 years.

Battling Griffin and Jordan in the paint will be the Cavaliers starting frontcourt of Spencer Hawes and Tristan Thompson.

Hawes notched his third 20-10 game in the last five contests after finishing with a team-high 22 points and a game-high 13 rebounds in 36 minutes at Golden State on Friday. In 11 contests with the Cavs, Hawes has five double-doubles and is averaging 16.2 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.2 blocks in 33.5 minutes per game. Hawes is also shooting .490 (24-49) from the three-point line with Cleveland.

Thompson has a team-leading 29 double-doubles, which is tied for the 4th-most in the Eastern Conference. He also registered a double-double in the Dec. 7 win over the Clippers after posting 20 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, two steals and one block in 40 minutes.

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FOX Sports Ohio, NBATV, Radio: WTAM 1100, NBA League Pass Audio, XM & Sirius 218

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.

On Deck

After tonight's game, the Cavs travel back home on Tuesday to take on the Heat at 7:00 p.m. ET.