GameDay Preview: Cavs vs. Magic

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Tyler Zeller
David Liam Kyle/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Wine and Gold tip off 2014 at Quicken Loans Arena tonight where they will square off against the Orlando Magic at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Cleveland (10-21) has won four straight games over the Orlando Magic by an average of 12.5 points per game (109.3 to 96.8). In those four meetings, the Cavs have averaged 23.3 assists against the Magic, while turning the ball over just 10.5 times.

Orlando (10-21) enters tonight's contest having won two of their last three games. Magic guard Arron Afflalo leads Orlando with an average of 21.7 points per game.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

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

Magic: PG - Jameer Nelson, SG - Arron Afflalo, SF - Tobias Harris
PF - Glen Davis, C - Nikola Vucevic

Status Update: (Cavs) - Kyrie Irving, (Left Knee Contusion, Questionable), Andrew Bynum, (Excused from all team activity, Out)

(Magic) - Nikola Vucevic, (Sprained Left Ankle, Day-to-Day)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

This is the second of four regular season matchups between the two teams. In their first meeting this season, Kyrie Irving led all scorers with a game-high 31 points on 12-24 (.500) shooting, three rebounds, five assists and two steals in 36 minutes, while Dion Waiters tallied 21 points (16 in the fourth quarter), five rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block in 29 minutes off the bench.

All-time, the Wine and Gold are 41-48 against Orlando (25-18 Home, 16-30 Road).

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Key to the Game

Bench Production

With Kyrie Irving's status listed as questionable, the Wine and Gold will look for contributions from everyone tonight.

In the first meeting on Dec. 13 at the Amway Center, Cleveland had a season-high 60 points off the bench and outscored Orlando’s reserves 60-28.

Coming into tonight’s game, Cleveland is averaging an Eastern Conference-best 39.7 bench points (4th-best in the NBA). The Cavs have outscored the opponents’ reserves in 25 of 31 contests and have scored at least 40 points 15 times this season.

Jarrett Jack leads all Eastern Conference reserves in assists per game at 3.8 (5th best among all NBA bench players).

Key Matchup

Frontcourt Battle

Orlando's center, Nikola Vucevic, has always played well against the Cavaliers in the past. On the season, Vucevic is averaging 13.4 points to go along with 11.1 rebounds. Although Vucevic is day-to-day with an ankle injury, the Wine and Gold should prepare as if he will be in the starting lineup.

Joining Vucevic in the starting frontcourt will be Glen "Big Baby" Davis. Davis can be a force on the offensive glass and has the ability to knock down the 18-ft jump shot.

Battling Davis and Vucevic down low will be the Cavaliers big man duo of Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao.

Over the last 15 contests (since Nov. 30), Thompson is averaging a double-double with 13.3 points and 10.3 rebounds in 33.1 minutes per game. He pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds and scored seven points in 37 minutes against the Pacers on Tuesday.

Varejao played in his 500th career game on Tuesday at Indiana and recorded his 6th double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds in 30 minutes. He also matched his season high with six offensive rebounds and passed Jim Brewer (1,292 offensive rebounds) to garner sole possession of 3rd place in franchise history with 1,298 career offensive rebounds.

In their first meeting with the Magic this season, the Wild Thing added a double-double (10 points, a game-high 14 rebounds and two blocks) in 32 minutes against the Magic.


Watch: Coach Shootaround Interview

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FOX Sports Ohio, 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 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 – Magic game (7:00 p.m.) and the Blue Jackets – Coyotes game (9:00 p.m.). Click here for programming details.

On Deck

After tonight's game, the Cavs head to Brooklyn to take on the Nets on Saturday, January 4th at 7:30 p.m. ET.