GameDay Preview: Cavs at Magic

Dion Waiters
Fernando Medina/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Wine and Gold will begin the final month of the NBA regular season on the road when they square off against the Magic tonight in Orlando. Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Cleveland (30-45) has won four of their last five contests, which includes a 90-76 win in their most recent game against the Indiana Pacers on Sunday.

The Cavs are 3-0 versus the Magic this season, with the most recent matchup being a wire-to-wire 101-93 victory at The Q on Feb. 19. The Cavs have held the Magic to a combined .403 (104-258) shooting in their three contests this season, while outscoring them 99.0 to 91.3.

Orlando (21-53) followed a nine-game skid with back-to-back wins over the Portland Trail Blazers and Charlotte Bobcats before its struggles resumed in Sunday's 98-93 loss to the Toronto Raptors.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

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

Magic: PG - Jameer Nelson, SG - Arron Afflalo, SF - Maurice Harkless
PF - Kyle O'Quinn, C - Nikola Vucevic

Status Update: (Cavs) - Carrick Felix, (Left patellar Stress Fracture, Out), Anthony Bennett, (Left Patellar Tendon Strain, Out), Kyrie Irving, (Left Biceps Strain, Game-Time Decision), Anderson Varejao, (Right AC Joint Sprain, Out), C.J. Miles, (Left Ankle Sprain, Out)

(Magic) - None to Report

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

Cleveland has won six consecutive games against Orlando dating back to Feb. 8, 2013, which includes the last two visits at the Amway Center. Over the last six contests versus Orlando, the Cavs have outscored the Magic 104.2 to 93.5.

All-time, the Wine and Gold are 43-48 against Orlando (27-18 Home, 16-30 Road).

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Key to the Game

Defensive Intensity

Since Feb. 9 (25 games), the Cavs’ defense is holding teams to the 6th-lowest FG% in the NBA (.438), as well as the 9th-lowest points per game (98.5). Cleveland’s defense has also been strong in the fourth quarter, holding their last eight opponents to an average of 18.1 points on a combined 43-143 (.301) shooting in the final period, including 9-51 (.176) from beyond-the-arc. Seven of their last eight opponents have not made more than six field goals in the fourth quarter.

The Cavs have held the Magic to a combined .403 (104-258) shooting in their three contests this season, while outscoring them 99.0 to 91.3.

If the Wine and Gold can continue their solid play on the defensive end, they will give themselves a great chance to come away with the victory tonight.

Key Matchup

Frontcourt Battle

Orlando's center, Nikola Vucevic, has always played well against the Cavaliers in the past scoring at least 20 in three of his last five games against the Wine and Gold. On the season, Vucevic is averaging 14.4 points to go along with 11.1 rebounds.

Vucevic, the reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week is averaging 22.7 points in the last three games.

With Anderson Varejao sidelined with a sprained shoulder suffered on Sunday, Tristan Thompson and his frontcourt mates will have to work to win the battle inside against Vucevic.

Thompson posted his career-high 32nd double-double of the season with 12 points, a game-high 16 rebounds (six offensive) and two steals in 30 minutes. Thompson is tied for 5th in the East in double-doubles. In nine career games against the Magic, he has recorded four double-doubles, including two this season. Over the last two contests versus the Magic, he is averaging 16.0 points on .500 (11-22) shooting and 12.0 rebounds in 40.0 minutes per game.

Watch Interview: Tristan Thompson

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FOX Sports Ohio, Radio: 100.7 WMMS, NBA League Pass Audio, XM 221, Sirius 93

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.

Programming Notes

TV: Tonight, FOX Sports Ohio is airing the Cavs – Magic game (7:00 p.m.) and the Reds – Cardinals game (7:00 p.m.). Click here for programming details.

Radio: Because of the Cleveland Indians double-header against the Oakland Athletics, the Cavaliers game will air exclusively on FM 100.7 WMMS while WTAM 1100 will carry both Indians games.

On Deck

After tonight's game, the Cavs will head to Atlanta to square off against the Hawks on Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET.