GameDay Preview: Cavs at Mavericks

Dion Waiters
Danny Bollinger/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Wine and Gold conclude their three-game road trip tonight in Dallas as they take on the Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Tipoff is at 8:30 p.m. ET.

When Cleveland (16-31) and Dallas (27-21) squared off less than two weeks ago at The Q (Jan. 20), Anderson Varejao (season-high tying 18 points, 21 rebounds, four assists, two steals) and Tristan Thompson (19 points, 10 rebounds) each registered double-doubles as the Cavs nearly overcame a 24-point deficit.

The Mavericks are 2-1 on their current four-game home stand which concludes tonight. The Mavs All-Star power forward, Dirk Nowitzki, has been on fire lately, scoring 30+ in back-to-back games entering tonight's contest.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

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

Mavericks: PG - Jose Calderon, SG - Monta Ellis, SF - Shawn Marion
PF - Dirk Nowitzki, C - Samuel Dalembert

Status Update: (Cavs) - Anderson Varejao, (Left Knee Contusion and Hyperextension, Questionable), Carrick Felix, (Left patellar Stress Fracture, Out)

(Mavericks) - Gal Mekel, (Right Knee Surgery, Out)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

In the two teams' last meeting, Luol Deng tallied 20 points on 5-8 (.625) shooting, three assists and one steal in his first home game as a Cavalier, while Kyrie Irving led all scorers with 26 points (16 in the third quarter), two rebounds, a game-high nine assists and two steals in 40 minutes.

All-time, the Wine and Gold are 34-30 against Dallas (20-13 Home, 14-17 Road).

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Controlling the Glass

Among Eastern Conference teams, the Cavs rank 5th in total rebounds per game at 43.9 (11th in NBA), including 2nd in offensive rebounds per game at 12.3 (5th in NBA).

Since the 2014 calendar year, Cleveland is pulling down 13.4 offensive rebounds per game (3rd-most in NBA) and scoring 15.1 second chance points (6th in NBA).

If the Wine and Gold can control the glass then they should limit the number of Mavericks possessions while creating easy buckets for themselves with second chance opportunities.

Key Matchup

Backcourt Battle

Dallas boasts a potent backcourt tandem with points guard Jose Calderon and shooting guard Monta Ellis.

Ellis recorded team-highs (22 points, eight assists) in 36 minutes against the Cavs on Jan. 20. Ellis is averaging 19.5 points per game this season (ranks second on the team to Dirk Nowitzki’s 21.8 ppg). Scoring isn’t the only thing Ellis is doing well. The eight-year pro leads the team in assists (5.8), steals (1.8) and minutes (36.6). He is shooting an efficient 46.2 percent from the field this year. The Mavericks are 13-5 this season when Ellis hands out seven-plus assists.

Calderon is shooting 44.1 percent (115-of-261) from long distance this season (ranks 7th in the NBA). Calderon made a career-high 130 3-pointers last season (130-282, .461).

Looking to slow down the Mavs guards will be Dion Waiters and Kyrie Irving.

Over the last three contests, Waiters is averaging 20.3 points on .595 (25-42) shooting, including .636 (7-11) from the three-point line, 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals in 29.0 minutes off the bench. On the season, he is averaging an Eastern Conference-best 14.9 points as a reserve.

Coming into tonight’s contest, Kyrie Irving has topped 20 points in eight of the last nine games (since Jan. 15), averaging 22.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 1.3 steals in 36.4 minutes. He is also shooting .923 (36-39) from the foul line over that stretch.

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FOX Sports Ohio, Radio: WTAM 1100, NBA League Pass Audio, XM 204, Sirius 212

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 Note

Tonight, FOX Sports Ohio is airing the Cavs – Dallas game (8:30 p.m.) and the Blue Jackets – Ducks game (10:00 p.m.). Click here for programming details.

On Deck

After tonight's game, the Cavs return to The Q on Wednesday to square off against the L.A. Lakers at 7:00 p.m. ET.