GameDay Preview: Cavs at Nets

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Anderson Varejao
Nataniel S. Butler/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Wine and Gold travel to the Big Apple tonight to take on the Brooklyn Nets at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Cleveland (29-44) improved to 8-4 over the last 12 road games after defeating the Detroit Pistons, 97-96, on Wednesday. Cleveland trailed by as many as 16 points in the fourth quarter but outscored the Pistons 31-14 in the final period, which included a 10-0 run to close out the game.

Brooklyn (37-33) comes back home after going 1-2 on their recent three-game road trip with each of those matchups going into overtime. In doing so, the Nets became the third team in NBA history to play three straight overtime games on the road (1999-2000 Houston Rockets and 1951-52 Rochester Royals).

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

Nets: PG - Shaun Livingston, SG - Deron Williams, SF - Joe Johnson
PF - Paul Pierce, C - Miles Plumlee

Status Update: (Cavs) - Carrick Felix, (Left patellar Stress Fracture, Out), Anthony Bennett, (Left Patellar Tendon Strain, Out), Kyrie Irving, (Left Biceps Strain, Out), Sergey Karasev, (Right Knee Patellar Tendonitis, Out), C.J. Miles, (Left Ankle Sprain, Out)

(Nets) - Brook Lopez, (Fractured Right Foot, Out), Kevin Garnett, (Back Spasms, Out), Andrei Kirilenko, (Sprained Left Ankle, Out), Marcus Thornton, (Bruised Lower Back, Game-Time Decision)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

Through the first two games of this series, Cleveland has outrebounded the Nets 46.5 to 35.0. In the scoring department, Dion Waiters is averaging a team-high 18.5 points and 1.5 steals in 29.0 minutes against the Nets in 2013-14.

All-time, the Wine and Gold are 88-71 against the Nets (56-24 Home, 32-47 Road).

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Key to the Game

Forcing Tough Shots

Brooklyn's small starting lineup features a bevy of shooters that can stretch the floor. The Wine and Gold should look to close out hard on their shooters and force them into taking tough, contested shots.

Since Feb. 8 (23 games), the Cavs’ defense is holding teams to the 6th-lowest FG% in the NBA (.436) as well as the 9th-lowest ppg (99.0).

Key Matchup

Bench Battle

Cleveland’s bench outscored Detroit’s reserves 45-17 on Wednesday. On the season, the Cavs bench is averaging 34.8 points (3rd in East).

If the Cavaliers can get continued contributions from their second unit, they will give themselves a good chance to come away with a victory.

Leading the way for the Wine and Gold's bench bunch has been Anderson Varejao and Matthew Dellavedova.

Varejao notched his 15th double-double of the season in Wednesday’s win at Detroit after tallying 12 points on 5-9 (.556) shooting and a game-high 16 rebounds in 31 minutes. It was the 7th time this season Varejao has pulled down at least 16 boards. He has three double-doubles in the last six games.

Dellavedova made a career-high five triples against the Pistons and finished with a career-high 21 points on 7-9 (.778) shooting, three rebounds and a team-high six assists in 36 minutes off the bench. Over the last five contests, Dellavedova is averaging 11.0 points on .543 (19-35) shooting, including shooting .550 (11-20) from the three-point line, 4.0 rebounds and 6.4 assists in 31.6 minutes per game. In his last nine games, he has a plus/minus ratio of +66.

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FOX Sports Ohio, Radio: WTAM 1100, NBA League Pass Audio, XM & Sirius 220

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 – Nets game (7:30 p.m.) and the Blue Jackets – Penguins game (7:00 p.m.). Click here for programming details.

On Deck

After tonight's game, the Cavs head back to Cleveland on Sunday to take on the Indiana Pacers at 3:00 p.m. ET.