GameDay Preview: Cavs vs. Nets
The Wine and Gold will play their final game of the 2013-14 regular season tonight when they take on the Brooklyn Nets at The Q. Tipoff is at 8:00 p.m. ET.
This is the fourth and final meeting between Cleveland (32-49) and Brooklyn (44-37) this season.
Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters is averaging a team-high 19.0 points, 2.3 assists and 1.3 steals in 33.3 minutes per game against the Nets in 2013-14.
The Nets will look to clinch the Eastern Conference's fifth seed while trying to avoid their fourth loss in five games.
Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic
Status Update: (Cavs) - Carrick Felix, (Left patellar Stress Fracture, Probable), Anthony Bennett, (Left Patellar Tendon Strain, Probable), C.J. Miles, (Left Ankle Sprain, Doubtful), Luol Deng, (Lower Back Strain, Out)
(Nets) - Brook Lopez, (Fractured Right Foot, Out), Shaun Livingston, (Sprained Right Big Toe, Out), Deron Williams, (Right Patella Tendinitis, Game-Time Decision), Joe Johnson, (Sore Right Calf, Game-Time Decision), Paul Pierce, (Sore Right Shoulder, Game-Time Decision), Alan Anderson, (Sore Abdominal Muscle, Out), Mirza Teletovic, (Personal, Out)
*Subject to change
The last time the Cavs and Nets met at The Q, Cleveland came away with a 98-94 victory on Opening Night (Oct. 30).
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
Assuming Brooklyn doesn't decide to rest their key guys, the Nets start a small lineup which features a bevy of shooters. From point guard to center, the Nets can stretch the floor with their perimeter precision. The Wine and Gold should look to close out hard on their shooters and force them into taking tough, contested shots.
On the season, the Cavs have the 4th-best home defense in the NBA holding teams to .429 shooting. Furthermore, Cleveland has held four of their last five opponents to under .400 shooting at The Q, as their opponents have combined to shoot .393 (174-443) over that stretch.
With Brooklyn's All-Star center, Brook Lopez, missing most of the season with a foot injury, the Nets have had to rely on the depth of their frontcourt.
Rookie big man, Mason Plumlee has stepped up nicely for the Nets and averages more minutes per game (18.0) for a team with a winning record than any other rookie. Brooklyn is 16-6 with Plumlee as their starting center.
Battling Plumlee and the Nets bigs down low will be Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller.
Thompson posted his team-leading 35th double-double of the season on Saturday after finishing with 14 points on 6-12 (.500) shooting and a team-high tying 10 rebounds in 33 minutes. The third-year forward has registered a double-double in consecutive contests, averaging 16.0 points on .550 (11-20) shooting and 10.0 rebounds in 34.0 minutes per game over that stretch. On the season, Thompson’s 35 double-doubles are tied for the 6th-most in the East and the most by a Cavs player since Drew Gooden in 2004-05 (37).
Zeller has scored in double figures in three straight games, averaging 13.7 points on .667 (18-27) shooting and 6.3 rebounds in 23.0 minutes per game off the bench over that stretch. Zeller notched 12 points on 4-8 (.500) shooting and seven rebounds in 26 minutes off the bench versus Boston on Saturday.
Where to Catch the Action
TV: FOX Sports Ohio, Radio: WTAM 1100, NBA League Pass Audio, XM 204, Sirius 119
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.
Tonight, FOX Sports Ohio is airing the first Eastern Conference Stanley Cup Playoffs game between the Blue Jackets and Penguins (7:30 p.m.) as well as the Cavs final game of the season vs. the Nets (8:00 p.m.). Click Here for programming details.
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