GameDay Preview: Cavs vs. Nuggets

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Dion Waiters
David Liam Kyle/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Cleveland Cavaliers take on the Denver Nuggets tonight at Quicken Loans Arena for the first of two regular season contests in 2013-14.

The Cavaliers are coming off a 97-93 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday at Quicken Loans Arena. Cleveland will play eight of its 14 games in December at The Q, including three of the next four.

Denver (11-6) enters tonight's contest having won 11 of their last 14 games including last night's 111-87 pounding of the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. Led by Timofey Mozgov's 17 points and 20 rebounds, six Nuggets scored in double figures and no Nugget took more than 11 shots.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland ClinicCavaliers: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - C.J. Miles, SF - Alonzo Gee
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Andrew Bynum

Nuggets: PG - Ty Lawson, SG - Randy Foye, SF - Wilson Chandler
PF - Kenneth Faried, C - J.J. Hickson

Injuries: (Cavs) - None to Report

(Nuggets) - Danlio Gallinari, (Left Knee ACL Tear, Out), Javale McGee, (Left Tibia Stress Fracture, Out)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

The last time the Cavs faced Denver at The Q on Feb. 9, 2013, Alonzo Gee finished with 20 points on a perfect 8-8 shooting from the field in 34 minutes. The last time a Cavalier shot perfect on at least eight made field goals was on November 5, 2010, when Anderson Varejao went 10-10 against the Sacramento Kings.

All-time, the Wine and Gold are 32-44 against Denver (23-14 Home, 9-30 Road).

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Forcing Turnovers

In last season’s two-game series, the Cavs forced the Nuggets into 42 turnovers and scored 48 total points off of their miscues.

In order to create fastbreak chances and easy baskets on the offensive end, the Cavs will have to rely on their defense to create turnovers. Cleveland is averaging 8.4 steals per game, which is good enough for 10th-best in the NBA.

Key Matchup

Backcourt Battle

Denver plays an up-tempo style of basketball and spearheading that attack is speedy point guard, Ty Lawson.

Lawson has begun the 2013-14 season on a mission, scoring in bunches while doing a little bit of everything. The fifth-year point guard is averaging 20.6 points (T-17th in NBA), 3.9 rebounds (7th among NBA point guards), 8.2 assists (6th in NBA) and 1.19 steals through his first 16 games. Lawson is one of only two players in the NBA to average 20.0 ppg and 8.0 apg.

The Cavaliers backcourt will have to look to slow down and keep pace with Lawson while creating scoring opportunities for themselves and their teammates.

Last season, Kyrie Irving led the Wine and Gold with averages of 27.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 3.0 steals in 37.5 minutes per game against the Nuggets.

Dion Waiters comes into tonight’s contest with three straight 20-plus point performances off the bench. Besides Waiters, Phoenix’s Markieff Morris is the only other NBA reserve this season to have three consecutive 20-point games (Nov. 6-10).

Over the last three games, Waiters is averaging 21.7 points on .524 shooting, 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 31.7 minutes. The second-year guard from Syracuse has scored in double figures in 10 of his last 11 games and is averaging 16.8 points in 28.5 minutes over six games as a reserve this season.

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FOX Sports Ohio, Radio: WTAM 1100, NBA League Pass Audio, XM & Sirius 217

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 – Nuggets game (7:00 p.m.) and the University of Dayton - Delaware State game (7:00 p.m.). Please refer to these programming details by clicking here.

Available Ticket Offers

On Deck

After tonight's game, the Cavs head back onto the road to take on the Hawks in Atlanta at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday, December 6th.