GameDay Preview: Cavs vs. Pelicans

Luol Deng
David Liam Kyle/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Wine and Gold conclude their five-game home stand tonight against the New Orleans Pelicans. Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. ET.

In the first meeting between these two teams on Nov. 22, Cleveland (16-28) shot a then season-high .532 (41-77) from the field and held the Pelicans to just .409 (36-88) shooting.

New Orleans (24-18) enters tonight's game riding a two-game winning streak after defeating the Orlando Magic 100-92 on Sunday in the Big Easy. Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis dominated at both ends of the floor, tallying 22 points, 19 rebounds and seven blocks.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland ClinicCavaliers: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - C.J. Miles, SF - Luol Deng
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Anderson Varejao

Pelicans: PG - Brian Roberts, SG - Eric Gordon, SF - Al-Farouq Aminu
PF - Anthony Davis, C - Alexis Ajinca

Status Update: (Cavs) - None to Report

(Pelicans) - JRue Holiday, (Right Tibia, Stress Fracture, Out), Ryan Anderson, (Herniated Disc, Out), Jason Smith, (Right Knee Cartilage, Out)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

The last time the Cavs hosted New Orleans at The Q (Feb. 20, 2013), Kyrie Irving scored 20 points in the final 6:44 of the fourth quarter and finished with a game-high 35 points, five rebounds, seven assists and two steals in 37 minutes as the Cavs were victorious, 105-100. Cleveland had just eight turnovers in the win, including zero in their 37-point fourth quarter. Dion Waiters had 16 points and three assists in 29 minutes.

All-time, the Wine and Gold are 43-40 against New Orleans (30-11 Home, 13-29 Road).

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Key to the Game

Bench Production

In the teams' first matchup in late November, Cleveland’s bench outscored New Orleans’ reserves 54-38 in that contest.

On the season, the Cavs reserves are averaging 36.5 points per game (2nd in East and 6th in the NBA) and have outscored the opponent’s bench in 31 of 44 contests.

Having played every other day following their longest road trip of the season, the Wine and Gold will have to rely on their bench to give them some strong minutes tonight.

Key Matchup

Frontcourt Battle

As mentioned, New Orleans big man Anthony Davis can dominate a game at both ends of the floor. On the season, Davis holds averages of 20.1 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game. He is on pace to become the first player in the entire NBA to average 20/10/3 in a season since Shaquille O’Neal did it during the ’99-00 season.

The Cavs are coming off a home contest against the Phoenix Suns on Sunday where their starting frontcourt each finished with 10-plus rebounds (Tristan Thompson-13, Luol Deng-10, Anderson Varejao-10) for the first time since Feb. 2, 2008.

On the season, Varejao (10.3, 3rd in East) and Thompson (9.8, 4th in East) are pulling down a combined 20.1 rebounds per game, which is the 2nd-highest for a rebounding duo in the Eastern Conference (Drummond/Monroe–21.3).

Thompson’s 22 double-doubles are the 2nd-most in East in the Eastern Conference this season. He has posted a double-double in 11 of the last 15 games (since Dec. 29), including double-doubles in nine of the last 11 contests (since Jan. 5).

Deng registered his first double-double as a Cavalier after tallying 18 points and 10 rebounds to go along with five assists, one steal and one block in 41 minutes versus Phoenix on Sunday. In nine games with the Cavs, the nine-year vet is averaging 16.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 33.0 minutes per game minutes per game.

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FOX Sports Ohio, Radio: WTAM 1100, NBA League Pass Audio, XM & Sirius 219

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 – Pelicans game (7:00 p.m.) and the Blue Jackets – Senators game (7:00 p.m.). Click here for programming details.

Available Ticket Offers

On Deck

After tonight's game, the Cavs head back onto the road to face the New York Knicks on Thursday night in the Big Apple at 8:00 p.m. ET.