GameDay Preview: Cavs vs. Rockets

Dion Waiters
David Liam Kyle/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Wine and Gold host the Houston Rockets tonight at Quicken Loans Arena. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Over the last four home games versus Houston (since 2009-10), Cleveland (26-43) is averaging 112.3 points, 24.5 assists and a .463 (38-82) mark from the three-point line.

Houston (46-22) scored just 96.3 points per game (10.4 below their season average) while dropping a season-high three in a row at Oklahoma City, Chicago and Miami last week.

This week, the Rockets have averaged 126.5 points with a .579 field-goal percentage including .460 (29-63) shooting from three-point range in home wins over Utah and Minnesota.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland ClinicCavaliers: PG - Jarrett Jack, SG - Dion Waiters, SF - Alonzo Gee
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Spencer Hawes

Rockets: PG - Patrick Beverley, SG - James Harden, SF - Chandler Parsons
PF - Terrance Jones, C - Omer Asik

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

(Rockets) - Dwight Howard, (Left Ankle Strain, Day-to-Day), Craig Smith, (Arthroscopic Right Knee Procedure, Out)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

In the first meeting between the Cavs and Rockets this season on Feb. 1 at the Toyota Center, Luol Deng led the Cavs with 24 points on 10-19 (.526) shooting, including three three-pointers, four rebounds, two assists and two steals in 36 minutes.

All-time, the Wine and Gold are 42-78 against Houston (29-30 Home, 12-48 Road).

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Key to the Game

Ball Movement

Cleveland has dished out 27 assists in consecutive games for the first time this season. The last time they accomplished that feat was last season (27 assists vs. OKC on Feb. 2, 2013 & 33 assists vs. CHA on Feb. 6, 2013).

The Wine and Gold will need the same ball movement tonight in hopes of making the Rockets work at the defensive end.

As mentioned, the Cavaliers have had success against Houston, averaging 112.3 points, 24.5 assists and a .463 (38-82) mark from the three-point line.

Houston boasts a potent offense predicated on sharing the basketball. The Rockets own a record of 21-3 this season when dishing out 24 or more assists, which includes eclipsing the 30-assist mark five times on the season.

Key Matchup

Backcourt Battle

Houston's backcourt is led by All-Star James Harden. Harden is capable of taking over a game by himself and comes into tonight's game averaging 24.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists.

Harden is one of two players in the NBA on pace to finish this season with averages of at least 24.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.50 steals.

Looking to slow down Harden will be the Cavs backcourt of Dion Waiters and Matthew Dellavedova.

Since re-entering the starting lineup (two games), Dion Waiters is averaging 23.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 7.5 assists in 41.0 minutes per game. Waiters, the Eastern Conference’s leading bench scorer (14.7 ppg), made his 11th start of the season on Thursday and scored a season-high tying 30 points to go along with four assists and three steals in 41 minutes against the Thunder.

On Thursday against the Thunder, Dellavedova notched his first career double-double with 11 points and a career-high 10 assists in 33 minutes off the bench. Over the last five games, Dellavedova has plus/minus of +45.

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.


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On Deck

After tonight's game, the Cavs travel to New York on Saturday to face the Knicks at 7:30 p.m. ET.