GameDay Preview: Cavs at 76ers

Kyrie Irving
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Wine and Gold travel to the City of Brotherly Love tonight to square off against the Philadelphia 76ers at 7:00 p.m. ET.

The Cavs have held opponents to under 95 points in four of their first five games of the 2013-14 campaign. Cleveland is ranked 5th in opponent points per game (94.8), 5th in opponent field goal percentage (.422), 5th in opponents points in the paint (36.0) and 3rd in opponent second chance points per game (10.0) this season.

Philadelphia comes into tonight's contest with a 3-2 record after falling to the Washington Wizards, 116-102, on Wednesday night.

As a team, the 76ers are averaging 104.4 points per game which is good enough for 8th in the NBA. Former Ohio State Buckeye standout, Evan Turner, leads Philadelphia in scoring at 22.2 points a contest.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland ClinicCavaliers: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - Dion Waiters, SF - Earl Clark
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Anderson Varejao

76ers: PG - Michael Carter-Williams, SG - James Anderson, SF - Evan Turner
PF - Thaddeus Young, C - Spencer Hawes

Injuries: (Cavs) - Carrick Felix, (Mild Sports Hernia, Out)

(76ers) - Arnett Moultrie, (Left Ankle Sprain, Day-to-Day), Kwame Brown, (Right Hamstring, Day-to-Day), Nerlens Noel, (Left Knee Injury, Out)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

Cleveland is 88-100 all-time against Philadelphia including a 51-42 record while playing at home (35-58 Road).

In the two teams' last regular season matchup, Tristan Thompson notched his second straight double-double (30th of the season) with 12 points on 5-10 (.500) shooting from the field, a game-high 12 rebounds and a season-high tying three blocks in 26 minutes.

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Key to the Game

Forcing Turnovers

With rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams, and a young team overall, the Philadelphia 76ers are susceptible to miscues at the offensive end of the floor.

Cleveland has swiped at least 10 steals in three straight games, averaging 11.7 steals over that stretch. On the season, they’re averaging 10.2 steals per game, which is the 6th-highest in the NBA. Five Cavs players are averaging more than one steal per game: Dion Waiters (1.8), Alonzo Gee (1.4), C.J. Miles (1.4), Anderson Varejao (1.4) and Anthony Bennett (1.2).

The Wine and Gold should work to force turnovers and turn them into fastbreak opportunities in order to give themselves an advantage tonight.

Key Matchup

Backcourt Battle

The exceptional play of Philly signal caller, Michael Carter-Williams, has taken many by surprise. The rookie first round pick was recently named Eastern Conference Player of the Week and is averaging 19.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 7.6 assists and 3.0 steals.

Although Evan Turner is listed as a forward, he will play in the backcourt at times and acts as one of the team's primary ball handlers.

As a team, Philadelphia likes to push the basketball down the floor and come into tonight's contest averaging the third most fastbreak points at 20.4 per game. The Sixers also rank second in the league in offensive possessions per game and fourth in fastbreak efficiency.

Looking to slow down the running Sixers will be the Cavaliers backcourt, a unit that has been putting up solid numbers as well.

On Wednesday, Kyrie Irving recorded a season-high 29 points against the Bucks in Milwaukee. During Cleveland’s 13-0 run late in the game, Irving scored 10 straight points in 72 seconds (2:50–1:38) and finished the night with five rebounds and a game-high eight assists in 35 minutes.

Dion Waiters garnered a season-high 21 points on 7-13 (.538) shooting, three rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block in 30 minutes against Milwaukee on Wednesday. It was the 15th time in his career with at least 20 points.

C.J. Miles leads the Cavs bench with 14.6 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 21.2 minutes per game. Miles has the 2nd highest scoring average among all Eastern Conference reserves, which is also 5th among all NBA bench players. Also, his 12 three-pointers made are the most among all Eastern Conference bench players, 4th among all NBA reserves.

Where to Catch the Action

TV: Fox Sports Ohio, Radio: WTAM 1100, NBA League Pass Audio, XM 203, Sirius 94

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.

On Deck

After tonight's game in Philadelphia, the two teams travel to Quicken Loans Arena tomorrow night to square off in Cleveland at 7:30 p.m. ET. For fans coming to the game, click here for an important traffic update from ODOT.