GameDay Preview: Cavs vs. Thunder

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Tristan Thompson
David Liam Kyle/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Wine and Gold host the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight at Quicken Loans Arena. Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Cleveland (26-42) opened their three-game homestand against Miami on Tuesday and shot .514 (37-72) from the field against the Heat, including .596 (31-52) in the first three quarters. It marked the 6th time this season the Cavs connected on at least .500 of their shots.

The Cavs are 6-3 in their last nine matchups against Western Conference opponents.

Oklahoma City (49-18) begins a back-to-back set tonight as they travel to Toronto tomorrow night. In the first game of their most recent back-to-back this past Sunday, the Thunder suffered their most lopsided loss of the season, falling to the Dallas Mavericks 109-86 at home.

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

Thunder: PG - Russell Westbrook, SG - Andre Roberson, SF - Kevin Durant
PF - Serge Ibaka, C - Steven Adams

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)

(Thunder) - Thabo Sefolosha, (Left Calf Strain, Out), Kendrick Perkins, (Left Groin Strain, Out)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

In the first meeting between the two teams on Feb. 26 at Chesapeake Energy Arena, the Cavaliers outscored the Thunder 42-28 in the fourth quarter to garner a 114-104 victory. All five starters scored in double figures for Cleveland, who shot 14-21 (.667) from the field in the fourth quarter while holding Oklahoma City to 9-22 (.409) shooting.

All-time, the Wine and Gold are 43-59 against the Thunder (29-21 Home, 14-38 Road).

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Key to the Game

Three-Point Shooting

In the last nine games against Western Conference opponents, Cleveland is shooting a combined .444 (84-189) from the three-point line and have made at least 10 triples in six of those contests.

In the win at Oklahoma City on Feb. 26, the Cavs knocked down 11 of their 26 attempts (.423) from beyond-the-arc.

Key Matchup

Backcourt Battle

With the recent injury to Kyrie Irving, the Wine and Gold will rely on Jarrett Jack and Dion Waiters to carry the Cavaliers backcourt.

In Tuesday’s game against Miami, Jack notched a season-high 22 points on 8-13 (.615) shooting, including a season-high 4-6 (.667) from the three-point line, four rebounds, four assists and one block in 42 minutes. Jack finished with 20-plus points for the third time this season. He has scored in double figures in five of the last six contests, averaging 12.7 points on .519 (27-52) shooting and 4.3 assists in 34.2 minutes per game.

Waiters, the Eastern Conference’s leading bench scorer (14.7 ppg), made his 10th start of the season on Tuesday and registered his first career double-double with 17 points and a career-high 11 assists to go along with four rebounds in 41 minutes. Since returning to action (seven games), Waiters is averaging 15.9 points, 3.7 assists and 1.0 steal in 27.9 minutes per game.

Waiters and Jack will have the assignment of slowing down Oklahoma City's backcourt led by Russell Westbrook.

In his last nine games, Westbrook is averaging 23.3 points on 49.6% shooting to go along with 8.4 assists and 2.8 steals.

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FOX Sports Ohio, Radio: WTAM 1100, NBA League Pass Audio, XM & Sirius 218

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 – Thunder game (7:00 p.m.) and the Blue Jackets – Canadians game (7:30 p.m.). Click here for programming details.

Promotion

Available Ticket Offer

On Deck

After tonight's game, the Cavs host the Houston Rockets on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. ET.