GameDay Preview: Cavs at Warriors

Tristan Thompson
Rocky Widner/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Wine and Gold travel to Golden State tonight to take on the Warriors at 10:30 p.m. ET.

Cleveland (25-40) has improved to 5-2 in their last seven matchups against Western Conference opponents after defeating the Phoenix Suns 110-101 in the opener of this road trip.

Six Cavs players scored in double figures and Cleveland led wire-to-wire for the 2nd time this season (vs. ORL on Feb. 19). The Cavs shot 12-24 (.500) from the three-point line, outrebounded Phoenix 51-36 and held a 27-14 edge in second chance points.

Golden State (41-25) had a five-game winning streak snapped in Los Angeles as they fell to the Clippers 111-98 on Wednesday.

The Warriors have gone 10-3 since the All-Star Break, trailing only San Antonio (10-1) and the Clippers (9-2) for the best post-All-Star record in the league.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland ClinicCavaliers: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - Jarrett Jack, SF - Luol Deng
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Spencer Hawes

Warriors: PG - Stephen Curry, SG - Jordan Crawford, SF - Andre Iguodala
PF - David Lee, C - Andrew Bogut

Status Update: (Cavs) - Carrick Felix, (Left Patellar Stress Fracture, Out), Anthony Bennett, (Left Patellar Tendon Strain, Out), C.J. Miles, (Left Ankle Sprain, TBD)

(Warriors) - Festus Ezeli, (Right Knee Surgery, Out), Klay Thompson, (Personal, Out)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

When the two teams squared off on Dec. 29 at Quicken Loans Arena, Kyrie Irving posted team highs of 27 points and nine assists in 40 minutes, while Tristan Thompson registered his 12th double-double of the season with 17 points and 12 rebounds in 40 minutes.

All-time, the Wine and Gold are 49-53 against Golden State (32-21 Home, 17-32 Road).

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Key to the Game

Attacking the Basket

Golden State's physical frontcourt of David Lee and Andrew Bogut have done a solid job of protecting the rim and the Wine and Gold must be aggressive when taking the ball to the basket in hopes of earning trips to the free throw line.

Over the last 12 games, the Cavs are shooting .811 (231-285) from the charity stripe, the 3rd-highest mark in the NBA since Feb. 18.

In addition, the Cavs have shot at least .800 from the charity stripe 22 times this season, including a .815 (22-27) mark in the win at Phoenix.

Watch Interview: Coach Talks Golden State

Key Matchup

Backcourt Battle

Golden State has one of the most dynamic starting backcourt tandems in the entire NBA with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Although Thompson is expected to miss tonight's contest due to personal matters, the Wine and Gold should focus on containing Curry.

Curry leads the league in three-pointers made (201) while ranking fourth in assists per game (8.6) and eighth in scoring (23.2). The Warriors are 29-7 all-time when Curry goes for 20 points and 10 assists (9-4 this season).

Battling Curry in the backcourt will be Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters.

Irving had a strong all-around game in Wednesday’s win at Phoenix as he finished with 23 points (12 in 4th Q), nine rebounds, six assists, two steals and one block in 39 minutes. Irving ranks 6th in the NBA in 4th quarter scoring (6.1). He has scored at least 20 points in 20 of the last 27 games (since Jan. 15), including seven of the last eight. Over the last eight contests, Irving is averaging 24.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 2.1 steals in 40.6 minutes per game.

Since returning to action (four games), Waiters is averaging 15.3 points in 21.8 minutes per game. On the season, Waiters is the highest scoring reserve in the Eastern Conference at 14.6 points per game (2nd among all qualified NBA bench players). Against the Suns, he had 10 points in 18 minutes off the bench, including a stretch of eight straight points that put the Cavs ahead 87-77 with 11:09 remaining.

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 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, the Cavs travel to Los Angeles on Sunday to take on the Clippers at 9:30 p.m. ET.