GameDay Preview: Cavs at Bobcats

Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving
Kent Smith/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Cleveland Cavaliers (7-26) are on the road to begin their 12th back-to-back set of the season when they square off with the Charlotte Bobcats (8-23) tonight at Time Warner Cable Arena. Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. ET.

The Wine and Gold will look to snap a three-game losing skid while the Bobcats are hoping to win their second-consecutive game after snapping an 18-game losing streak on Monday.

Head coach Byron Scott mixed up the lineup on Wednesday, placing C.J. Miles as the starting two-guard and bringing Dion Waiters off the bench as the all-important 6th man. Miles started off the game strong with 12 first quarter points while Waiters ended up with 20 points.

Charlotte is led by their floor general, Kemba Walker, whom in their last game scored 18 points, grabbed a season-high eight rebounds, handed out six assists, had four steals and blocked two shots in 35 minutes.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland ClinicCavaliers: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - C.J. Miles, SF - Alonzo Gee
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Tyler Zeller

Bobcats: PG - Kemba Walker, SG - Gerald Henderson, SF - Jeffery Taylor
PF - Hakim Warrick, C - Bismack Biyombo

Injuries: (Cavs) - Anderson Varejao, (Right Knee Contusion, Out), Daniel Gibson, (Concussion, Out)
(Bobcats) - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Corneal Abrasion, Right Eye, Game-time Decision), Byron Mullens (Left Ankle Sprain, Out), Tyrus Thomas (Left Calf Strain, Out)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

Cleveland is 20-8 all-time against the Bobcats, which includes a 13-1 mark at Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavs have also won the last four meetings with Charlotte.

The Cavs swept the Bobcats, 3-0, during the 2011-12 season. Tristan Thompson averaged 10.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 22.0 minutes per game against Charlotte last year, while Kyrie Irving averaged 22.5 points on .654 shooting and 6.5 assists in 28.5 minutes per game.

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Key to the Game

Finish Strong

In 22 games this season, the Wine and Gold have either led or trailed by no more than six points heading into the fourth quarter, and have struggled at times in finishing strong.

The Bobcats are 6-3 this season in games decided by four points or less, and their average margin of victory of 5.0 points in their eight wins is the smallest in the NBA. Last season, the Bobcats were 3-5 in games decided by four points or less.

If the Cavaliers have the lead or within striking distance late in the game, they will have to focus and execute at both ends of the floor in order to finish on top.

Key Matchup

Cavs guards vs. Kemba Walker

If there is one player on the Bobcats that can single-handedly beat you and take over a game, it's Kemba Walker. The Cavaliers guards' perimeter defense on the second-year guard will be the key matchup tonight.

On the season, Walker leads his team in scoring and assists, bucketing 18.1 points while dishing out 6.0 assists per game. Walker's ability to penetrate creates opportunities for himself and his teammates, and the Wine and Gold must limit his appearances in the paint.

Walker ranks sixth in the NBA in steals, 16th in assists per turnover (2.7), 18th in scoring, 18th in assists, tied for 18th in steals per turnover (0.8), and 29th in minutes played.

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FSOhio HD, NBA League Pass
Radio: WTAM 1100, XM & Sirius 85, NBA League Pass Audio