GameDay Preview: Cavs vs. Bobcats

Tristan Thompson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrest
Kent Smith/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Cleveland Cavaliers (14-34) will play the second game of their seven-game homestand tonight against the Charlotte Bobcats (11-36). Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. ET.

In their first matchup this season, Kyrie Irving led Cleveland with a game-high 33 points, five rebounds, six assists, four steals and a career-high three blocks in 38 minutes, while Tristan Thompson recorded his 11th double-double of the season with a then season-high 19 points on 8-10 (.800) shooting and a game-high 13 rebounds in a Cavaliers road victory.

In their last five games at The Q, the Cavs are averaging 103.4 points, 26.8 assists and just 12.8 turnovers. They had 115 points, 27 assists and just 13 turnovers in the victory over the Thunder this past Saturday.

Charlotte wraps up a five-game road trip tonight having lost their previous four matchups away from Time Warner Cable Arena. In those loses, the Bobcats have allowed an average of 100.7 points while losing by 12.7 points over that span.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland ClinicCavaliers: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - Dion Waiters, SF - Alonzo Gee
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Tyler Zeller

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

Injuries: (Cavs) - Anderson Varejao, (Vastus Medialis Split/Surgery, Out)
(Bobcats) - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Concussion, Out)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

Cleveland is 21-8 all-time against the Bobcats, which includes a 13-1 mark at Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavs have also won the last five meetings with Charlotte. Overall, the Cavs have won five straight games over Charlotte and are 13-1 all-time against the Bobcats at The Q.

It is the only contest between these two teams at Quicken Loans Arena. In their first regular season meeting on Jan. 4 in Charlotte, Kyrie Irving nailed a 12-foot jumper with 1.0 second remaining to seal a 106-104 win. The Cavs had a season-high 10 blocks while swiping nine steals and shooting 39-78 (.500) from the field.

Key to the Game/Key Matchups

Key to the Game

Playing with Energy

In a back-to-back this past weekend, the Cavaliers fell to the Pistons 117-99 but then turned around the next night and knocked off one of the best teams in the NBA. Head coach Byron Scott commented following the Thunder victory as to what the Cavaliers need to do every night in order to win.

"As I said to the guys after the game, it’s amazing what happens when you play with energy," said Coach Scott. "That’s what we’ve been looking for every single night. Just play with that type of energy and see what can happen. When you play with that type of energy, good things can happen, and we beat the best team in the league tonight.”

If the Quicken Loans Arena crowd can feed off the Wine and Gold's energy, then it will make things difficult for a young, inexperienced Bobcats team.

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.

Kemba Walker leads the Bobcats in scoring (17.8), assists (5.6) and steals (1.9), while also averaging 3.5 rebounds in 35.0 minutes. Walker, along with Kyrie Irving, is one of five players in the NBA who leads their team in scoring, assists and steals.

Walker's ability to penetrate creates opportunities for himself and his teammates, and the Wine and Gold must limit his appearances in the paint.

Where to Catch the Action

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

Programming Note:

Cavaliers Live pregame show on FOX Sports Ohio at 6:30 p.m.

• Main FOX Sports Ohio cable channel in all Cavs viewing areas except Cincinnati and Dayton
• FSOhio on Direct TV, Dish Network and AT&T
• Cincinnati and Dayton areas: we are making the Cavs game available to providers to carry on the alternate channel: