GameDay Preview: Cavs at Magic

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Omri Casspi, Glen Davis, Tristan Thompson
Fernando Medina/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Cleveland Cavaliers (3-8) will begin a three-game road trip starting tonight as they head to the Sunshine State to take on the Orlando Magic (4-7) at 7:00 p.m.

Both teams come into tonight's contest having been victorious in their last game on Wednesday. The Wine and Gold look to build upon their 92-83 victory against the Philadelphia 76ers while the Magic hope to carry over momentum from their 90-74 win over the Detroit Pistons.

In their first game without leading scorer, Kyrie Irving, the starting backcourt tandem of Jeremy Pargo and Dion Waiters combined to score 44 points while Anderson Varejao notched his sixth double-double of the season tallying 10 points and 19 rebounds. On the season, Varejao is averaging a career-high 13.7 points on .518 shooting, 13.7 rebounds (2nd in NBA), 3.2 assists and 1.3 steals in 35.5 minutes per game.

The post-Dwight Howard Magic are led in scoring by their shooting guard, Arron Afflalo, whom is averaging a team-high 15.0 points while Glen "Big Baby" Davis comes into the game as the team's second-leading scorer (14.8 ppg) and leading rebounder (9.0 rpg).

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland ClinicCavaliers: PG - Jeremy Pargo, SG - Dion Waiters, SF - Alonzo Gee
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Anderson Varejao

Magic: PG - Jameer Nelson, SG - Arron Afflalo, SF - Maurice Harkless
PF - Glen Davis, C - Nikola Vucevic

Injuries: (Cavs) - Luke Harangody (Right Knee Orthoscopy, Out), Kyrie Irving (Hairline/Non-Displaced Fracture in Left Index Finger, Out), Daniel Gibson (Right Elbow Soreness, Questionable),
(Magic) - Al Harrington (Right Knee Rehabilitation, Out), Hedo Turkoglu (Broken Left Hand, Out)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

The Cavaliers trail the all-time series against the Magic, 47-37, posting a 23-18 mark in games played at home with the Magic hold a 29-14 advantage while playing in their own arena.

The Magic have won nine straight meetings and 17 of the last 22 regular season matchups with the Cavaliers including all of their three matchups last season.

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Key to the Game

The Battle on the Boards
Both the Cavs and Magic come into tonight's game as two of the league's top rebounding teams and whichever team can control the glass will have a distinct advantage.

The Cavs come into contest as the NBA’s leader in second chance points allowed (9.3), while ranking 3rd on the offensive end in second chance points (16.0). Cleveland has tied or outrebounded their opponent on the offensive end in 10 of their 11 games so far with an average of 13.5 offensive rebounds per game (3rd) to their opponents’ 8.9, which is the lowest in the NBA.

Orlando ranks seventh in the NBA in rebounds per game (44.3) and second in defensive rebounds per game (33.7). Furthermore, the Magic rank seventh in the league in defensive rebounding percentage (pct. of opponent’s missed shots which a given team rebounds) at .745.

Key Matchup

Alonzo Gee vs. Arron Afflalo
One has to believe that Alonzo Gee will draw the assignment of guarding the Magic's best perimeter player. Gee has done a solid job all season long in this assignment and if he can keep Afflalo in check, then the Cavaliers chances of winning increase significantly.

Offensively, Gee has been consistent, scoring at least 14 points in five of his last six games. Over that span, Gee is averaging 13.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.0 block in 36.2 minutes per game.

At only 15.0 points per game, Afflalo isn't an explosive scorer and if Gee can match or get near Afflalo's point total, then this should give the Wine and Gold an upper hand.

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FSOhio HD, NBA League Pass
Radio: WTAM 1100, XM 219, NBA League Pass Audio