GameDay Preview: Cavs vs. Nuggets

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Tristan Thompson
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Cleveland Cavaliers (16-34) look for their fourth straight victory tonight as they host the Denver Nuggets (32-18) at Quicken Loans Arena. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. ET.

The Wine and Gold extended their winning streak last night with a 119-108 victory against the Orlando Magic. The Cavaliers bench once again came up big, making big shots down the stretch while combining for 51 points.

Cleveland has scored at least 115 points in each of their three contests of this homestand, averaging 118.7 points on .511 shooting from the field, .446 from deep, 27.7 assists and 8.3 turnovers. The last time the Cavs scored at least 115 points in three straight games was from January 15-20, 1993.

Denver comes into tonight's contest riding an eight-game winning streak due in large part to their dynamic, balanced scoring attack. Six Nuggets are averaging double-digits in points led by Danilo Gallinari at 17.1 points per game.

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

Nuggets: PG - Ty Lawson, SG - Andre Iguodala, SF - Danilo Gallinari
PF - Kenneth Faried, C - Kosta Koufos

Injuries: (Cavs) - Anderson Varejao, (Vastus Medialis Split/Surgery, Out)
(Nuggets) - None to Report

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

The Cavaliers trail the all-time series against the Nuggets, 43-32, despite posting a 23-13 mark in games played at home. Denver holds a 30-9 advantage in games played in their home arena.

In the first meeting on Jan. 11 at the Pepsi Center, Kyrie Irving bucketed a game-high 28 points to go along with seven assists and five steals. Dion Waiters added 18 points and Tristan Thompson scored 16 points despite the Cavaliers falling 98-91.

Key to the Game/Key Matchups

Key to the Game

Attacking the Glass

Both teams have very active big men and come into tonight's game as two of the top rebounding teams in the league, especially on the offensive glass. Denver grabs 13.2 offensive boards per game while the Cavaliers average 12.7 a contest. Cleveland also ranks 2nd in the league in second chance points per game (15.9).

Denver's +21 rebounding advantage over Cleveland in their first matchup back in January was a new season-high for the Nuggets. Furthermore, Denver has outrebounded their opponent in 31 of 50 games and has had a +15 or better advantage on the boards on six occasions while going 12-2 when grabbing 50+ boards.

Suffice it to say, the Wine and Gold will have to put their main focus on boxing out and crashing the offensive glass when the opportunity permits itself.

Key Matchup

Alonzo Gee vs. Danilo Gallinari

Danilo Gallinari is a tough cover for even the best defenders in the league with his size, strength and crafty athleticism. Gallinari is an extremely talented offensive player with a threat to take the ball to the basket as well as stretch the defense with his shooting ability from the perimeter.

Gallinari came up big against the Cavaliers in the two teams' last meeting, bucketing 23 points while hitting a key three-pointer in the final minute.

The fourth-year man out of Italy has been an extremely reliable scoring threat over the last month, scoring 20+ points in eight of his last 16 games while helping lead Denver to a 14-2 record during this stretch.

More than likely, the Cavaliers best perimeter defender, Alonzo Gee, will draw the assignment on Gallinari. Holding Gallinari to at or below his season average should be a key to tonight's game.

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FSOhio HD, NBATV, NBA League Pass
Radio: WTAM 1100, XM 218, Sirius 92, NBA League Pass Audio

Programming Notes:

Cavaliers vs. Nuggets - Saturday, February 9th

• 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: www.foxsportsohio.com/pages/channelfinder

Please note: The Cavaliers game against the Denver Nuggets at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 9th at Quicken Loans Arena will now be broadcast nationally by NBA TV. The game will also still be broadcast locally on FOX Sports Ohio.

Promotions/Giveaways

  • CavFanatic Night presented by Verizon
  • Theme: Girl Scout Night
  • Theme (2): Kids Postgame Free Throws
  • Giveaway: Kids T-Shirt (First 5,000 children 14 and under)
  • Family Packs: Includes four Cavs tickets, four hot dogs and four sodas starting as low as $79 – or $19.75 per person, for a $41 savings! Buy Tickets