GameDay Preview: Cavs at Thunder
The Cleveland Cavaliers (2-4) play the fifth game of their six-game road trip tonight as they travel to the Chesapeake Energy Arena to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder (4-2) at 7:00 p.m. (ET).
The Wine and Gold look to bounce back from a hearth-breaking, 107-105 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Friday while the Thunder are looking to extend their winning streak to four games.
Cleveland has received great production from their backcourt during the road trip as Kyrie Irving is averaging 24.0 points with 8.0 assists through those four games, while Waiters is averaging 19.0 points with 13, three-pointers in 23 attempts.
Oklahoma City is led by their dynamic duo of Kevin Durant (22.0 ppg, 11.0 rpg) and Russell Westbrook (18.2 ppg, 7.7 apg). The newly-acquired, Kevin Martin, has done a formidable job replacing the league's defending 6th-man-of-the-year, James Harden, averaging 18.0 ppg off the bench.
Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic
Cavaliers: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - Dion Waiters, SF - Alonzo Gee
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Anderson Varejao
Thunder: PG - Russell Westbrook, SG - Thabo Sefolosha, SF - Kevin Durant
PF - Serge Ibaka, C - Kendrick Perkins
*Subject to change
The Cavaliers trail the all-time series against the Thunder/Seattle Supersonics, 41-58, posting a 28-21 mark in games played at home with the Thunder/Sonics hold a 37-13 advantage while playing in their own arena.
Wednesday's contest will mark the first of two meetings between the Cavs and Thunder this season. The Cavs have won three of the last four meetings at Chesapeake Energy Arena, which includes a 96-90 win in their only encounter with the Thunder last season on March 9, 2012. In the victory, the Cavs outrebounded the Thunder 51-40, including a 21-8 advantage on the offensive glass. Alonzo Gee had 12 points, eight rebounds and two steals in 36 minutes, while Kyrie Irving dished out a career-high 12 assists to go along with nine points, six rebounds and three steals in 31 minutes in the win.
Key to the Game/Key Matchup
Key to the Game
Getting Off to a Good Start
The first quarter has been Oklahoma City's worst in terms of offensive production. The Thunder are hitting 45.2 percent of their shots and averaging 24.0 points during that period.
The first three minutes have been particularly challenging, as Oklahoma City is scoring an average of 4.8 points on 40 percent shooting.
The Wine and Gold are one of the NBA's best in that opening 180-second span, converting on 58.6 percent of their shots and scoring an average of 7.0 points. The atmosphere at the Chesapeake Energy Arena is electric and the Cavaliers must get off to a good start in an effort to take the crowd out of the game.
Kevin Durant vs. Alonzo Gee
The Cavs best perimeter defender, Alonzo Gee, will have his hands full with the league's back-to-back scoring champion.
Gee, along with Anderson Varejao, has been the Cavaliers anchor at the defensive end. The 6-6 Gee has often drawn the defensive assignment of guarding the opposing teams' point guard. Unlike those matchups, Gee will be at a considerate disadvantage vertically against the extremely long Durant whom is listed at 6-10.
Despite the four-inch height difference, Gee did a good job of containing Durant in their matchup last season, holding the league's leading scorer to 23 points, five points below is season average.
Where to Catch the Action