GameDay Preview: Cavs vs. Thunder

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Dion Waiters, Kendrick Perkins
Layne Murdoch/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Cleveland Cavaliers (13-34) host the Oklahoma City Thunder (35-11) tonight at Quicken Loans Arena. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Following a season-best three game winning streak, the Wine and Gold have dropped back-to-back games, falling 108-95 to Golden State on Tuesday and 117-99 at Detroit on Friday. Tristan Thompson is averaging 18.0 points over his last five games and tallied 19 points to go along with nine rebounds against the Pistons.

Oklahoma City comes into tonight's contest averaging a league-high 105.7 points and owns the NBA's second-best record. Their 15-8 road mark is the league's best despite dropping three of the final five on their recent six-game trip.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland ClinicCavaliers: 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

Injuries: (Cavs) - Anderson Varejao, (Vastus Medialis Split/Surgery, Out), Daniel Gibson, (Right Great Toe Sprain, TBD), Luke Walton, (Sore Left Foot and Ankle, Questionable)
(Thunder) - None to Report

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

The Cavaliers trail the all-time series against the Thunder/Seattle Supersonics, 41-59, posting a 28-21 mark in games played at home with the Thunder/Sonics holding a 38-13 advantage while playing in their own arena.

The two teams met once earlier this season with the Thunder defeating the Cavaliers 106-91 despite a team-high 20 points from Kyrie Irving and 16 points from Daniel Gibson off the bench.

Key to the Game/Key Matchups

Key to the Game

Attacking the Basket Strong
The last time Cleveland and Oklahoma City faced each other, the Thunder blocked ten shots, seven of those coming from power forward Serge Ibaka.

Although Ibaka and center Kendrick Perkins are great shot blockers, they are always susceptible to drawing fouls with their aggressiveness at the rim.

Over the last couple of weeks, the Cavaliers have been superb from the free-throw line, including a 23-of-26 (.885) performance last night. Since December 28th (17 games), Cleveland is shooting .810 (319-394) from the foul line, which is the 4th best free throw percentage in the league over that span.

With that being said, the Wine and Gold should look to attack the basket strong in hopes of making numerous trips to the charity stripe.

Key Matchup

Kevin Durant vs. Alonzo Gee
The Cavs best perimeter defender, Alonzo Gee, squares off against the league's back-to-back scoring champion (and current league leader), Kevin Durant.

Gee 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 has done a solid job of containing Durant in their last two matchups against the Thunder, holding Durant to a 24.5 average, five points below his current season average (29.6).

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FSOhio HD, NBA League Pass
Radio: WTAM 1100, XM 220, Sirius 137, NBA League Pass Audio

Programming Notes:

Cavaliers vs. Thunder - Saturday, February 2nd
Cavaliers Live Pregame Show begins at 7:00 p.m. | Tipoff at 7:30 p.m.

• Direct TV: FSOhio
• Dish Network: FSOhio
• AT&T: FSOhio
• Cable channels:
- Cleveland, Toledo, Youngstown/Erie, Wheeling/Steubenville areas:

• Main FOX Sports Ohio channel
- Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, Lima, areas:
• The game is being made available to providers to air on the alternate FOX Sports Ohio channel. Alternate channel information can be found here: http://www.foxsportsohio.com/pages/channelfinder/

Promotions/Giveaways

Theme: Fan Choice Night
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