GameDay Preview: Cavs vs. Timberwolves

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C.J. Miles
David Sherman/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Cleveland Cavaliers (16-35) will look to improve their 3-1 mark on this seven-game homestand tonight when they take on the Minnesota Timberwolves (18-30) for the final time this season. Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. ET.

In the first meeting with the Wolves on Dec. 7, the Cavs swiped a season-high 15 steals, forced 21 Minnesota turnovers and converted their miscues into 22 points. Nine different Cavs players had at least one steal led by Daniel Gibson, who tied his career-high with four steals on the night. Cleveland also held Minnesota to just 4-19 (.211) shooting from deep.

The Cavs enter tonight’s contest with a 6-2 mark over their last eight games at Quicken Loans Arena. Over that stretch, they are averaging 107.6 points on .480 shooting from the field, including .403 from deep, 26.8 assists and just 11.5 turnovers. The Cavs have outscored their opponents by an average of 6.0 points (107.6-101.6) in their last eight home games.

Minnesota comes to The Q having lost four straight games. The Timberwolves have been stricken with injuries this season, losing All-Star big man Kevin Love and point guard Ricky Rubio for significant stretches.

Rubio has returned in the past couple of weeks and provided a spark despite the losing streak. In the past four losses, Rubio is averaging 14.8 points and 10.0 assists.

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

Timberwolves: PG - Ricky Rubio, SG - Luke Ridnour, SF - Mickaël Gelabale
PF - Derrick Williams, C - Nikola Pekovic

Injuries: (Cavs) - Anderson Varejao, (Vastus Medialis Split/Surgery, Out)
(Timberwolves) - Kevin Love, (Right Hand Surgery, Out), Andrei Kirilenko (Strained Right Quadricep, Out), Brandon Roy (Knee Surgery, Out), Chase Budinger (Lateral Meniscus Tear, Out), Malcolm Lee, (Right Knee Surgery, Out), J.J. Barea, (Left Mid-Foot Sprain, Questionable

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

The Cavaliers lead the all-time series against the Timberwolves, 28-16, posting a 14-7 mark in games played at home and a 14-9 record in games played in Minnesota. The Cavs have won 10 of the last 13 games against Minnesota, including four of the last five at The Q.

In the first meeting with the Wolves on Dec. 7, Alonzo Gee's 16 points led the Cavaliers and Anderson Varejao hauled down 14 rebounds.

Key to the Game/Key Matchups

Key to the Game

Three-Point Shooting

Threes beat twos, and if the Cavaliers' marksmen can have a good game beyond-the-arc, they will have a sizable advantage as the Timberwolves rank dead last in the NBA in three-point accuracy (29.8%).

The Wine and Gold have been dialed in recently from downtown and in their first four games of this homestand, they are shooting 44.7% from beyond-the-arc.

Key Matchup

Cavs Bench vs. Timberwolves Bench

With the Timberwolves banged up, look for the Cavaliers to continue to ride their recently acquired depth to wear down Minnesota.

Cleveland’s reserves scored 36 points against the Nuggets on Saturday and are now averaging 46.6 bench points over the last five games. Against Denver, Shaun Livingston (11 points, five rebounds) and Wayne Ellington (13 points, five rebounds) each scored in double figures for the Cavs, who have had at least two players score in double figures off the bench in eight straight games.

The catalysts of the second unit have been Ellington and Marreese Speights. Since being acquired by the Cavs, Speights (7.4) and Ellington (6.5) are averaging a combined 13.9 points in the fourth quarter. In eight complete games with Cleveland, Speights is averaging 13.9 points and 6.5 rebounds in 23.3 minutes per game, while Ellington is putting up 9.5 points, including a .457 clip on three-pointers, in 20.1 minutes per game.

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FSOhio HD, NBA League Pass
Radio: WTAM 1100, XM 220, Sirius 93, NBA League Pass Audio

Programming Notes:

Cavs vs. Timberwolves - Monday, February 11th
Cavaliers Live Pregame Show begins at 6:30 p.m. | Tipoff at 7:00 p.m.

• Cleveland, Toledo, Youngstown/Erie, and Wheeling/Steubenville areas:
- Main FOX Sports Ohio cable channel
- Direct TV: FSOhio
- Dish: FSOhio
- AT&T: FSOhio

• Columbus, Lima, Cincinnati, and Dayton, areas:
- The game is being made available to providers to air on the alternate FOX Sports Ohio cable channels. Alternate channel information can be found here: http://www.foxsportsohio.com/pages/channelfinder/
- Direct TV: FSOhio
- Dish: FSOhio
- AT&T: FSOhio