GameDay Preview: Cavs vs. Trail Blazers
The Cleveland Cavaliers (4-12) return to Quicken Loans Arena tonight to take on the Portland Trail Blazers (6-10) at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Both teams played last night as the Wine and Gold will look to build momentum from their thrilling 113-111 victory in Atlanta while Portland is hoping to bounce back from a 96-78 loss to the Boston Celtics.
In last night's victory, the Cavaliers had three players score 20+ points for the first time all season with Jeremy Pargo leading the way with 22 points. Anderson Varejao posted his seventh straight double-double tallying 20 points to go along with 18 rebounds and rookie Dion Waiters chipped in 21 points and a team-high seven assists.
LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 23 points on Friday while former Cavalier J.J. Hickson and rookie Meyers Leonard added 11 apiece for the Blazers, who dropped to 2-7 on the road. Portland was averaging 99.5 points prior to their trip, but they're scoring only 86.5 per game during their skid. Aldridge is the leader of the young Blazers, averaging a team-high 20.5 points and 7.5 rebounds.
Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic
Cavaliers: PG - Jeremy Pargo, SG - Dion Waiters, SF - Alonzo Gee
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Anderson Varejao
Trail Blazers: PG - Damian Lillard, SG - Wesley Matthews, SF - Nicolas Batum
PF - J.J. Hickson, C - LaMarcus Aldridge
*Subject to change
The Cavaliers trail the all-time series against the Trail Blazers 61-48 posting a 31-23 mark in games played at home with the Blazers tallying a 38-17 record in games played in their home arena. Cleveland has won 11 of the last 16 games against Portland, which includes winning seven of the last eight contests at The Q.
Six of the last nine games between the Cavaliers and Trail Blazers have been decided by fewer than 10 points. Portland won the only meeting against Cleveland last season, 98-78, at the Rose Garden despite Kyrie Irving's 21 points, four rebounds and four assists.
Key to the Game/Key Matchup
Key to the GameRe-Focus
As sweet as last night's last second victory was, the Wine and Gold must put the win behind them and focus on the Trail Blazers.
Tonight's game also marks the Cavaliers' fifth back-to-back of the young season. In their previous games having played the night before, the Cavs have dropped all four of those meetings.
Dion Waiters vs. Damian Lillard
With the number one overall pick, Anthony Davis, sidelined with injuries, Waiters and Lillard have been leading the rookie class thus far.
Lillard leads all NBA rookies in scoring (18.4 ppg), assists (5.9 apg) and steals (1.38 spg). Not far behind him, Waiters is 2nd among NBA rookies in steals at 1.2 per game, while ranking 3rd in points (15.4). He also ranks 2nd among rookie qualifiers in minutes (31.8), 4th in three-point field goal percentage (.365, 31-85) and tied for 4th in assists (3.1).
Tristan Thompson vs. LaMarcus Aldridge
The two former Texas Longhorn standouts will go head-to-head in the paint tonight.
As mentioned, Aldridge is having yet another solid season and will pose a big challenge for Thompson.
Slightly overshadowed by the exceptional play of Anderson Varejao, Thompson has been putting up impressive numbers, especially on the glass. Last night, Thompson tied his career-high with 15 rebounds, and on the season, the sophomore big comes into tonight's contest averaging 8.3 rebounds (3.6 on the offensive end).
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