#CavsGrizzlies Game Preview - February 23, 2018

FedExForum at 8:00 p.m. ET
David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

Game Summary

The Cavaliers (34-23) battle the Western Conference's Memphis Grizzlies (18-38) on the road in the second leg of a back-to-back. Tipoff tonight from the FedExForum is at 8:00 p.m. (ET).

The Wine & Gold are looking to get back into gear after dropping last night's matchup with the Washington Wizards, 110-103, at The Q, which snapped the Cavaliers' four-game winning streak.

Despite Thursday's stumble, Cleveland still owns a three-game road winning streak dating back to before the All-Star Break. In each of those three games, the Cavs scored at least 120 points (123-107 at ATL on February 9, 121-99 at BOS on February 11 & 120-112 at OKC on February 13). The have won by an average of 15.3 points, outscoring their three foes 121.3-106.0 and outshooting them .527-.431. Cleveland is also shooting .465 (47-101) from beyond the arc and averaging 15.7 three-pointers made over their three-game road win streak.

Over the last five games, Cleveland has shot at least .500 from the field for the first time since the 2009-10 season (February 25, 2010-March 5, 2010). The team record is six, done twice: January 14-24, 1989; and again from February 18, 1989 – March 2, 1989. Over the last five games (since February 7), the Cavs are shooting .535 (230-430) from the field and putting up 121.4 points.

From an individual perspective, LBJ will be looking to repeat his performance from last night's loss to Washington. Over 37 minutes, James dropped 32 points, nine rebounds and eight dimes.

In the first quarter of the last six games, JR Smith has shot 21-25 (.840) from the field, including 14-16 (.875) from beyond the arc, while averaging 9.3 points (56 points). For the month of February, Swish is averaging 14.1 points on .537 (36-67) shooting, including .520 (26-50) from three-point range, and 3.7 rebounds in 30.1 minutes.

As the Cavs aim to head into their five-game homestand on a high note, they'll have to power past a struggling Grizzlies squad that has lost nine of their last 10, including seven straight.

Part of Memphis' woes this season can be attributed to losing star point guard Mike Conley, who underwent surgery on a small bone protusion in his left heel back in January.

Memphis has struggled when it comes to inter-conference play. In fact, the Grizzlies are 3-16 this season against Eastern Conference opponents, which is the lowest winning percentage (.158) against the East for any NBA team. This doesn't fare well for Memphis whose first three games following the All‐Star Break will come against Eastern foes (Tonight vs. Cleveland, February 24 at Miami and February 26 at Boston).

As mentioned, the Grizzlies will be tipping off against the Cavs as they try to snap a string of losses. Heading into the All-Star Break, Memphis dropped a shootout to the Oklahoma City Thunder, 121-114, at the FedExForum. Despite outscoring their Western Conference rivals 31-19 in the third quarter, OKC was able to power past the Grizzlies in the fourth. Memphis was led by two high-scoring performances from guards Andrew Harrison (28 pts) and Tyreke Evans (23 pts).


Where to Catch the Action

TV: FOX Sports Ohio, WUAB 43

Radio: WTAM 1100, 100.7 WMMS, 87.7 La Mega

For live in-game updates, follow @cavs, @CavsJoeG, @CavsFredMcLeod, @MrCavalier34, @CavsJMike and @chones22 on Twitter.


Probable Starters/Status Update*

#3 - George Hill

#5 - JR Smith

#16 - Cedi Osman

#23 - LeBron James

#13 - Tristan Thompson

#12 - Tyreke Evans

#5 - Andrew Harrison

#24 - Dillon Brooks

#0 - JaMychal Green

#3 - Marc Gasol

Status Update: (Cavs) - Kevin Love, (Left hand fracture, Out)

Status Update: (Grizzlies) - Mike Conley, (Left heel, Out), Wayne Selden, (Right knee soreness, Out), Chandler Parsons, (Right knee soreness, Questionable), JaMychal Green, (Illness, Questionable)

*Subject to change.


Head-to-Head Matchup

Tonight's matchup between the Cavs and Grizzlies will be the second and final time these two teams meet in the 2017-18 regular season.

Cleveland defeated Memphis, 116-111, on December 2 at The Q in their first meeting, where they shot .560 (42-75) from the field, .458 (11-24) from beyond the arc and .913 (21-23) from the free throw line. The Cavaliers had a 54-38 edge in points in the paint and scored 40 bench points.

Overall, the Cavaliers are 5-2 in the last seven meetings against the Grizzlies (since 12/21/14), outscoring them by an average of 11.0 points (104.1-93.1) over that span.

Defensively, Cleveland has held Memphis to under 100 points in five of the seven contests, while allowing a combined shooting percentage of .439 from the field and .307 from three-point range.


On Deck

Following their trip to Tennessee, the Cavs will be back in The Land on Sunday for their first contest of a five-game homestand as they take on the San Antonio Spurs at 3:30 p.m. (ET). They'll also do battle with the Brooklyn Nets (February 27), the Philadelphia 76ers (March 1), the Denver Nuggets (March 3) and the Detroit Pistons (March 5) before hopping on a six-game roadie beginning March 7 in Denver.

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