Wednesday, November 21, 7:00 PM (EST) at Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
TV: The Comcast Network Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic FM | Live Stats
NOTE: The Comcast Network HD is now on XFinity® Channel 856
by Warren Croxton
Updated: 12:41 PM, November 20, 2012
Crowded Trainer's Room
It was announced this week that Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving, who won last year's Rookie of the Year award, will miss up to four weeks of action after breaking his left index finger. Tristan Thompson posted a double-double against the Dallas Mavericks Sunday, despite breaking his nose during the game. Reserve guard Daniel Gibson missed that game because of a bruised elbow, but is expected to play against the Sixers, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Rookie big man Tyler Zeller has already suffered a concussion and a broken cheekbone and is currently wearing a protective mask because of those injuries.
What's Going On?
The 2-8 Cleveland Cavaliers have struggled defensively this year, ranking 29th in points allowed and last in opponent field goal percentage as well as blocked shots. On a positive note, they have forced the most turnovers in the league and rank in the top ten in steals. Offensively, they rank in the lower half of the league in scoring, but have hit the seventh-most three-pointers in the league this season – 78.
Home, Sweet Home
When the Sixers come to town Wednesday, it will be just the third home game of Cleveland's short season. The team recently went on a six-game road trip in which they won just one game. On that road trip, the Cavs lost two games by three points or fewer, one on a buzzer-beating shot and the other after blowing an early 26-point lead. Following tonight’s game, Cleveland will spend six of its next nine games on the road.
MATCHUP TO WATCH
G Dion Waiters vs. G-F Jason Richardson
The fourth-overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, Dion Waiters has been one of the more impressive rookies this season. A Philadelphia native, Waiters started at Bartram High School in the city, before transferring to a prep school in Connecticut and later settling on the Life Center Academy in Berlin, NJ for his junior and senior seasons. After scoring 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting against the Phoenix Suns on November 9, the 6-4 guard has shot just 23.5% from the floor in four games, including a 2-of-13 outing against the Sixers on Sunday.
Since returning from a left ankle sprain, veteran swingman Jason Richardson has averaged 16.4 points, while shooting 47.2% from beyond the arc. The Michigan State alum is actually shooting at a higher clip from beyond the three-point line than he is from inside it this season. The two-time NBA Slam Dunk Champion's game has evolved over the length of his career, from elite slasher to deadly spot-up shooter. Since the 2004-2005 season, Richardson has averaged 5.7 three point shots per game, compared to just 3.6 per game in his first three seasons; he's second only to Heat guard Ray Allen in three-pointers made since 2004-05.
Waiters is most comfortable when he’s shooting long jumpers, as 59.0% of his shot attempts have come from 16 feet or farther. To be successful against him, teams try to force him to drive to the rim, where he’s only converting on 44.0% of his attempts. For Richardson, the Sixers will continue to try and spread the floor and create open looks for him, especially in transition. With improved floor spacing this season and elevated play from the point guard position, the 31-yeard-old guard is shooting a career high 44.2% from long range.
LAST TIME THEY MET
11/19/2012 - Sixers 86, Cavaliers 79
Evan Turner’s 19 points led the Sixers, who had five scorers in double figures. Their balanced scoring attack helped them defeat the Cavaliers. Turner and Holiday each posted nine assists, as Philadelphia notched 27 dimes on 34 made baskets. Alonzo Gee led the Cavaliers in scoring with 17 points, while Anderson Varejao and Tristan Thompson each posted double doubles in their team's loss.