GameDay Preview: Cavs vs. Jazz

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Tristan Thompson, Paul Milsap
Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Cleveland Cavaliers (20-40) continue their five-game homestand tonight when they take on the Utah Jazz (32-28) for the final matchup between the two teams this season. Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. ET.

The Cavs have hit the century mark in scoring in nine of their last 13 games and possess the 2nd-highest scoring average in the Eastern Conference since Feb. 2 (104.9 points per game).

Utah comes into tonight's contest having lost four of their last five, including a heartbreaking 109-108 overtime loss to Milwaukee on Monday.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland ClinicCavaliers: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - Wayne Ellington, SF - Alonzo Gee
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Tyler Zeller

Jazz: PG - Earl Watson, SG - Randy Foye, SF - Marvin Williams
PF - Paul Milsap, C - Derrick Favors

Injuries: (Cavs) - Dion Waiters, (Illness, Out), Daniel Gibson, (Illness, Out), Tyler Zeller, (Illness, Probable), Omri Casspi, (Appendectomy, Out), Anderson Varejao, (Vastus Medialis Split/Surgery, Out)
(Jazz) - Raja Bell, (Not With Team), Al Jefferson, (Sprained Left Ankle), Doubtful)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

The Cavaliers trail the all-time series against the Jazz 51-41 posting a 27-18 mark in games played at home with the Jazz tallying a 33-14 record in games played in their home arena. Cleveland is 6-2 in their last eight home games against the Jazz.

In their first meeting this season in Utah, Tyler Zeller notched his 4th career double-double with 13 points, a career-high 14 rebounds and three blocks in 38 minutes. Tristan Thompson also recorded a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds in 38 minutes, while Dion Waiters led the Cavs in scoring with a game-high 23 points in 28 minutes off the bench.

Key to the Game/Key Matchups

Key to the Game

Defending the Three-Point Line

The Jazz have been shooting lights out from long distance this season. Through 60 games, Utah is on pace to shatter the franchise record for three-point makes in a season.

The Wine and Gold got burned from beyond-the-arc in their last game against the Knicks, so they will have to make a conscious effort in closing out on shooters when defending the three-point line.

Key Matchup

Tristan Thompson vs. Paul Milsap

With Jazz center Al Jefferson doubtful for tonight, the matchup in the paint between power forwards Tristan Thompson and Paul Milsap will be a major factor.

Tristan Thompson leads the Cavs with 20 double-doubles on the season and is averaging 13.6 points on .500 shooting, 10.4 rebounds and 1.0 block in 32.9 minutes since Dec. 19 (34 games). Thompson had a near double-double against New York on Monday after tallying 14 points on 6-9 (.667) shooting, eight rebounds and one block in 32 minutes.

On Monday, Milsap put up 22 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in his first game back from an ankle injury. Thompson should look to keep Milsap off the glass as the Jazz are 10-4 this season when he grabs 10+ rebounds.

On the season, Utah's seven-year big man is averaging 15.2 points and 7.4 rebounds.

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FSOhio HD, NBA League Pass
Radio: WTAM 1100, XM & Sirius 85, NBA League Pass Audio