GameDay Preview: Cavs vs. Nets

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Brook Lopez, Tyler Zeller
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Game Summary

The Cleveland Cavaliers (22-51) are back at home to face the Brooklyn Nets (42-31) for the third and final time this season, first of which at Quicken Loans Arena. Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Through the first two contests with Brooklyn, Cleveland’s 14.5 offensive rebounds have led to a 19.5 to 12.5 advantage in second chance points.

The Cavs come into tonight’s contest ranked 2nd in the East in second chance points per game (15.0, 4th overall) and 5th in offensive rebounds per game (12.1, 9th overall).

Brooklyn will wrap an eight-game road trip tonight at The Q. The Nets are 4-3 on the trip and have had success away from home this season. In fact, Brooklyn's 20 road victories ties the franchise mark set in the 2005-06 season.

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

Nets: PG - Deron Williams, SG - Joe Johnson, SF - Gerald Wallace
PF - Reggie Evans, C - Brook Lopez

Injuries: (Cavs) - Anderson Varejao, (Vastus Medialis Split/Surgery, Out), Dion Waiters, (Left Knee Soreness, Out)
(Nets) - None to Report

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

The Cavaliers lead the all-time series against the Nets, 87-69, posting a 55-23 mark in games played at home with the Nets holding a 46-32 advantage while playing in their own arena.

The last time the Cavs and Nets met on Dec. 29, C.J. Miles became the first player in Cavaliers history to make eight triples off the bench after nailing a franchise record-tying 8-10 (.800) shots from behind the three-point line and finishing with a season-high 33 points on 11-15 (.733) shooting in 34 minutes. Tristan Thompson added a double-double with 17 points, a game-high 15 rebounds (nine offensive) and two blocks in 36 minutes of work.

STATS Fun Fact

STATSLuke Walton has dished out at least four assists off the bench in 17 of his last 27 games and leads all Eastern Conference bench players with 4.6 assists per game since Jan. 22. In fact, 11 percent of Luke Walton passes up end in an assist.

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Bench Play

The Cavaliers' bench has contributed at least 30 points in 23 of 30 games since the debut of Wayne Ellington and Mo Speights on Jan. 25. The reserves are averaging 37.0 points over that stretch.

In their most recent game on Monday in Atlanta, the Cavs had a 42-15 advantage in bench points. They also had a 43-28 edge in reserve scoring against the Nets on Dec. 29.

On Monday, Mo Speights matched his season-high with 23 points on 11-15 (.733) shooting, while adding eight rebounds and one block in 25 minutes off the bench. Speights is shooting .708 (17-24) from the field in his last two games, averaging 17.5 points and 6.0 rebounds in 23.0 minutes over that stretch.

If the Wine and Gold can produce another solid performance from their bench, they will give themselves a good chance at coming away with the victory.

Key Matchup

Tyler Zeller vs. Brook Lopez

The big man battle between centers Tyler Zeller and Brook Lopez will be the key matchup in tonight's contest.

Among Eastern Conference rookies, Zeller is tied for 2nd in double-doubles (7), while ranking 3rd in rebounds per game (5.9), 4th in free throw percentage (.770), 4th in blocks per game (0.91) and 7th in points per game (8.0). Over the last four games, the first-year big is averaging 10.3 points on .667 (18-27) shooting from the field and 6.8 rebounds in 26.0 minutes per game.

In his inaugural All-Star campaign, Lopez is the only player in the NBA averaging at least 19 points, seven rebounds and two blocks per game.

The fifth-year player currently ranks fifth in the NBA with a 24.4 player efficiency rating, and among centers, Lopez is 1st in the NBA in scoring (19.2 ppg) and ranks 12th overall in the league in points per game.

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FSOhio HD, NBA League Pass
Radio: FM 100.7 WMMS, XM & Sirius 85, NBA League Pass Audio

Programming Notes

Cavaliers Live Pregame Show begins at 6:30 p.m. | Tipoff at 7:00 p.m.

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

• Toledo, 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

Promotions/Giveaways

  • Theme: Moondog Night
  • Giveaway: Moondog Jersey (First 5,000 children 14 and under)