GameDay Preview: Cavs vs. Lakers
The Cleveland Cavaliers (4-17) take on the Los Angeles Lakers (9-12) tonight at 7:00 p.m. (ET) for their only regular season matchup at Quicken Loans Arena this season.
The Wine and Gold will look to snap a five-game losing streak while the Lakers hope to end a two-game losing skid of their own.
Cavaliers point guard, Kyrie Irving, is expected to play tonight after missing the last 11 games with an injured finger. Before his injury, Irving was averaging a team-high 22.9 points and 5.6 assists.
Despite the Lakers slow start as a team, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard have put up impressive numbers individually. Bryant is averaging a league-high 28.6 points per game while Howard has posted averages of 18.4 points and 11.7 rebounds.
Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic
Cavaliers: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - Daniel Gibson, SF - Alonzo Gee
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Anderson Varejao
Lakers: PG - Chris Duhon, SG - Kobe Bryant, SF - Metta World Peace
PF - Antawn Jamison, C - Dwight Howard
Injuries: (Cavs) - Dion Waiters (Left Ankle Sprain, Out)
(Lakers) - Steve Blake (Abdominal Surgery, Out), Pau Gasol (Tendinitis, Left and Right Knees, Day-to-Day), Jordan Hill (Herniated Disc, Probable), Steve Nash (Non-Displaced Fracture, Left Leg, Out)
*Subject to change
The Cavaliers trail the all-time series against the Lakers, 59-41, posting a 27-23 mark in games played at home with the Lakers tallying a 36-14 record in games played in their home arena. The Cavs are 6-1 in their last seven home games against the Lakers.
In their only matchup with the Lakers last season at the Staples Center on Jan. 13, 2012, Anderson Varejao recorded a double-double with 11 points and a game-high 14 rebounds (six offensive) in 29 minutes. Kyrie Irving led the team in scoring with 21 points and four assists in 28 minutes.
Key to the Game/Key Matchup
Key to the GameDefending the Pick-and-Roll
When the Lakers made the coaching move to replace Mike Brown with Mike D’Antoni, the complexion of their offense changed drastically, going from a Princeton-style offense to a more up-tempo approach, predicated on the pick-and-roll.
As a result, the Lakers team scoring average has increased to seventh in the league at just a shade under 102 points per game. The Wine and Gold will have to play solid pick-and-roll defense, not only on the ball, but also with backside help and rotations.
Alonzo Gee vs. Kobe Bryant
Six days ago in New Orleans, Kobe Bryant surpassed 30,000 points for his career. In doing so, Bryant became the youngest to 30,000 points in NBA history.
Needless to say, Bryant can score. Drawing the assignment of trying to contain him tonight will be the Cavaliers best perimeter defender, Alonzo Gee. Gee has guarded everyone from Kevin Durant to Chris Paul this season, and will surely be up for the task.
In the Cavaliers last game on Saturday, Gee finished with a near double-double of 12 points, a season-high nine rebounds, one steal and one block in 38 minutes. He is averaging a career-high 12.1 points this season and leads the team in steals (1.5).
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