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Four-Pointer: Previewing the Cleveland Cavaliers

After their most embarassing loss of the season, the Mavericks look to beat the Cavaliers

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

What have the Cavaliers (15-25) done lately?

This hasn't been the season Cavs fans envisioned. They're ten games under .500 and two games out of the final seed in the Eastern conference. However, they also recently completed the biggest trade of the off-season, sending beleaguered center Andre Bynum and a conditional first round to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for small forward Luol Deng. Early results are mixed with the Cavs going 3-2 in Deng's first five games. There's also been a lot of debate surrounding the 2013 number one over all pick Anthony Bennett and whether or not he should be sent to the NBA Developmental league, as he's having one of the worst seasons ever for an over all number one pick.

What stat might surprise you about the Cavaliers?

The Cavs are somehow 29th in the league in assists per game, despite having one of the more touted point guards in the NBA in Kyrie Irving. The Cavs have three guards in Irving, Dion Waiters, and Jarrett Jack who like to shoot, so this isn't all that surprising once you think about it. Additionally, it's not like these guys have great teammates to pass to. Deng should alleviate this problem a bit, which should, in theory, open up scoring chances for everyone else on the team as well.

What's the biggest match-up to watch?

There are two. First, the point guard match up between Kyrie Irving and Monta Ellis should be interesting. I don't actually expect Monta to guard Irving (because he can't), but whoever Cavs coach Mike Brown decides to stick on Monta could decide the game. The Cavs can't risk the cross match ups that would occur by sticking Deng (their best man defender) on Ellis, so if Waiters or Irving draws the assignment, Monta should have a field Day.

The other match up is between the aging centers of each team. Anderson Varejao is exactly the kind of center who could get Samuel Dalembert into foul trouble, simply because he tries hard all the time. Dalembert has played incredibly uninspiring basketball recently, with poor rotations, questionable rebounding, and generally being Samuel Dalembert. He needs to be awake if Dallas wants to win this one.

What Maverick is due for a big game?

Dirk Nowitzki had a rough game against Portland, shooting just 6-for-17 with three rebounds. It's possible Anderson Varejao or Deng could bother Dirk a bit, but judging by his post-game comments after the Portland loss, I expect the Big German to come out with a statement game on this Eastern conference road trip.