November 7, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Tristan Thompson (13) drives to the basket against Golden State Warriors shooting guard Stephen Curry (30) during the fourth quarter at ORACLE Arena. The Warriors defeated the Cavaliers 106-96. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Golden State Warriors (27-12) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (13-32) Preview

We may be missing out on yet another Kyrie Irving-elite point guard matchup. Disagree with me if you will, but Stephen Curry can compete with the premier point guards in the NBA and he deserved a trip to Houston for the All-Star Game for his efforts this season. Curry has only missed two games for the Golden State Warriors (27-12, 13-11 away) this season, and he will not play on Tuesday due to a mild ankle sprain – along with his oft-injured teammate Andrew Bogut, who returned momentarily on Monday and rookie Harrison Barnes. Bogut, who has only played five games for the Warriors after being traded halfway through the 2011-12 season, is taking his return from a left ankle injury very cautiously and will sit out Tuesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers (13-32, 6-12 home). Kyrie Irving, who was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week on Monday, is questionable as well due to a sickness. Luke Walton (foot) is also on the list of questionables and Daniel Gibson is out with a toe injury. See when and where you can watch the game below:

Opponent’s Blog: Blue Man Hoop

Venue: Quicken Loans Arena – Cleveland, OH

Tipoff: Tuesday, January 29 at 7 p.m.

Betting Line: Warriors by -2

Where you can watch: Fox Sports Ohio

Where you can listen: WTAM (110AM), WFUN (970AM)

The Warriors are a team that the Cavaliers should look up to. The season after the Warriors selected Curry, the team went 26-56 and didn’t look like they were going anywhere anytime soon. Last season Mark Jackson came aboard, but ankle injuries kept their star player off the court for 60.6 percent of the season. Golden State limped to a mark of 23-43, but hopes were still high after Andrew Bogut was brought in halfway through the lost season. The team hasn’t seen the potential of the former Milwaukee big man due to injury problems of his own, but with a fifth place ranking in the Western Conference playoff chase, his veteran leadership could push the Warriors through the final stretch of the season.

Even though Golden State will be without Curry tonight, the young backcourt consisting of the former Davidson standout and Klay Thompson accounts for 35.8 percent of the team’s scoring this season. They are currently the NBA’s top-scoring backcourt tandem. With that said, Cleveland’s main problems with the Warriors won’t be with containing journeyman Jarrett Jack and Thompson, but will stem from All-Star David Lee. The Golden State power forward should have been a starter – plain and simple. He has quietly put together one of the most impressive NBA seasons out of any player to take the court. Lee is currently averaging 19.6 points and 10.8 rebounds, while shooting 51.6 percent from the field and 80.3 percent from the free throw line. Tristan Thompson has had his fair share of difficult dual-threat assignments this season, but Lee poses a challenge that the sophomore big man has yet to face this season. Most people bashed Lee for having high numbers on below-average teams, but now he has proven that he can be a leader both on the floor and in the huddle.

The thing about the Warriors is that they have been a fairly consistent team this season. They have only had four losing streaks of two or three games in their most impressive season since 1991-92 – a team that boasted Chris Mullin and Tim Hardaway and finished second in the West before ducking out in the first round of the playoffs. The Cavaliers, on the other hand, are in the process of learning how to play like a team. There were many instances last week in which I saw things clicking between a young and entangled squad. After seeing Tyler Zeller run the floor for an easy basket late in the game against Boston and Marreese Speights chase after a rebound off of an Irving miss in Toronto, I was surprised and pleased at the same time. If Thompson and Irving continue to be vocal leaders on the court, then there’s no reason why this team can’t continue their winning ways.

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Tags: Cleveland Cavaliers Golden State Warriors Kyrie Irving Tristan Thompson

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