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PREVIEW: James, Harden clash in star-studded, primetime matchup on Saturday

CLEVELAND – In the midst of their off-the-court distractions and on-the-court inconsistencies, the Cavaliers have quietly become the best home team in the NBA over the last three months.

Saturday evening provides an opportunity to protect home floor in a potential NBA Finals preview.

Cleveland will look to extend its three-game winning streak at Quicken Loans Arena against the Rockets at 8:30 p.m. ET. The Cavs have a 17-2 home record since Nov. 7, a span that includes 113.1 points per game on 49.5 percent shooting.

Houston has shuffled its lineup over the last month with injuries to James Harden (hamstring) and Chris Paul (groin), but only Eric Gordon (lower back stiffness) and Trevor Ariza (left hamstring strain) will sit out the primetime affair.

The Cavaliers lost 117-113 to the Rockets on Nov. 9 before winning 18 of their next 19 games.

When: 8:30 p.m. ET


Online: Watch ESPN

Radio: WTAM 1100 AM, WMMS 100.7 FM, La Mega 87.7 FM

Cavs probable starters: PG Isaiah Thomas, SG J.R. Smith, SF LeBron James, PF Jae Crowder, C Tristan Thompson.

Rockets probable starters: PG Chris Paul, SG James Harden, SF Luc Mbah a Moute, PF Ryan Anderson, C Clint Capela.

Cavs injuries: PF Kevin Love (left hand fracture – OUT).

Rockets injuries: SG Eric Gordon (lower back stiffness – OUT), SF Trevor Ariza (left hamstring strain – OUT).

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John Alfes is a senior at John Carroll University, and hails from Westlake, Ohio. His love and passion for the game of baseball originated in 1998, when he played catch with his father at the age of two. A former collegiate pitcher, Alfes currently serves as a Cleveland Cavaliers reporter for AP Radio/Metro Networks and the Cleveland Indians Beat Writer for CBS Sports/Scout Media Network, all while majoring in Communications (focus in Journalism) and English (focus in Professional Writing). He is the Sports Editor for The Carroll News, Sports Director for WJCU 88.7 FM and Senior Writer for the John Carroll Sports Information Department. John is an Eagle Scout and loves his two younger brothers (Conrad and Daniel) and two parents (John and Celeste). You can follow John Alfes on Twitter (@JohnAlfes) or reach him through email (

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