Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
The Cleveland Cavaliers play in Oklahoma City against the Thunder tonight. They are a pretty good basketball team. The Cavaliers, not so much. Can Cleveland go in and pull off the upset?
When: 7:00 p.m. Eastern
Television: Fox Sports Ohio
Oklahoma City Blog: http://www.welcometoloudcity.com/
The Cavs really have all the momentum heading into this game. Alright, that just isn't true at all. Cleveland is coming off of a meltdown of a game on Friday night, and the bench has been a disaster. But crazier things have happened then Cleveland pulling off a road win tonight. In fact, it happened just last season, when Kyrie Irving had 12 assists and pulled off some late game heroics to help the team snap a long Thunder home winning streak. The team will require something similar if they are going to get a win tonight.
So what has this road trip included thus far? A last second game winning shot by Brandon Jennings, which may or may not have been legitimate to overshadow another amazing 4th quarter from Irving. A concussion and facial fracture for Tyler Zeller. Missed time for Anderson Varejao. A hobbled Dion Waiters. Food poisoning for Irving and C.J. Miles. Losses in Milwaukee, Golden State, and Phoenix. And now a date with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
Should you watch this game? Of course. The other team has two superstars, and we have Kyrie Irving.
What is the injury situation? Tyler Zeller remains in Cleveland and will not play. Kendrick Perkins has an ankle issue, but will probably play.
Most of you guys have a pretty good idea how good the Thunder are. They are the defending Western Conference Champions. They are really young, really athletic, and have a nice balance of scorers and solid defenders. Kevin Durant is pretty much made to score points. Other than maybe a guy who plays in Miami, Russell Westbrook may be the most athletic player in the Association. Say what you want about the trade of James Harden (and I wasn't a big fan of what they got in the deal), they remain a championship contender. They will count on Kevin Martin to pick up some of the scoring slack that they lost with Harden leaving, and it remains to be seen if he can fulfill the role for a full season.
The most fascinating player for me on the Thunder is Westbrook. I really love him. He is so strong, and so fast, and such a good scorer. A lot of fans don't think he passes enough, or don't think he is a legitimate point guard. Whatever. He is a really good basketball player. When he is aggressive and gets it going, he is an impossible cover. Does he make mistakes? Of course, he is a really young player. But the good that he brings vastly overwhelms the occasional errors. It will be fun to watch him play.
Keys to a Cavalier win: The Thunder have some pretty good depth, so our bench not getting destroyed would help. The Cavs really would need to have a perfect game. Efficient play from Kyrie, Dion staying within himself but scoring 16+ points, a lot of offensive rebounds, a lot of defensive rebounds, and a rough shooting night from Westbrook.
Fearless prediction: The Cavaliers bounce back and play a good game, but it just isn't enough. They hang around, trailing for most of the game by 6-8 points. In the late 3rd, they will make it a one point game, before the Thunder go on a run and win somewhat comfortably. Thunder 101, Cavaliers 89.