The Cleveland Cavaliers return from a disastrous 1-5 road trip and host the Dallas Mavericks at Quicken Loans Arena. For some weird reason, the Cavs are actually favored tonight.
Hey, let's play a home game. Yeah, that sounds fun. A six-game road trip that resulted in one win and five losses has mercifully come to an end. Now the Cavaliers have had a chance to get some good practices in, get healthy, and fix some problems.
When? 7:30 PM Eastern
Where? Quicken Loans Arena -- Cleveland, Ohio
Where on my eyeballs? Fox Sports Ohio or NBA League Pass
I need a song today.
Have fun looking up the rest of the songs on Youtube all morning.
Talk about the game.
Okay, so we've established that the Cavaliers' bench is the worst thing ever and that the starters aren't all that bad. Hopefully the team was able to address some of their issues in the couple of days that they had off. The defense is an enormous problem and I assume that that's pretty much all they worked on.
For some reason, the Cavs are actually favored today against the 5-5 Mavericks. I guess the combination of the Cavs being at home and the Mavs not actually being as good as their record suggests had a big impact in Vegas. I wouldn't be shocked if the Cavs won today, but to have them as the favorite seems a bit extreme. The Mavs are obviously without Dirk Nowitzki and without Dirk are just kind of a jumbled mess of players -- Chris Kaman, OJ Mayo, Elton Brand, Shawn Marion, etc. I'm skeptical that this Dallas team can stay afloat without Dirk, but the folks at Mavs Moneyball will yell at me if I don't properly respect their team and they do have a far better record than the Cavs, so we'll see. (Although the Mavs did lose to the Bobcats.)
OJ Mayo has been on fire. He's scoring 21.5 points per game and shooting 59% from behind the arc. It seems somewhat unsustainable (read: very unsustainable), but right now everything is falling. If I had to guess, I'd say Byron Scott puts Alonzo Gee on Mayo. However, the big thing that all the Cavs players and coaches have been stressing is that defending is an entire team effort. You can't just look at it and say "oh this guy guards this guy." Without solid communication and help defense, this team just breaks down far too often. The Cavs have shown the ability to defend in spurts, but are unable to maintain it for entire games.
Darren Collison has been playing great and is one of those super fast guards that will give Kyrie Irving fits. It's not that Kyrie is slow or unable to move laterally, he just needs to focus more energy on the defensive side of the ball. He gets caught napping far too often.
Tyler Zeller will be back for this game and should be able to help the tragic mess that is the Cavaliers bench. Without Zeller, this team sorely lacked any real size after Anderson Varejao. Tyler was cleared by doctors after sustaining a concussion and broken cheekbone. He will play with a facial mask.
That's pretty much all I have to say. Kyrie Irving will be awesome, as usual, I assume. Andy will be a beast on the boards. Tristan Thompson will do something, probably. And Luke Walton will hopefully remain on the bench.
Fear the Sword's Fearless Prediction:
Cavs get back on track and win by a score of 107-100, maybe.