The Cleveland Cavaliers (and Fear The Sword) get back to work after the Thanksgiving holiday. This time, they travel to Orlando to play the new-look Magic and try to win two games in a row.
Everybody have a nice day-off for Thanksgiving? Excellent. Well we're back at it today. Hopefully Luke Harangody didn't eat too much turkey.
When? 7:00 PM Eastern
Where? Amway Center -- Orlando, Florida
Where on my eyeballs? Fox Sports Ohio/ NBA League Pass
Can we get them tickets? Cleveland Cavaliers tickets
I figure this is the music that the Magic played for Dwight Howard when he was being a total jerk and forcing a trade out of Orlando.
So the Cavaliers shocked everybody last game when they knocked off the Philadelphia 76ers and improved to 3-8. Today, they actually have a pretty good shot at getting their second win in a row and fourth overall. The Orlando Magic are bad. How bad? Bad. They were good when they had Dwight Howard and then they traded him to the Lakers for scraps and decided the best way to rebuild was to tank hard. My guess is that the 2012-13 Orlando Magic end up looking something like the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers.
This should really be a pretty easy win for the Cavs. I mean, Orlando's best player is Arron Afflalo. But, of course, this will not be an easy win because Kyrie Irving is out. When Kyrie Irving is out, the Cavaliers simply cannot be favored in any game against an NBA team. You guys saw all those stats about how big of a difference Kyrie makes on the offensive end of the court and it's very hard to replicate. Very hard to replicate unless....enter Jeremy Pargo -- PARGOMONIUM.
Jeremy Pargo was ridiculous against the Sixers and will try to prove it wasn't a total fluke tonight against Orlando. In preseason, Pargo looked crazy and out of control. It looked like he had no idea what to do and was turning the ball over at an impossibly high rate. Donald Sloan looked calm and in control. Once the regular season rolled around, Pargo looked infinitely better. He got a very small amount of playing time before Kyrie got hurt, but I guess between that performance and in practice, he earned Byron Scott's trust. Pargo simply has more upside than Sloan. For one, Pargo can shoot the ball. Second, he can attack and plays better defense. Sloan may be the better backup point guard, but Pargo is the better starting point guard. That is to say, if you want a guy to come in the game for 10 minutes and not screw stuff up, Sloan's your guy. But if you need someone to play 30+ minutes and give you a chance to produce some real offense, Pargo is the one with that ability.
However, Jeremy Pargo is still not Kyrie Irving. And we'd be fools to expect another 28-point outburst. So it will take some big performances from other players to get another win. Anderson Varejao and Tristan Thompson need to be dominant on the boards and provide the Cavs with as many second-chance opportunities as possible. Alonzo Gee needs to continue his hot shooting and knock down some threes.
And finally, Dion Waiters needs to step up and take over. I know it's a lot to ask of a 20-year old rookie, but I only ask because I think he can do it. More efficient scoring and better playmaking out of the pick and roll are the things that Waiters should be focusing on. If he can do those things well, the Cavs have a pretty good shot at winning.
On the Orlando side, I'm just interested to see what they have. The Magic clearly aren't trying to win anything this year, but it will be nice to see if they have any pieces that could be part of the longterm solution. But their best chances of rebuilding obviously come from the lottery.
Cavs lose LeBron James --> Kyrie Irving in the draft
Magic lose Dwight Howard ---> Nerlens Noel in the draft? Shabazz Muhammad? Cody Zeller?
I'm not saying it's rigged (and it's totally not because I was there last year -- it's not rigged), but it's some karmic justice or something that works out to help these small market teams. The Magic have to rebuild through the draft. It's the only way.
Fear The Sword's Fearless Prediction:
I predict that Pargomonium continues to a certain degree. I think he'll be super aggressive again (which Cleveland needs), but won't make as high of a percentage of shots. Luckily for Cleveland, Orlando isn't very good and solid performances across the board should be enough to knock off the Magic. Cavs win 101-90.