The Cleveland Cavaliers lost last night and will try to get a win as Hate Week continues. Ohio State and Michigan are playing as I write this. The Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers play on Sunday. And tonight, the Cavs travel to South Beach to play LeBron James' new team.
Who? Cleveland Cavaliers (3-9) at Miami Heat (9-3)
When? 7:30 PM Eastern
Where? American Airlines Arena -- Miami, Florida
Where on my eyeballs? Fox Sports Ohio/ NBA League Pass
Can I still get tickets? Cleveland Cavaliers Tickets
Do people still get pumped for this game? I'm not sure why you would. The Heat are just so much better than the Cavs at this point and without Kyrie Irving, it's an even bigger mismatch. The key to any game against the Heat is slowing them down in transition. If the Cavs let Miami get in the open court, this will be a long, horrible evening. LeBron and Dwyane Wade are simply too good on the fast break and will torch Cleveland if given the chance. That has to be the focus. However, in order to stop transition points, the Cavs might need to ease up on the offensive boards a little bit. Sacrificing some offensive rebounds in order to get back on defense may be a worthwhile trade-off for the Cavs. That said, I doubt that Byron Scott changes his philosophy for just one opponent. If the Cavs start getting beat in transition, it may be because Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao are too committed to the offensive glass.
Look for Dion Waiters to run more point guard again tonight. He was basically the point guard for the entire second half against the Magic and he did a relatively good job. His five assists and zero turnovers are certainly encouraging for a rookie shooting guard taking on a new role just 11 games into his career. Dion running the point is also part of the reason why Byron Scott opted for Daniel Gibson at the end of the game. With Waiters initiating the offense, he needs shooters around him. Boobie is a better shooter than Jeremy Pargo. It makes sense to me.
Speaking of Pargo, he's been quite impressive. It wasn't quite 28 points, but he produced 15 points and zero turnovers in his second game as the starter. If he keeps playing like this, this month without Kyrie may not be so bad after all. He doesn't have a super difficult matchup tonight against Mario Chalmers.
Against Orlando we saw Tyler Zeller get bullied by Glen Davis. Chris Bosh is probably a better matchup for Zeller defensively. He's more finesse than strength. If LeBron decides to play out of the post a lot tonight, then Cleveland needs to make sure that Tristan Thompson is guarding him on the block. Zeller cannot handle that.
Ray Allen can shoot, so we shouldn't leave him open. Fortunately for opposing teams, Allen is also a sieve on defense. If he is on Waiters, then Cleveland needs to attack the rim constantly.
Fear The Sword's Fearless Prediction:
All in all, this should be a bloodbath. If your team loses OSU-Michigan, you might want to avoid this one. Miami wins 105-89.