Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE
The Cleveland Cavaliers continue this obnoxious and unnecessarily long west coast road trip by traveling to the Bay Area. After knocking off the Clippers to get back to .500, the Cavs have a chance to grab a winning record tonight.
When? 10:30 PM Eastern
Where? ORACLE Arena -- Oakland, California
Where on my eyeballs? Fox Sports Ohio/ NBA League Pass
Can I still get tickets? YES -- Cleveland Cavaliers tickets
Why is this happeningggg? Whoaaaaaa. Because Harrison Barnes is angry that we didn't draft him and has personally scheduled this game to get back at us.
The Enemy Blog: Golden State Of Mind
Feeling like an Earth, Wind, and Fire kind of day.
Does two wins count as a winning streak? I dunno. Let's find out.
The Cavaliers and Warriors actually have a lot in common with one another. For example, they both have beaten the Clippers at Staples Center this year. And they both had the opportunity to draft Harrison Barnes in the 2012 NBA Draft. Of course, the Cavs passed up on that opportunity and went with Dion Waiters instead. The Warriors opted to take Barnes when their time came with the 7th overall pick. This caused a lot of controversy and anger/confusion among Cavs fans (we miss you, Polomontana). Many people wanted Barnes and were stunned when Chris Grant picked Waiters. I believe much of this was due to the fact that we had heard so much about Barnes and so little about Waiters. Nevertheless, that's the way it went down and we get to see the two players on the same court tonight.
Obviously, this isn't a 1-on-1 matchup between Barnes and Waiters. They probably won't even guard each other. Regardless, they will be compared to one another and we can make some rash judgments based on this one game. Through four games, Barnes is averaging 7.5 points per game on 46.2% shooting and playing just 21.8 minutes per game. His other stats are fairly underwhelming as well. As of right now (tiny sample size, I know), the Warriors are playing worse with Barnes on the floor than they do without him on the floor. I haven't gotten to personally watch a game that the Warriors have played yet, so I can't comment on how he looks. Judging by the numbers, however, he looks like a rookie.
The two teams both boast promising young backcourts: Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters for the Cavs and Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson for the Warriors. You all saw what Cleveland's young guns can do when they're on their game, but the Dubs' guards can ball as well. Curry and Thompson are probably easily the best shooting backcourt in the NBA. And that's not an exaggeration; watch Klay Thompson shoot the ball -- it's gorgeous. Curry is a phenomenal offensive player when he's healthy (and he seems to be right now!). Curry has a history of ankle injuries and it probably doesn't help that he has to guard Kyrie Irving tonight. Hopefully he doubles up on the ankle tape. Kyrie isn't a great defender in his own right (although he's been better this year), but we may very well see Byron Scott put Alonzo Gee on Thompson or Curry tonight.
While the focus will once again likely be on the backcourts, there will be an interesting battle going on down low. Andrew Bogut is back and healthy, looking to reestablish himself as a defensive beast. The Cavs haven't really had any matchups in which they faced a real center with real center skills. The matchup between Anderson Varejao and Bogut should be exciting. Much of the Cavs' success comes from grabbing offensive boards and scoring on second-chance opportunities (which is why Tristan Thompson IS NOT useless). We'll see if Andy and TT can continue that tonight. On Monday, Cleveland shot the balls 92 times to the Clippers' 76 times. That's a big advantage.
Despite the awesome win against Los Angeles, Cleveland fans have quickly turned their attention to Tristan Thompson's poor offensive play (never change, Cleveland). He didn't make a single shot against the Clippers and that makes people sad. We'll see if they try to get him more involved on offense tonight.
C.J. Miles finally showed us something off the bench on Monday and hopefully he can continue tonight. The move Byron Scott made to mix up the starters with the bench was a good one. Staggering the subs makes this team much, much more watchable. Tyler Zeller played great against LA, but caught an elbow towards the end of the game. His x-rays were negative, but there's no word on whether or not he will play tonight.
MySynergySports.com came back (woo!) and now I will waste even more of my free time watching basketball. The Cavs' defensive numbers basically confirm what we have seen thus far. Cleveland is doing a good job defending pick and rolls, but a poor job defending spot up shooters. Kyrie Irving has improved as a defender and Anderson Varejao makes a huge difference. Tristan Thompson is also receiving very good marks on the defensive end of the floor. The Cavs simply have to be better at defending spot ups tonight because Klay and Steph are lethal. We'll see if they make that adjustment and prevent the Warriors from going crazy from behind the arc.
Fear The Sword's Fearless Prediction:
I predicted a loss on Monday against the Clippers and I was wrong. Tonight, I'm still too excited from that game to be negative. Let's get an encore performance from Kyrie and Dion to get to 3-2 on the year. Cavs win 106-100.