David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
The Cleveland Cavaliers were stuck in Cleveland last night before traveling to Milwaukee Saturday morning. Anderson Varejao didn't make the trip. Can the Cavs get a win anyway?
The Cavs will be without Anderson Varejao tonight as they try to snap a 6-game losing streak. This is also the Cavs' fourth game in five nights. Oh, and they didn't get to travel to Milwaukee until this morning because they were stuck in Cleveland. Should be fun, right?
When? 8:30 PM Eastern
Where? Bradley Center -- Milwaukee, WI
Where on my eyeballs? Fox Sports Ohio / NBA League Pass
Enemy/brother blog? Brew Hoop
Tickets? Cleveland Cavaliers tickets
What's the line? Milwaukee -8.5
So, I guaranteed a win last night and I didn't deliver on my guarantee. Therefore, you all get your money back. Fortunately for you, this blog is free anyway. In this preview, I'll try to do a little better. The Cavaliers will probably be tired after playing last night, but so will the Bucks. The Bucks were in Boston last night and beat the Celtics in overtime. This should be a slopfest.
Larry Sanders had a monster game last night against Boston and will likely be a handful for the Cavs tonight. I basically love what Sanders is doing this year and he's a total beast. He's leading the league in blocked shots per game and might up that number again tonight against Tristan Thompson. No Anderson Varejao means that the Cavs might get beat up on the boards a little bit against a very very good rebounding Bucks team. We'll see.
Like last time these two teams played, the focus will be on the backcourts. Dion Waiters and Kyrie Irving vs. Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis should be fun -- with lots and lots of shooting. In the last matchup, Jennings had a really tough time against Alonzo Gee, but Monta Ellis went off. A big part of what made Ellis so effective was that he was draining midrange jumpers. We know that Monta loves taking those shots, but they don't always fall for him. If he can't make those, he's much less efficient. In all likelihood, the Bucks will need Jennings to be significantly better than he was last time.
I said last night that the Cavaliers need C.J. Miles to supply some points. He was on fire right away against the Pacers, but then disappeared. If Kyrie has an off game, it's almost impossible for the Cavaliers to score enough points to win. I doubt Kyrie has another bad game, but if he does, it's up to guys like Waiters, Miles, and Gee to score points. I don't have a ton of confidence in that group yet.
Tyler Zeller needs to build off his strong game against Boston and needs to read Sam's article to focus on his strengths. He needs to roll hard to the basket on every pick and roll. He needs to attack with strength, but make the smart move at the same time. We know he can hit that midrange jumper, but I'd like to see him use it to complement his game, rather than define it.
Fear The Sword's Fearless Prediction
I'm a pathetic optimist. When we have Kyrie Irving, I believe we can win any game. Cavs win 97-96 at the buzzer.