Eric P. Mull-US PRESSWIRE
The Cavaliers are well-rested and play their second consecutive home game tonight, something that has never happened in the history of Cleveland basketball. Well, maybe it has, but I don't remember it. Can the Cavaliers get their second win in a row, both overall, and over the Bucks?
Brandon Jennings didn't make the all-star team and Kyrie Irving did. This makes sense. Kyrie Irving is better at basketball than Brandon Jennings is. But for a lot of Bucks fans, this is somehow difficult. Doing a twitter search of Brandon Jennings today is equal parts shocking and depressing. People seem to think Jennings was a lock to make the game. I am not sure why Bucks fans feel the need to defend Jennings so strongly; he has said he looks forward to playing in a bigger market where he can chase the dollar signs. But, we tend to be overly excited about our own guys so the tribalism makes sense on that level.
If you simply compare the players, it is hard to make any type of case for Jennings. Irving's points per game, field goal percentage, and three point shooting percentage are all significantly higher than what Jennings produces in Milwaukee. Irving's Player Efficiency Rating is about 5 points higher. Their assists are about the same. Jennings, a couple years older than Kyrie, does turn the ball over less. Most of the argument for Jennings seems to be centered on the idea that he plays for a better team. The All-Star game, as best as I can tell, isn't really about what general manager's construct the best teams, though. Either way, it will be interesting to see if Jennings comes out fired up tonight to "make a statement". Per his twitter account, he stayed up late last night watching Andy Murray play Roger Federer at the Australian Open. Irving, meanwhile, just may have been celebrating his All-Star nomination.
The last time the Cavaliers played the Bucks was one of the first times Tristan Thompson really looked like he might excel without Anderson Varejao in the line-up. Take a look at the box score. Thompson absolutely owned Larry Sanders. No seriously, click on the link. Tristan was a +25 for the night, and Sanders was -20. Sanders didn't make a field goal, and turned the ball over four times. Sanders got his blocks, but Thompson got the win. Tonight is Tristan Thompson bobble-head doll night, and you just know he wants to come out and play well.
In general, Milwaukee is sort of a bland team, but they do have decent assets they might use to try and improve. Jon Henson and Larry Sanders are young bigs with potential. Monta Ellis brings a bit to the table, and also takes a bit off of it. As it stands, they will likely make the playoffs, almost by default. They have a winning record, but a negative point differential for the season. Still, they have been better than the Cavaliers in 2012-2013.
Fear the Sword's Fearless Prediction: In the spirit of Conrad's optimistic article today on the progress of the young Cavaliers, I have to believe Cleveland is going to win. Cleveland 101-Milwaukee 95.