Hooray, another back to back! After taking down the Charlotte Bobcats last night, the Cavaliers return home for another game. Unfortunately, the Cavs don't get to play the Bobcats again. Can they win two in a row?
When? 7:30 PM Eastern
Where? Quicken Loans Arena -- Cleveland, OH
Where on my eyeballs? Fox Sports Ohio / NBA League Pass
Tickets? Cleveland Cavaliers tickets
Enemy/brother blog? The Dream Shake
So this game will finally determine which is more important -- to Fear the Sword or to Fear the Beard? James Harden has been an absolute monster since being traded to the Rockets. He fills up the box score every night and can beat you in any number of ways. His passing ability, scoring ability, and ability to draw fouls in bunches make him incredibly hard to defend. Alonzo Gee will likely draw the unfortunate duty of having to guard Harden, but that's the Cavs' best chance to contain him.
There have been some questions about how well Jeremy Lin and Harden work together in the same backcourt. So far this year, it's been some good and some bad. The problem is that both guys are most effective when they have the ball in their hands. And it doesn't help that Lin is a fairly poor outside shooter. But as they get more used to playing with each other, they'll pick up little things. The off-ball movement isn't something that typically comes naturally to players that are so used to dominating the ball-handling. With time, however, it will come. This is quite similar to the dynamic that Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters will need to work on.
James Harden has benefited from playing with a guy like Carlos Delfino. Delfino is shooting a TON of three-pointers and the Rockets have an offensive efficiency of 116.7 when Harden and Delfino play together. Meanwhile, they're offensive efficiency drops to around 105 when Harden and Lin share the court. Similarly, the Cavs have been most successful lately when Kyrie and C.J. Miles have played together. Miles is hitting open looks and Kyrie is giving them to him. At this point, CJ is a far better player off the ball. Dion can get there, but it will take some time. The Rockets are farther along in their development, but there's some similarities between these two teams' backcourt situation.
The Rockets are a juggernaut in transition, so the Cavs will have to limit them in that area if they want to win. The Cavs are on the second night of a back to back, but so are the Rockets. Limiting turnovers and not taking horrible shots is the best way to keep the Rockets from running wild.
Omer Asik is a beast on defense, so we might see Tristan Thompson struggle offensively tonight. Going from the Bobcats' front line to Asik is pretty much as stark a contrast as you'll get in the NBA. Nevertheless, Thompson has been great ever since Anderson Varejao got hurt.
Side note: Chandler Parsons is super awesome and he was a total steal in the 2nd round. You could argue that he's the 2nd best second year player in the league right now.
Official GIF of Fear the Sword
Fear the Sword's Fearless Prediction
Cavs will probably lose this game. But I predict that they'll hang around for most of the game and then fall at the end. It's basically what they do against good teams. Rockets win 109-102.