The Cleveland Cavaliers are looking to start their short road trip off right with a win against the Bucks. The Bucks are currently struggling to find an identity as well as a starting lineup. In their last game, Coach Larry Drew benched their big summer acquisition OJ Mayo to start the game after he missed the morning shootaround. Odds are, Mayo will start tonight against the Cavaliers, but the Bucks may again be without point guard Brandon Knight as he continues to deal with a hamstring injury.
Cleveland Cavaliers (2-2) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (1-2)
8:00 PM Eastern
BMO Harris Bradley Center - Milwaukee Wisconsin
Where on my eyeballs?
Fox Sports Ohio / NBA League Pass
Things to watch for the Cavaliers:
Will the real Kyrie Irving please stand up? The Cavs young superstar has had an inconsistent start to the year. While he's done a great job on defense and on the boards, he simply hasn't been himself on offense. This game has been, and always will be about, is getting buckets. Odds are he hasn't forgotten how to shoot. With this match-up against the Bucks followed by a home and home vs. the Sixers, this might be the perfect opportunity for him to get back on track.
Same goes for Dion Waiters. He's struggled with his offense so far this year. He'll have a tough time getting to the rack tonight with LARRY SANDERS in the middle. So again, it'll be an interesting test to see how he responds to the challenge of going against one of the leagues premier interior defenders and how he adjusts his game accordingly.
SHUT IT DOWN! The Cleveland Cavaliers have the second best defense in the league after four games this season. The Milwaukee Bucks have been simply anemic so far this year. This should be a perfect opportunity for the Cavaliers to lock down the Bucks and get some easy buckets in transition to help get the offense going.
Will the list begin? Anthony Bennett used to keep a list of all the players he dunked on. You may have heard that he hasn't made a basket yet in the NBA. While the Bucks have a pair of very good interior defenders in LARRY SANDERS and John Henson, both don't exactly have the girth to handle someone as large as Bennett. Hopefully he can use this to his advantage tonight and get a bucket in the post, or if we're really lucky, he will give us the first victim to add to the dunked on list. You'd have to think that once he gets his first bucket he'll get the moose off his back and be able to play freely again.
Andrew Bynum had his first multi-shift outing of the year Monday vs. the Timberwolves. It will be interesting to see how his body responds to this, will he be feeling well enough to play again tonight? Will Mike Brown chose to rest him as a precautionary measure? Thus far, the Cavaliers have been very careful with how they manage Bynum, but my gut feeling is that if he's feeling up to it he'll see the floor tonight.
What to watch for the Bucks?
Who will start? The Bucks have not used the same starting lineup for more than one game this year. Right now the offense is a mess and they cannot seem to play the uptempo style that Larry Drew wants them to play. While their roster is a bit of a mess, it'll likely be a little more cohesive once Brandon Knight returns. But in the meantime Nate Wolters has looked very composed for a rookie. He's been a pleasant surprise for the Bucks and I wouldn't be surprised to see him get his second career start tonight.
While the Cavaliers have had the second best defense in the league, the Bucks have been fairly impressive with the fifth fewest points allowed per game. This is in so small part due to the presence of LARRY SANDERS in the middle. Their ability to keep the Cavs out of the paint and force the shots to come from the perimeter will be key to whether or not they come away with their first home win of the year.
While the Bucks have been good on defense they have struggled to secure defensive rebounds. They gave up 18 offensive boards to the Toronto Raptors in the their last match-up and if they want to have any chance of beating the Cavaliers they will need to try and keep Tristan Thompson, Anderson Varejao and Anthony Bennett off of the glass.
On a cool/ sad note. Former Ohio State and Milwaukee Bucks star Michael Redd will officially announce his retirement during tonight's game. Redd is a former allstar and was on the US Olympic team that won gold in 2008. Unfortunately knee injuries stopped his star from burning as brightly as it should have. I was always a fan of his game and remember really wanting the Cavaliers to acquire him back in the first Mike Brown era.
Fear The Sword's Fearless Prediction:
Anthony Bennett will score a bucket and Kyrie goes nova. 98-85 win for the Cavaliers