The big story as the Cleveland Cavaliers head into Philadelphia is obviously the return/debut of Andrew Bynum. Will there be boos? Yes. Will there be incendiary chants? Maybe. Will objects whiz through the air in the direction of Bynum's head? Hopefully not, but I wouldn't be surprised.
But aside from the ticking time bomb that is the Bynumite, there will be actual basketball played! The Cavaliers are coming off of easily their worst defensive performance of the year, which also happened to be their best offensive performance of the year. Can they do both well at the same time? Can they put nga feisty Philadelphia 76ers team in its place?
Who? Cleveland Cavaliers (2-3) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (3-2)
When? 7:00 PM Eastern
Where? Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
Why? Because it's their job
Where to watch? Fox Sports Ohio / NBA League Pass
Music? Yes, of course!
What to watch with the Cavaliers:
How will the Cavaliers respond to Wednesday's disappointing defeat to the short-antlered Milwaukee Bucks? Mike Brown took his team to task through the media after the game, and I'm sure he did the same to their faces. The hope is that they'll respond well and realize they can't take any team for granted, especially on the road.
The Cavs need to start the game with the same intensity they finished the game against the Bucks with, then sustain that throughout the game. This 76ers team has shown that if you take them for granted, they can make you pay dearly.
One hugely positive sign from the Bucks game was the emergence of the offense. Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters both had their first good games of the young season, and the effect on the offense was telling. This team revolves around these two both playing well and playing off of each other effectively.
It will be interesting to see if the team can sustain the good play on offense while bringing back the defensive intensity from the first four games. When both are clicking, this team can beat almost anyone.
What to watch with the 76ers:
The 76ers are a scary team. Not because of their talent, but because of the style of basketball they play. They're going to run and run and run until your feet are ground into pulp and your dragging your useless legs behind you as you crawl to the bench.
This is exactly the kind of team that I suspect might give the Cavs fits. Our transition defense has been suspect so far, and the 76ers will take full advantage of that. They constantly have guys leaking out when a shot goes up, and our perimeter players have to be aware of that. It would be hugely helpful if Tristan and Anderson Varejao both snag copious offensive rebounds, which they surprisingly failed to do against the Bucks' poor rebounding front line.
Evan Turner has been playing like an All-Star so far this year, and Michael Carter-Williams is building his resume for Rookie of the Year. While we still don't know what we'll see from MCW on offense on a nightly basis, we do know that he is a long, athletic defender. Kyrie absolutely toyed with him in pre-season, though, so hopefully he can continue doing that.
Fear The Sword's fearless prediction:
The Cavs will respond with vigor to Mike Brown's impassioned plea for them to stop being bad at things. They come out of the gate with intensity on both offense and defense and maintain that throughout the game, giving Sergey Karasev and Anthony Bennett extra playing time down the stretch.
The Cavs shall win 110-97. It is decided.