It's pretty easy to get pumped up to play the Oklahoma City Thunder. But can the Cavs turn it on and take care of business at home against Charlotte?
When? 7:00 PM Eastern
Where? Quicken Loans Arena -- Cleveland, OH
Where on my eyeballs? Fox Sports Ohio / NBA League Pass
Tickets? Cleveland Cavaliers tickets
The Cavaliers have been decent-ish lately. They've gone 9-11 over their past 20 games and are coming off an impressive win against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Now, Kyrie Irving admitted that the team was a bit "disinterested" in their previous game against the Detroit Pistons. But he made everybody shut up about those fairly harmless comments when he dominated the Thunder down the stretch. But with a pretty terrible Bobcats team coming to town and the Cavaliers coming off a few days of rest, will the team be interested? If they play with a high energy level and commit to the defensive end, it should be a relatively straight forward victory. But then again, this team never does what we expect them to do.
Kyrie Irving is obviously a handful for any team to defend. But the Bobcats will naturally have an even more difficult time simply because they are such a bad defensive team. And furthermore, they're a young team -- like the Cavaliers. Many of their key players lack much NBA experience. That means, while they may be solid on-ball defenders, team defense is usually particularly weak. Since it's virtually impossible for one man to stay in front of Kyrie Irving, it takes timely rotations and help defense to prevent him from getting wide open layups. It will be interesting to see if the Bobcats can manage even that. You'll remember that in the last meeting between these two teams, Kyrie hit the game-winner and dominated from start to finish with 33 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, 4 steals, and 3 blocks. Have I mentioned that I love Kyrie Irving?
In that previous meeting, Tristan Thompson also had his way with the Charlotte defense. He scored 19 points on 8 of 10 shooting and will certainly look to repeat that performance tonight. It was fairly clear early on in that game that nobody on the Bobcats could match the energy and bounce of Tristan around the basket.
As much as I'd like to make it seem like the Bobcats will be outmatched in this game, it's impossible to deny the fact that neither of these teams are very good. The Cavaliers exploded to a big lead early in that last game, but the Bobcats slowly chipped away and made it come down to the final possession by Kyrie. A big reason for Charlotte's ability to comeback in that game was the shotmaking of Ben Gordon and Gerald Henderson. Those two kept hitting big shot after big shot in Charlotte and the Cavaliers did a poor job defending them. Similarly, Ramon Sessions consistently drove to the basket and got to the free throw line. It will take much better perimeter defense from Cleveland if they want to avoid another tight game in crunch time against the Bobcats.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, whom many of us love at Fear the Sword, suffered a scary injury against the Rockets and was hospitalized with a concussion. It seems quite unlikely that he'll be able to play in this game.
If you need to get excited for this game, try shouting Bismack Biyombo's name. It's fun: BISMACK BIYOMBOOOOOOOOOOOOO.
Still waiting for that game in which Dion Waiters and Kyrie Irving both score the ball efficiently.
Fear the Sword's Fearless Prediction:
I think the Cavs will win and win rather easily. They've had plenty of rest (off since Saturday) and should be able to beat the Bobcats at home. If they can't beat the Bobcats at home, then we have some serious issues. Cavs win 105-90.