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Game #11 Preview: Cavaliers at Lakers

The Cleveland Cavaliers are coming off a nice 101-90 road win in the desert, but a much tougher test comes tonight. The young Cavaliers led by rookie point guard, Kyrie Irving, travel to the Staples Center to take on the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers are winners of four straight and are doing their best to hold on to the title of "best team in LA".

Song Of The Day: Californication - Red Hot Chili Peppers

The road trip moves to California...get it? Yeah, I'm clever. Regardless, it's a great song.

Tonight's Overview:

Cleveland Cavaliers (5-5) at Los Angeles Lakers (8-4)

The Cavaliers got back to .500 last night against Phoenix and the Lakers are on their own mini win streak of 4 games. After getting Andrew Bynum back from suspension and Kobe Bryant getting some weird vampire treatment in Germany, the LakeShow is rolling. Kobe has scored 40 points in his past 2 games and as I peruse the Cavs roster, I don't see anyone capable of stopping him from grabbing 40 again.

You can read up on the Lakers and see what they think they need to do to beat the Cavaliers in the game preview courtesy of LakersNation.

There is, of course, a fun little storyline that takes place off of the court. Tonight, the Cavs face their former head coach and current head coach of the Lakers, Mike Brown. Personally, I always liked Brown when he coached the Cavs and he seems to be doing a good job thus far at getting the most out of his team as well as his star player. Earlier this week, Brown appeared on 92.3 The Fan's Kylie And Booms (h/t to Scott from WFNY). Here's what he had to say about the Cavs:

We miss the people back in Cleveland. We have some great friends back there; our boys had a terrific experience and they still haven't quite been able to call L.A. home. [...] The way it happened, it happened and I'm okay with that. Dan Gilbert was terrific for me. He gave me an opportunity, and I appreciate that. I believe that Chris Grant is the right guy to lead that franchise in the direction it needs to head and Byron Scott is doing a fantastic job. The kid Kyrie Irving is going to be a special player. And when you mix the young guys like Kyrie in with some of the veterans there that have been there and have had a chance to experience what winning is all about and you can have a nice team. A guy like Anderson Varejao, a guy like Anthony Parker; Daniel Gibson; Antawn Jamison, even though we weren't there together for a long time; those guys know how to win, they're pro's pros. Guys who, when are off the floor, you want to get to know as people. They can have something special [in Cleveland] because you have the right mix of veteran players still around.

Some pretty kind words from the former head coach.

Kyrie Irving has scored 20 points in his last 3 games. Derek Fisher gets the fun task of trying to stay in front of the 19-year old rookie tonight. I have this sneaky suspicion that Fisher lacks the quickness to stay in front of Irving. Don't be surprised if he drops 20 again. (I present this link without comment, just look at it for me: Hmmmm)

Here's a fun question: who the hell is going to guard Kobe Bryant? The answer? Uhh..Anthony Parker? Also, Pau Gasol on Antawn Jamison? Oh me, oh my. This could get ugly. Hopefully, Byron Scott decides that Tristan Thompson will have a much better chance guard one of the Lakers big men and gives TT 20+ minutes tonight.

Key Matchup:

Tristan Thompson vs. Pau Gasol

I present this matchup simply because I want to see it. Jamison has no shot at stopping Gasol and I think Thompson's athleticism could cause some problems for the Big Spaniard. I don't know if Scott will actually give Tigger the necessary minutes to have any sort of impact in the paint, but hopefully he will. Thompson is one of the best defenders on our roster and his wingspan and bounce give us a decent shot to compete with the Lakers' length.

Fear The Sword's Fearless Prediction:

If the Cavs are to pull off this upset, it's going to take a pretty straight forward formula. Kyrie Irving and Ramon Sessions need to utilize their speed to penetrate past the wing defenders of the Lakers (Fisher and Bryant), collapse the defense, and then kick out to the three point shooters. If they can do this and Daniel Gibson, Anthony Parker, and Antawn Jamison get hot from behind the arc, we could have an upset on our hands. Unfortunately, I do not think the Cavs will be able to do enough to knock off the Lakers. The Cavs are in the middle of a grueling road trip and are playing the 2nd leg of a back to back. The Lakers did not play last night and ought to be much more rested. The Cavaliers ultimately fall to the Lakers by a score of 104-95.