The Cleveland Cavaliers played a basketball game last night. But don't tell the Cavaliers that, because they still don't know about it. Roughly zero members of the team showed up to play against the Chicago Bulls and the result was a 115-86 beatdown. Cleveland can bounce back and continue to strive for 81-1 tonight against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Who? Cleveland Cavaliers (1-1) at Milwaukee Bucks (1-0)
When? 8:30 PM Eastern
Where? Bradley Center -- Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Why? To erase any memory of that miserable showing against the Bulls on Friday.
Can I still get tickets? Yep -- Cleveland Cavaliers Tickets.
That rival blog tho: Brew Hoop
DJ Roomba, hit me with some funky beats.
DJ Roomba at your service.
The game and such:
I don't really want to talk about that horrible game against the Bulls anymore. The offense was incompetent and the defense was also incompetent -- symmetry! Tonight, the Cavaliers start an epic 6-game road trip and the first stop is Milwaukee. The Bucks gave the Cavaliers some troubles last year, but they were also pretty competitive games (unlike every game against the Bulls).
On Friday night, the Bucks played their first game of the season and dropped the bomb on the Celtics in Beantown. Brandon Jennings dismantled Rajon Rondo to the tune of 21 points and 10 assists. The bigs of Larry Sanders and Ekpe Udoh were solid defensively and may cause some problems tonight. I only got to watch bits and pieces of the Bucks-Celtics game, but everything that I saw was mighty impressive.
The Cavaliers will likely face a test that falls somewhere in between the Washington Wizards and the Chicago Bulls. The Bucks are certainly much better than the Wizards, but not nearly as good defensively as the Bulls. Honestly, these should be two pretty evenly matched teams. The most intriguing matchup in this game is between the two backcourts . Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings facing off with Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters should be a lot of fun. Ellis will be a very good defensive test for Waiters, but physically, Dion should have an advantage. Despite his blinding quickness, Ellis is undersized for a 2-guard and Waiters should be able to use his strength to bother Ellis on both ends. This is a situation in which having a solid post game would really benefit Waiters. Obviously, it's a bit premature to be expecting that from Dion, but it's something I'd like to see develop several years down the road.
Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller have both somewhat struggled so far. Tristan has looked solid and his offense looks much better than last year, but he still seems to disappear at times. Zeller is clearly struggling with the size and strength of NBA post players. He'll get better, but there's going to be an adjustment period.
Ersan Ilyasova probably should have been the Most Improved Player last year, but got robbed. Alas, he is still a very good rebounder and three-point shooter. He's a pretty tough matchup for the Cavaliers. Any small forward we put on him will likely get dominated on the block. Any big man is likely not mobile enough to venture out to the 3-point line consistently. Keep an eye on this guy.
In last night's postgame interview, Byron Scott didn't seem to panic (unlike many Cavs fans on Twitter). He recognizes that this is a young team and there will be growing pains. He emphasized that they need to run the offense, set screens, make good passes, and be patient. They want to run in transition, but you can't run if you can't stop anybody. He added that the loss to Chicago may have acted like a wakeup call. It's not enough to just show up, you have to play your ass off every night.
Fear The Sword's Fearless Prediction
Tonight is the Bucks' home opener, so don't be surprised if they come out with much more energy than the Cavs. Cleveland needs to weather the storm of that initial emotional surge, and then fight hard on every possession in order to start this road trip on the right foot. I'm expecting a bounce back from Cleveland and Tyler Zeller's first real good game as a pro. Cavs win 101-95.