I know it's easy to lose a bit of interest in the NBA when March Madness rolls around. But I urge you to not do that. Because remember, even a Bobcats vs. Suns game is higher quality basketball than virtually any NCAA game. Therefore, the Cavs can definitely be better than that.
Who? Cleveland Cavaliers (22-44) vs. Indiana Pacers (40-26)
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
We've hit an awkward time in the season. It happened last year and it happened again this year. Kyrie Irving got hurt last year and obviously has that shoulder sprain that he's dealing with now. Naturally, that's going to take away some of the interest in this team. Furthermore, it's tough because it's better for the Cavs to be losing now. The tank race for the #1 pick is upon us. I already wrote that I wanted the Cavs to be done tanking, but it's kind of hard to avoid now. When you're not seriously rooting for the team to win, it becomes even harder to get interested in games against teams like the San Antonio Spurs. It was going to be a loss and it wasn't necessarily a bad thing. I get it.
That said, there's still a lot of fun things to watch with this team. Here's a quick list:
Dion Waiters' quest for a PER of 15
He's getting closer and it will be cool to see if he gets there by the end of the year. He's taking on a much bigger role with Kyrie out and has adjusted to this role change much better than he handled it early in the season. And that makes sense because he's more experienced and more disciplined now. He's also close to getting a true shooting percentage of 50%. That's nice too. Not great, but nice.
Guys fighting to be brought back next season
C.J. Miles, Shaun Livingston, and Wayne Ellington are all playing for contracts. If they keep up their high level of play this season, they'll earn themselves some money in the summer.
Tyler Zeller doing things
He has looked better lately, but he still has a long way to go. A lot of Zeller's struggles should be addressed in the offseason when he puts on some weight, but he's also getting more comfortable with every game. It's not easy for a skinny big man to play 35 minutes every night as a rookie. And Zeller has given me some reason for hope lately.
Fear the Sword's Fearless Prediction
The Indiana Pacers have a great defensive team. There's a reason that I haven't mentioned them yet, despite the fact that this is a preview of a game between the Cavs and Pacers. And the reason is that the Pacers have been struggling lately. They need to get back on track and are probably looking at the Cavaliers as a chance to do exactly that. Without Kyrie, I think the Cavs struggle to produce enough offense. Pacers win 104-91.