The Cavs are bad. That's not a joke. Sometimes this roster is a joke. Hopefully this game is at least funny.
Who? Cleveland Cavaliers (22-50) at Atlanta Hawks (41-33)
When? 7:30 PM Eastern
Where? Philips Arena -- Atlanta, GA
Where on my eyeballs? Fox Sports Ohio / NBA League Pass
The Cleveland Cavaliers are very bad. They just got blown out by the New Orleans Hornets. That's bad. Although it might actually be a good thing in the long run.
Kyrie Irving made his return last night, and he was pretty spectacular. It was awesome to have him back, but he won't be playing tonight. I do love that the Cavs brought him back for some of these last games. He's healthy and the team needs some sort of energy or momentum going into the offseason. As a precaution, the Cavs won't play him tonight against the Hawks on the second game of a back to back. That makes sense. Don't complain about that.
For whatever reason, the Cavs have had success against the Hawks this year. I can't really point to a reason as to why the Cavs are a bad matchup for Atlanta, but apparently they are. Or maybe they've just gotten lucky. After all, you remember the Alonzo Gee game-winning put-back off the Dion Waiters' air ball, right?
I'll write about the Byron Scott chatter later this week, but there seems to be three real knocks on him. First, the obviously horrible defense. The defense hasn't improved much in three years, but a lot of that seems to be because of lack of continuity. A huge part of defense is communication and familiarity. The Cavs haven't had the same defensive units on the floor for any significant stretch of time. As always, it'd be nice for the Cavs to show some signs of defensive improvement, but that seems like a lost cause at this point in the year. We'll just hope that develops over the offseason.
Second is the road record. The Cavs haven't been a good team in any arena, but they're particularly bad on the road. They have just 9 wins on the road so far this season. They had 10 road wins last year and 7 road wins the year before that. I'm not even asking for them to win lots of games on the road, just be more competitive. Don't come out and lay enormous eggs like they have recently against the Rockets or Hornets. You can stink, just don't suck. That's basically what I'm saying.
And finally, it comes down to Byron's in-game management. He doesn't have a ton to work with, but most fans apparently want to see him do more with the in-game substitutions and calling timeouts. Byron may feel like that's micromanaging his team, but it may be what he needs to do. This isn't a veteran team like he's had in the past with New Jersey and New Orleans. These guys probably need more guidance than he's used to. They won't adjust on the fly like a team led by Chris Paul or Jason Kidd would. So tonight, I'd like to see Byron call more timeouts to stop scoring runs and calm down his players. Draw up some more plays and micromanage a little bit. You don't have Kyrie out there tonight. It'll take more strategy to beat the Hawks.
Oh and for those of you who were skeptical about how good Al Horford is at basketball, you'll probably get to see his full skill set on display if Tyler Zeller is guarding him tonight.
Fear the Sword's Fearless Prediction
I have no prediction. I just hope the game doesn't suck.