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Game Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers at Denver Nuggets

The Cavaliers look to sweep the season series against the Nuggets Friday night in Denver.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The last time these teams met the Nuggets were riding a 7 game winning streak and were one of the hottest teams in the league. The Cavs shut down Denver and came away with a 98-88 victory. Denver will try to avenge that loss tonight on their home court.

Who: Cleveland Cavaliers (14-25) at Denver Nuggets (20-18)

When: 9:00 pm ET

Where: Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado

Where on my eyeballs: Fox Sports Ohio/ NBA League Pass


Keys to the game:

  • Play Mike Brown basketball. The Cavs need to slow down the pace and turn this into a slug-fest. The Nuggets like to get out and push the temp. When Ty Lawson is flying in transition he is able to create for himself as well as his teammates. However, if you reduce the amount of opportunities the Nuggets get in transition you are able to make players like Kenneth Faried and JJ Hickson much less effective, as their offensive skill sets are not as suited a half court game.
  • Hit the boards. You cannot afford to give this team second chance opportunities. While Faried and Hickson may not be the most talented offensive players, they have great motors and are relentless on the boards. Last game Tristan Thompson proved to be too much for them to handle as he finished with 17 points and 21 rebounds. We don't need him to replicate that performance, but if he and Varejao can keep their man off the boards it will help slow down Denver's potent offense.
  • If Kyrie Irving can hold Ty Lawson to 1-13 shooting again that would be pretty nice. While it's very unlikely that he'll have that poor of a performance again, keeping him from getting to the rim and out of transition limits the amount of easy scoring chances he gets.
  • Get a team effort. Playing in Denver is always a tough thing to do. The elevation wears players down similar to Utah. Like the game against the Jazz, the Cavaliers will need to get contributions from their bench and have a total team effort to come away with a win; rather than hoping one or two players will carry them to victory.

Fear The Sword's Fearless Prediction

Nuggets win a close one 103-98. The Cavs do really well when I predict that they will lose. This would be a huge win if the Cavs could get it. Sue me.