Can a team with Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson as it's only above average players beat the Philadelphia 76ers? That is what we are going to find out Monday night. The Cavs continue to be punished by the basketball gods as they have taken Kyrie Irving away from tonight's matchup with a bad back. The shorthanded Cavs will look to defeat the island of misfit toys that is the Sixers, along with impressive rookie K.J. McDaniels.
Who? Cleveland Cavaliers (19-15) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (4-28)
When? 7 pm est.
Where? Wells Fargo Center
Where on my eyeballs? Fox Sports Ohio, NBA League Pass
Enemy blog? Liberty Ballers
Dedicated to Kevin Love:
Since LeBron James was deactivated due to his season-long knee and back strains, Kevin Love has stepped up for the Cleveland Cavaliers in a big way. He has shown why the Cavs made a move to get him, as he has been the anchor of the offense and noticeably more aggressive on the court. David Griffin confirmed during the game against the Mavericks that Love is finally healthy for the first time this season, so we might finally be getting a glimpse of the player everyone would hope to be. The issue right now is that the other cornerstones are all out with injuries and the supporting cast has not held up their end of the deal. With Love as the only player remaining that is capable of having a functioning offense ran through him, the Cavs will need to rely on him heavily to will this roster over the Sixers.
The Sixers are nothing short of a disaster. Their roster makes zero sense and questions remain about whether or not what they're building has any chance of being a functioning NBA team in the future. It's easy to have every decision justified when the belief is "well, they're trying to be bad". The exceptions to that status have been the play of the Sixer's talented rookies K.J. McDaniels and Nerlens Noel. Both are incredibly raw prospects with incredible athleticism and physical tools. While the Cavs are in a wounded state, you can count on the Sixers young players trying to make a statement with the amount of attention that will be on this game due to the presence of the Cavs.
The key to winning this game will be limiting the amount of easy baskets for the Sixers. They are currently running an offense that encourages them to take an open shot, no matter what their skill-level is in order to develop the games of their players. If the Cavs can keep them taking low percentage shots, out of transition and limit the amount of second chance opportunities, they shouldn't struggle too much to come away with a win.
Fear The Sword's Fearless Prediction.
This game will not be fun. There will be points in it that look like an all-out assault on everything you love about basketball. But the Cavs come away with a 102-93 victory.