The Cleveland Cavaliers have had a rough last seven days. They lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in double overtime on Saturday, 108-105, a game that stopped an eight game win streak. Then, on Tuesday, they could not withstand Andre Drummond wilding out on their heads in a 104-99 loss. Now sitting at 8-3 in precarious position atop the Eastern Conference, they'll try to rebound from the two-game losing streak against those same Milwaukee Bucks tonight in Cleveland.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Milwaukee Bucks
When: 8:00 p.m.
Where: Quicken Loans Arena - Cleveland, Ohio
Television Info: TNT
Enemy Blog: Brew Hoop
Music: Deer Hunter - Nothing Ever Happened
Things to Watch For:
- Saturday night's first contest against the Bucks was definitely Timofey Mozgov's best game of what has been a disastrous season for him so far. He had ten points and six rebounds with a block in 16 minutes of play, and definitely looked the most lively we've seen him. The Bucks are a great team for him to work against, because while they have a ton of length, they don't offer a lot of bulk down low, save for the questionably talented Johnny O'Bryant. The Cavs can easily park Mozgov on Greg Monroe and have success defensively, and he can score well on Monroe as well. I expect Timo to have another solid outing tonight, and to rise from the ashes Andre Drummond left of him by working out his frustrations on Drummond's former teammate.
- The point guards absolutely have to play better. Mo Williams has been miserable defensively in the last few games, and was continually hammered in isolations by Reggie Jackson Tuesday night as the Pistons stormed back into the game. Meanwhile, Matthew Dellavedova had a very tough time guarding Jerryd Bayless on Saturday, getting flat-out EMBARRASSED in three different crunch-time isolations by Bayless, only being bailed out by Bayless missing shots. Offensively both have been fine, but if Delly and Mo allow Michael Carter-Williams to get into the lane and Bayless to somehow lead his team in scoring again, the Cavs will have serious issues.
- Similarly, the Cavs have to figure out a better way to defend Jabari Parker. Parker has been lights out in limited minutes for the Bucks as he returns from his ACL tear, and he had 12 impactful points in Saturday's game. The Cavs couldn't defend Parker at the rim, allowing him to go 5-9 in the restricted area, and he had multiple thundering dunks running down an open lane after Richard Jefferson or Kevin Love lost him on the perimeter. With Parker more integrated into the Bucks' offense, the Cavs need to have an improved strategy for defending him.
- Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo, on the other hand, both struggled in the first game, and this is something I'd expect to happen again tonight. After all, both will get a lot of time on LeBron James, and J.R. Smith does a decent job defending both, historically. Parker and Bayless may be issues, but both of the Bucks' wings should be relatively contained, and that always makes things harder for the Bucks offense to score.
Fear the Sword's Fearless Prediction