After LeBron James did the best Prince impression since Dave Chappelle, J.R. Smith dressing as a giant baby and Kevin Love dancing as Jackie Moon, the Cleveland Cavaliers are back in action tonight against the Philadelphia 76ers, the first of two games against "The Process" this week.
Who: Philadelphia 76ers
Where: Wells Fargo Center - Philadelphia, PA
When: 7 p.m.
Is it on Television?: Yes, throwing the hammer down with Fred and AC on FOX Sports Ohio
Enemy Blog: Liberty Ballers
You didn't really want to listen to Meek Mill, did you?
Through two games, nothing has changed for the the Sixers, as they were blown out by both the Boston Celtics and the Utah Jazz. However, contrary to years prior, they've look somewhat like an NBA team. They may not be a good NBA team (or an average or a below-average team), but they do have some players that make this team more interesting than at any point of "The Process." Their front court of Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor look to solidify them in the future, and Brett Brown is a good coach considering the talent he's been given in his four years in Philly.
What to watch for:
- The Cavs win every position battle between them and the Sixers, but the interesting battle will be between Mozgov and and Noel. Mozgov looked pretty good against Hassan Whiteside against the Heat last Friday, but he'll have an interesting challenge in Noel, who has become one of the best defensive centers in the league. Unlike Whiteside, Noel is more of a complete defensive player, and if he weren't playing for the Sixers, would likely be in the running for Defensive Player of the Year. It won't be the focal point of the game, but it'll be intriguing if Mozgov can be successful on offense for the second straight against an elite defensive center.
- Through two-and-a-half games, the Cavs' offense has been firing on all cylinders. Kevin Love has played more and more like he did in Minnesota, LeBron James is doing his thing and the ball movement has been stellar. They are playing one of the worst defensive teams in the league in Philly, so the question isn't can the offense continue to roll, but instead how well will it roll? Is it possible that the Cavs can put up 120 points or more? A lot has to break right for that to happen, but playing the Sixers makes achieving that more possible.
- Jahlil Okafor. He's reaaaaaaaaally good offensively and is the only complete offensive player that the Sixers have. Watching players put a clinic in the post is my NBA weakness, and Okafor has a nice array of moves that he can go to (and will go to). He might not light up the scoreboard, but that'll be fun to watch if you like post moves as much as I do.
- Where has J.R. Smith's shot been? Through three games, Smith is shooting 28.6 percent from the field and has only hit one three-pointer in seven attempts. It obviously hasn't hurt the Cavs' offense, and probably won't kill them this game if he can't find his stroke, but sooner or later it has to come back. I could see this being a game where Smith takes eight three's, no matter how many hits. He could go 8-for-8, he could go 0-for-8, but this has the feeling of a game where he tries to get his shooting back on track.
- The bench has been awesome this year. Heck, that still might be selling them short. Matthew Dellavedova has actually improved. Tristan Thompson is playing well for literally signing his contract less than two weeks ago. Richard Jefferson has been a vast improvement over what Shawn Marion did last year (so far). Anderson Varejao hasn't been horrible! Our David Zavac wrote about how they've played this year, and I don't see any reason for that not to continue
- This isn't something to watch for, but I left out the fact that Delly had 10 assists and no turnovers in the Heat game recap, so for that error, here's a Delly stat that will have me feeling shameful: the Cavs are outscoring opponents by 53 points when he's on the court. That's insane.
Fear the Sword's Fearless Prediction:
It would shock me if the Cavs lost this game. I expect Philly to put up a fight, but the Cavs are playing too good and have too much talent to lay an egg in Philly. I expect the Cavs to make it three straight wins, beating the Sixers 117-101.