Who: Cleveland Cavaliers (10-3) vs. Orlando Magic (6-7)
When: 7 p.m.
Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland Ohio
Where on my eyeballs: Fox Sports Ohio, NBA League Pass
Enemy blog: Orlando Pinstriped Post
The Orlando Magic are a team with tremendous promise. The surprising emergence of Mr. Never Google, Evan Fournier, as the team's leading scorer has been a pleasant development to go along with a young stable of quality prospects. Aaron Gordon, Tobias Harris and Elfrid Peyton have shown a ton of promise this year and they've given a lot of quality teams all they can handle this season even if it didn't always result in a win.
But for how good those players have been, Victor Oladipo is in a major slump to start this season. Averaging a career low 13.1 points per game on 36.6 percent from the floor and 28 percent from three. Some of those numbers can be attributed to a concussion he suffered on the 11th against the Lakers, but even outside of that it's been a down year for him. Even though he's slumping, he's still a very good player and the Cavs will need to make sure that they prevent him from getting back to his statistical mean against them.
The Cavaliers will once again be without the services of Timofey Mozgov, Iman Shumpert and Kyrie Irving. Additionally, Mo Williams is doubtful. The Cavs depth has really shined lately, but perhaps never more than it did against the reigning Eastern Conference runner up Atlanta Hawks. Even though the Hawks only had four fifths of a starting lineup that collectively won Eastern Conference Player of the Month last season, they still are still a very good team.
The growth of Matthew Dellavedova has never been more evident than with him filling in for Williams. J.R. Smith is starting to play more like he did last season, plus Tristan Thompson is playing great. Of course it also helps that they still have two star players in LeBron James and Kevin Love.
This game will be a bit of a test for the Cavs. They responded well to their two losses by coming out with a renewed sense of purpose against the Bucks and Hawks, but now that they're winning again will they fall back into some of their bad habits?
Protecting the interior will be a major key for the Cavs. Not only do they have a very good offensive center in Nikola Vucevic, but the success of Peyton and Oladipo is heavily reliant on penetration and getting to the rim. Limiting the Magic to lower percentage shots for them will help prevent them from getting into a groove and limit the amount of energy the shorthanded Cavs will need to put into coming away with a win.
Fear the Sword's Fearless Prediction:
I'm going to say that the Cavs continue their winning ways at home. They've been a truly dominant team when they are on their home-court and there's no real reason to believe the Magic will be the team to change that. Cavs win 107-93.