The Cavaliers have won five games in a row after dropping their season opener. The team is even more banged up than it was at the start of the year. Will they finally lose the war of attrition and drop a game or two?
Who? Indiana Pacers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
When? 3:30 p.m.
Where?: Quicken Loans Arena - Cleveland Ohio
Where on my eyeballs? Fox Sports Ohio, NBA League Pass
Enemy Blog: Indy Cornrows
In honor of George Hill lookin' like Sisqo with that hair dye job. What are you doing, man?
The Pacers are suddenly hot after a very uninspiring start to the season. After dropping their first three games of the season, the Pacers have joined the East ray with wins over the Pistons, Celtics and a down-to-the-wire win against the Heat while rocking their Hickory High "Hoosiers" jerseys.
Paul George is looking closer and closer to full health, which is important for a weird roster that needs its star to be at its best. The team is running a big man rotation of Myles Turner, Jordan Hill, Ian Mahinmi and Lavoy Allen out there, so the Cavaliers' front court should have its opportunities.
This team is running a lot more small ball, but assuming LeBron James plays, don't expect to see much of Paul George on Kevin Love. They've matched George up with other small forward stars so far this season, so it'd be surprising if they fed C.J. Miles to James instead.
The banged-up Cavaliers are, well, more banged up. LeBron James and J.R. Smith are both listed as questionable for the afternoon tilt. James was kneed in the left quad in the win against the 76ers, and didn't practice on Saturday. Smith has missed the last two games with a right knee bruise and quadriceps tendinitis.
This is a case of the Cavaliers being very, very cautious about the health of their players. LeBron recently said he'd like to play all 82 games this season, so there's a little dark humor to that possibly being blown up seven games in. That said, the Cavaliers are taking the right angle, and a November game against the Pacers probably isn't worth risking any long-term health for.
The Cavaliers have handled the lack of Kyrie Irving, Iman Shumpert and Smith very well, but if LeBron sits, the task may be too tall for the Cavaliers on Sunday. Kevin Love should have ample opportunity to impress, but he'll need his shot falling with or without James. Assuming health, the Cavaliers should be able to grit out a win, but might have to work harder for it than they think they will.
Fear the Sword's Fearless Prediction:
LeBron is a proud man. He ain't sitting five minutes after telling everyone he's going to try to play 82. Bron suits up, Kevin Love roasts the Pacers big men when they run small-ball lineups and the Cavaliers stymie the Pacers offense enough to sneak out a win. Cavs win, 109-102.