Kyrie Irving - dribbler of basketballs, maker of jump shots, expert of angles and wrist flicks, destroyer of ankles - is back. The Cavs also employ LeBron James and Kevin Love. Historically, the three are good at playing basketball together. The Philadelphia 76ers have one win. It's almost Christmas. It's not really a fair fight. This is what it would be like if you picked three of the top 20 players in the world and had them play against a team without a point guard or anyone that can shoot. Wait, that's exactly what it is.
For the Cavs, you are hoping for a focused start and some fun Kyrie Irving highlights, health, and little drama. If you can keep LeBron James and Kevin Love under 30 minutes, it's a clean win. The Cavs have been playing good basketball, so you'd think it's possible.
Who: Philadelphia 76ers at Cleveland Cavaliers
When: 3:30 p.m.
Where: Quicken Loans Arena -- Cleveland, Ohio
TV Listings: Fox Sports Ohio, League Pass
Enemy Blog: Libertyballers.com
For the Cavs, it will be interesting to see if it takes time to integrate Kyrie Irving into what the team is attempting to do offensively. Kevin Love and LeBron James have seen modest jumps in their usage rates. You'd like to see Kevin Love's stay the same or perhaps even tick up a bit with Irving demanding the defense's attention, but James' could definitely come down a little bit. Will there be growing pains for Irving? Will it take him time to get his legs back?
It's probably worth mentioning that in the Cavs' first matchup with the 76ers, Kevin Love and Timofey Mozgov seemed to struggle a bit with the quickness of Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor. Mozgov has looked a bit healthier as of late, so it would be nice to see those two hold their own. The Sixers are disastrous on offense, so there is really no excuse for the Cavs in this one.
For the Sixers, it's a team with an interesting collection of unskilled but athletic players. They take a lot of threes, but they aren't good at them. They look to push the ball, but it often results in bad turnovers. I like Robert Covington, and I still believe in Nerlens Noel. That being sad, Noel has taken a big step back this season. The Sixers were a pretty good defensive team last season, and Noel was a huge part of that. This year, not so much. His rim protection has taken a serious dent. Part of it is the surrounding cast; Jahlil Okafor, in particular, has not shown interest or ability in rebounding. He's very skilled and can score and rebound, but combined with off the court issues, as well as the play of Kristaps Porzingis, it's looking like a worrisome draft pick.
Another guy to watch: Jerami Grant, who is basically a poor man's Tristan Thompson.
Enjoy the Cavs Big 3, and let's see if the team can get to 18-7.
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