The Cleveland Cavaliers would probably use a day off after yesterday's 89-83 loss to the Warriors. The Christmas Day duel at the Oracle was grueling, emotional and, without question, the biggest game of the Cavs' young season.
The Cavs, though, take on the Trail Blazers tonight in Portland. The last time these teams met, the Cavs won behind 33 point performance from LeBron James, including 14 points in the fourth quarter when the Cavs went small. Will tonight bring more of the same?
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers (19-8) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (11-20)
When: 10 p.m.
Where: Moda Center - Portland, Oregon
Enemy blog: Blazer's Edge
TV: Fox Sports Ohio or NBA League Pass
Music: Grindin' - Clipse
Keys to the game
- Perhaps surprisingly, LeBron James will play in Portland. LeBron played 39 minutes last night, really carried the Cavs on both for large stretches of the game and there's reasonable arguments to be made that LeBron would benefit from rest against Portland.
- For the Cavs, tonight is also a chance to get going against a lesser team. In fact, the Cavs' next three games - Blazers, Suns, Nuggets - are against teams struggling in different ways. All three should probably be wins, but it'll require the Cavs to win on the second half of back-to-back and then both halves of another back-to-back. The good news? After Tuesday, the Cavs are off until Saturday Jan. 2.
- Damian Lillard is questionable with a foot injury and if he can play, it'll be the second night in row where Kyrie Irving is tested by an elite point guard. Lillard's injury - plantar fascia - can be a debilitating injury. And with Irving just four games back, the typically fun Irving-Lillard duels may not be quite as exciting this time around.
- A lot of how this game plays out really depends on ow much energy the Cavs play with. If they come out flat after yesterday's loss, they probably lose. If they come out fired up, then there's a chance the Cavs win this game handily.
Fear the Sword Fearless Prediction
It's hard to say exactly how the Cavs will look. It's a hunch, but it feels like a game where they'll come out slow, let the Blazers hang around a bit before the pulling away in the fourth. Cavs 101, Blazers 92.