Fresh off a loss to the Indiana Pacers that ended the Cavs' win streak, Cleveland returns home to take on the Los Angeles Lakers. As it stands, the Cavs are just half a game behind the Chicago Bulls in the Central Division, and with a Bulls game looming on Thursday, each game the Cavs play is key as the Cavs pursue a top-four seed in the Eastern Conference.
This game also marks Byron Scott's first return to Cleveland since being fired as Cavs coach two seasons ago. The Cavs roster he faces, however, is entirely different as the only Cavaliers remaining that he coached are Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson and the injured Anderson Varejao.
What: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Los Angeles Lakers
When: 3:30 p.m.
Where: Quicken Loans Arena - Cleveland, Ohio
TV Information: ABC
Music: Nick Young
The Cavs have just three games left until the All-Star break. Today's game vs. the Lakers also figures to be the easiest matchup - the other two games are vs. the Miami Heat and at the Chicago Bulls - but it also figures to be a good rebound game after the end of the win streak. The Lakers are the second worst team in the Western Conference this season with just 13 wins and are 1-9 in their last 10 games.
That's not to say the Lakers don't have a few good players. Ed Davis, Jeremy Lin, Jordan Hill (hurt) and Nick Young could all probably play minutes and be effective, at least in a sense, on a good team. Other players, such as Jordan Clarkson, are at least interesting. But as it stands, the Lakers are playing Wayne Ellington, who was last mildly effective two years ago with the Cavs when he was acquired along with Mo Speights from the Memphis Grizzlies. Carlos Boozer plays heavy minutes.
Some interesting stats for this game.
- The Lakers are in the bottom third of the league in both offensive and defensive rating. Per Basketball Reference, the Lakers are scoring 103.8 points per 100 possessions - good for 22nd in the league - and are giving up 107.4 points per 100 possessions, which is good for 20th in the league.
- With Kobe Bryant done for the season, the Lakers do not have an active player scoring more than 15 points per game. As it stands, Young is the leading scorer at 13.8 points per game, while Boozer is second at 12.7 per game. It is worth nothing that Young is averaging 20.7 points per 36 minutes.
- Timofey Mozgov is leading all active Cavaliers in field goal percentage, as he is shooting 55 percent per game. He was lost for the season with an Achilles tear, but Anderson Varejao was shooting 55.5 percent from the field. The only other Cavaliers shooting above 50 percent are Iman Shumpert (who is only shooting 4.3 times a game) and Tristan Thompson.
- A year after posting a career high true shooting percentage, Young is down to 52.8 TS%. His usage rate of 26.2 is also just .6 lower than last season.
- The Cavs currently lead the league in attendance, drawing 575,736 total fans so far this season.
Fear The Sword's Fearless Prediction
The Cavs should roll here and win this game handily. Aside from Swaggy P going off and then J.R. Smith responding, the Cavs should roll here. On second thought, let's hope that happens and wee the great Swaggy-J.R. battle we've all secretly wanted.
Cavs 110, Lakers 98.