The Cleveland Cavaliers look to clinch the Central Division title against the Milwaukee Bucks. A win Wednesday night or a Chicago Bulls loss would secure the division for the Cavs and the number two seed in the East for the playoffs.
Who? Cleveland Cavaliers (50-27) at Milwaukee Bucks (38-39)
When? 8:00 pm ET
Where? BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Where on my eyeballs? Fox Sports Ohio, NBA League Pass
Enemy blog: Brew Hoop
The Milwaukee Bucks are a young team with a ton of physical ability. They're the type of team that could potentially be a problem for the Cavs with their length and athleticism. The issue with the Bucks is that for all the pressure they can apply on defense, their offense is nearly as incapable of putting up enough points to win consistently against the league's top teams. If you can't put up points against the Cavs, any hope you have of coming away with a win is completely dependent on LeBron and Co. not playing with urgency and having an off shooting night.
That being said, there are nights where the Bucks can put together a strong shooting night and take care of any lead they get with their strong defense. The key to beating the Bucks is by starting strong and making sure they do not build up any sort of significant lead.
Things to keep an eye on:
- The Cavs used LeBron James in the post a fair bit against the Chicago Bulls. It'll be interesting if that is something they will continue to do in preparation for the playoffs, or if it was just something LeBron saves for statement games and is confident that it can just be turned on when the games really matter.
- Giannis Antetokoumpo is so much fun to watch. He hasn't quite figured it out yet, but he shows flashes every game of the terror he will one day become. Between he and Jabari Parker, the Bucks have the type of talent that could see them becoming one of the toughest teams the Cavs will play in the East. Enjoy him before he's reached his final form.
- Can Iman Shumpert get his shooting touch back? He's been in a bit of a slump over the past couple weeks, despite stellar play in all other facets of the game. If he can rediscover his shooting stroke in time for playoffs, it helps make the Cavs that much tougher to guard.
- Small ball opportunity? The Bucks do have a lot of length, but they don't have a lot of bigs that require someone as large as Mozgov in order to contain them with the exception of Zaza Pachulia. The Cavs have been very effective in lineups that feature Tristan Thompson at center and could look to get some reps in with those kinds of looks.
- How much will David Blatt play the big three with there essentially being nothing left to play for in the regular season? Kevin Love's back could probably use as much rest as possible before the post-season and having a well rested LeBron James and Kyrie Irving is always a great thing. It'll be interesting to see if they will still see heavy minutes should the game remain close late, or if the bench will be awarded the opportunity to try and close it out.
Fear the Sword's Fearless Prediction:
The Cavaliers come out swinging and put the game out of reach by late in the second quarter. Win 104-88.