When the Cavs played the Hornets in November, Cleveland won 95-90. LeBron James scored 25 points in the win. A lot has changed for both teams in that time and it's hard to imagine the game will play out in the same fashion. Let's preview.
Where: Time Warner Cable Arena - Charlotte, North Carolina
TV: Fox Sports Ohio
Enemy Blog: At The Hive
Music: Earl Sweatshirt - Wind in my sails
Keys to the game
- Note that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is back for Charlotte after it was presumed he'd be out for the year with a shoulder injury. He hasn't lit the world on fire in his two games back, but he's arguably even better than he was last season. He's also taken (and made) two more three's than he took all of last season - which means he's two for two on threes for the year. Expect to see a lot of Kidd-Gilchrist (who played high school ball with Kyrie Irving) hounding LeBron James, which provides LeBron with one of his tougher tests.
- Nic Batum, though, is doubtful for Wednesday's game and that limits what Charlotte can do to harm the Cavs. Batum doesn't post up much - only .8 times per game this season - but he's capable of doing so. If he were healthy, Charlotte's wings would have an advantage on the Cavs', especially when Matthew Dellavedova is in at the two spot. It would have been an interesting wrinkle to see the Cavs go against.
- Kemba Walker may also miss this game for Charlotte and that would help the Cavs immensely. Walker's been really good this year and has improved due to a few small tweaks in his game. Plus, Walker and Irving tend to bring the best out of each other when they play. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Not good for the Cavs to have to see more Brian Roberts who is insanely good and went to Toledo St. John's. He'll see more minutes if Walker doesn't play)
- Speaking of interesting wrinkles, Charlotte's active bigs are probably going to test Timofey Mozgov. Pacers rookie Myles Turner absolutely roasted Mozgov at times Monday, as did Lavoy Allen. The likes of Frank Kaminski, Cody Zeller and Tyler Hansbrough aren't great by any means, but they are active. With how bad Mozgov has been, that matters.
- A win would give the Cavs their 11th win in 12 games with the only loss coming in Tyronn Lue's debut against the Chicago Bulls. Last night's second-half struggles notwithstanding, the Cavs look downright terrifying at the moment. There's no reason to think that won't continue here against a Charlotte team that been up and down this year. The Hornets, though, are 16-8 at home this year.
- Sadly, Cam Newton will not be at this game, nor will Future . Both were at the last game. Newton, of course, is in California ahead of Sunday's Super Bowl and Future is in Florida with DJ Khaled working on his album.
- Also: Make sure to follow ATH's Chris Barnewall and Joshua Priemski if you want good Hornets tweets during the game.
Fear the Sword's Fearless Prediction
The Cavs should, and will, roll here. Cavs 101, Hornets 92.