Looking for the season series sweep of the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Cleveland Cavaliers hit the road to face a contending team for the final time in the regular season. This time around the Cavs will have Kyrie Irving, so we won't be deprived of a match up between him and Russell Westbrook this season.
Who? Cleveland Cavaliers (39-14) at Oklahoma City Thunder (40-15)
When: 3:30 PM
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Where on my eyeballs: ABC/ ESPN 3
Enemy blog: Welcome to Loud City
As I mentioned above, all of this season's match ups against the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs had occurred prior to the all star break. The Oklahoma City Thunder are in a similar position to the Cavs, in that they have phenomenal talent but are trying to find the best way to maximize that talent. Both teams will be looking to make a statement Sunday as the Thunder look to avoid the season series sweep and the Cavs look to win their second straight win against a contending team.
The Cavs will be without the services of newly acquired Channing Frye, while Iman Shumpert is questionable with a left shoulder strain. For the Thunder's side, this will be their first game with Randy Foye. While Foye has been shooting well below his career averages this season, but should benefit from playing in the Thunders system. Foye is a talented ball handler, defender and a solid shooter. If he can regain his form, he should be able to help a team that has been desperate for consistent help from the shooting guard position.
In the last match up between the teams the Cavs were able to attack the Thunder the way several teams have this year, by exposing their lack of depth when Durant and Westbrook were on the bench. Lack of depth and issues in crunch time have been the two biggest killers for them this season, but lately they have been rounding into form and playing at a truly high level. The Cavs will have more firepower this time around with Irving, but this will be a true test with how well the Thunder have been playing recently. Irving and the whole team will need to try and prevent Westbrook from getting to the rim as much as possible and hope that Durant doesn't go supernova offensively, as that is typically the best plan of attack when dealing with them.
I also went on the Loud Noises podcast to discuss these teams and where they stand moving forward:
Personally I'm very excited for this game, as LeBron/ Durant games are truly special and a gift from the basketball gods. It will also be a great litmus test to see what the Cavs can do on the big stage against a contender.
Fear the Sword's Fearless Prediction:
Kyrie has always played great against the Thunder, and while OKC will surely be looking to make a statement, I think the Cavs come out with a fury. I say Irving scores over 30 points and the Cavs win 110-104.