The Cleveland Cavaliers haven’t been all that good at basketball in awhile. There are a number of reasons why this might be the case. There might be a certain level of regular season apathy that has taken hold. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I felt some of that myself. There was a chance that this regular season could have looked and felt like the 08-09 Cavaliers that streaked to 66 wins before the Orlando Magic rained hellfire in the form of Rafer Alson bank shot three pointers and Dwight Howard post-ups. The Cavs haven’t quite dominated in that fashion.
Does it matter? Probably not. They are still in line for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors have looked pretty good all year. The Warriors have been tremendous. It’s hard to imagine the Cavs running into anyone else who could push them (I suppose it’s possible the Warriors wouldn’t make it out of the West, but it seems unlikely). Whether or not the Cavs actually end up surmounting those challenges probably doesn’t hinge on a January performance against the Phoenix Suns. But we watch basketball because it’s fun. Hopefully the Cavs have some as well.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Phoenix Suns
When: 7 p.m. EST
Where: Quicken Loans Arena
TV: Fox Sports Ohio, League Pass
Enemy Blog: Bright Side of the Sun
Kevin Love is questionable for this one after missing the second half of Monday night’s blowout loss to the Golden State Warriors. James Jones was apparently wearing a red starters jersey during practice. I think I’d just start Channing Frye in Kevin Love’s place, but Frye hasn’t been all that impressive this season, particularly on the defensive end. The Cavs will have Kyle Korver, though, and he seems to be fitting in more and more. I’d like to see the Cavs try and maximize his minutes with both Kyrie Irving and LeBron James on the floor. We’ve seen the wonders that has done for J.R. Smith; Korver is a better three point shooter.
The Suns are going to get a lot of dribble penetration from their young guards. The Cavs should be able to outscore them, but it’d be nice to see the Cavs handle the pick and roll with some success. We are less than two weeks removed from me writing a preview of the Suns-Cavs game during the West Coast swing, so I’d direct you there if you want more Suns-centric thoughts. The Cavs should win tonight, with or without Kevin Love. A team playing with purpose would be most welcome.