After losing on Saturday, the Cleveland Cavaliers are set to face Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans tonight in ‘The Big Easy’. Here’s our preview.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers at New Orleans Pelicans
When: 8 p.m.
Where: Smoothie King Center - New Orleans, Louisiana
TV Information: Fox Sports Ohio
Enemy Blog: The Bird Writes
Keys to the game
- The Cavs have lost four of their last six, three of which came of their recent West Coast trip. And still - largely because Toronto Raptors have struggled of late - Cleveland has a three game cushion atop the East.
- Tonight marks what, in theory, could be a fairly easy stretch for the Cavs. Take a look:
Cavs' upcoming schedule is fairly easy, even with all the road games. pic.twitter.com/yAq6Vf3Zvw— Chris Manning (@cwmwrites) January 22, 2017
- As of this morning’s records, Cleveland only faces three teams - the Pacers, Wizards and Thunder - that have a record at or above .500. There are a lot of road games - including a four-game swing from Feb. 4 to Feb. 9 - and LeBron James could rest during this stretch. But, in theory, this is a point of the season where the Cavs could feast on their schedule and build up a bigger lead in the East. Of note: This current stretch of games only features two back-to-backs.
- LeBron, by the way, will play tonight against the Pelicans. If the rests this week, Friday against the league-worst Brooklyn Nets would make sense. Assuming he plays Wednesday against the Sacramento Kings, he could have three full days off before Cleveland hosts Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder Sunday at the Q.
- James also did play 45 minutes in Saturday’s overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Just an FYI.
- The Pelicans, aside from Davis, are a bit of a mess. They are coming off a loss to the Nets in which they gave up 143 points. Yes, you read that right. The Pelicans gave up 143 points to the Nets, who are 9-34 and have in the bottom five in both offensive rating and defensive rating.
- Davis, an All-Star starter, has been sensational. For the year, he’s averaging 28.6 points and 12 rebounds per game while basically keeping the Pellies afloat. He did injure his quad in New Orleans’ loss to Brooklyn, but he is expected to play tonight.
- The Pelicans, for their part are 27th in offense rating, but eighth in defensive rating. Coming into tonight’s game, they are 17-27 and 10th in the Western Conference. They’re also 2.5 games behind the Denver Nuggets for the No. 8 seed.
- When these two teams played on Jan. 2, Cleveland beat New Orleans 90-82 at home. This was the game where Kay Felder first made his mark. With Kyrie Irving out and Kevin Love battling illness, Felder scored eight of his 12 points in the fourth quarter. The Cavs’ bench also came up big and outscored the Pelicans’ 34-20.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction
As long as the Cavs come out with lift and focus, this is a game they should win. Cavs 105, Pelicans 94.