The Cavaliers have jumped out to a 2-0 start to the season despite tough Eastern Conference competition and working in new pieces. They look to add to that win total against the Orlando Magic at home on the second half of a back-to-back.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Orlando Magic
When: 8 p.m.
Where: Quicken Loans Arena
Enemy Blog: Orlando Pinstriped Post
TV: Fox Sports Ohio
Online: Fox Sports Go, NBA League Pass
Cavs injuries: Isaiah Thomas (right hip - OUT), Derrick Rose (left ankle - OUT)
Magic injuries: Elfrid Payton (left hamstring - OUT), Aaron Gordon (left ankle - QUESTIONABLE),
Three keys to the game
- The Cavaliers own the Magic. They’ve beaten them a franchise-record 17 consecutive times, and that’s not particularly surprising given how shiftless Orlando has been since the Dwight Howard era fell apart. This team has maybe one or two long-term young assets worth having and yet are over the cap. What a mess.
- Jose Calderon is expected to start in this one with Derrick Rose out with an ankle injury, but expect him to get the Keith Bogans Memorial Rotation Spot™. Bogans used to start the first and second halves for the Bulls in the late 2000’s and not play a single minute after being benched for the rest of each half. If Calderon plays more than 15 minutes, I’ll be shocked.
- Aaron Gordon is a game time decision with a sore left ankle. The Magic are also on the second half of a back-to-back after losing to Brooklyn on Friday night, so they might play it cautiously. If Gordon doesn’t play, I have no clue how Orlando intends to compete in this one.
Kevin Love hasn’t had to lock down any big-time post-up threats early in the season, but Nikola Vucevic is a truly tough cover down low. He scored 41 points on Friday against Brooklyn, and he’s got touch on his jumper and size to bang down low. He normally gives up as many points as he scores, but it still will be a busy night for Love and Tristan Thompson in the frontcourt.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction
The Magic are a moribund, depressing franchise. The Cavs will still have to show up if they want to win, but my guess is that they do just enough to snag the W. Cavs 116, Magic 103.