After Wednesday’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the Cleveland Cavaliers are back in action tonight against the Indiana Pacers. Will the Cavs bounce back? Let’s discuss that and more.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Indiana Pacers
When: 7:30 p.m.
Where: Quicken Loans Arena - Cleveland, Ohio
Enemy Blog: Indy Cornrows
TV: Unavailable in the Cleveland area
Online: Fox Sports Go
Cavs injuries: Iman Shumpert (left foot sprain - OUT), LeBron James (ankle sprain - OUT), Cedi Osman (back spasms - status TBD)
Pacers injuries: Ike Anigbogu, (Right knee surgery rehabilitation, TBD), Trey McKinney-Jones, (Left shoulder rehabilitation, OUT), Glenn Robinson III, (Left high ankle sprain, OUT), Edmund Sumner, (Left knee surgery rehabilitation, OUT)
Three keys to the game
- The Pacers, after losing Paul George and not getting much back in return, figure to be one of the league’s worst teams. Even if the Cavs are only playing their starters for part of the game, they should be able to dominate. Tonight is all about the Cavs building on what they’re working on in practice and showcased some of on Wednesday.
- Look to see how much Richard Jefferson plays and when he first enters the game. He didn’t play until the second half on Wednesday, putting him far back in the Cavs’ rotation. But with Iman Shumpert out, there’s more room for Jefferson to play. This is especially true if Cedi Osman misses the game due to back spasms, something Tyronn Lue alluded to earlier this week.
- On Wednesday, Kay Felder played a large chunk of the second half and ended up leading the team with 13 points. Edy Tavares, on the other hand, didn’t play a single minute as Ante Zizic and Kendrick Perkins took up all of the possible center minutes. Might the Cavs have tipped their hand as to who will get the team’s one remaining two-way contract? And will Tavares get a chance to prove himself against the Pacers?
Kevin Love vs. Myles Turner is the most interesting matchup in this game. Turner, while not on the level of some of the centers Love will have to face this year, is someone who can give the Cavs a better idea of how he’ll actually perform on defense as a center. He can stretch the floor a bit, moves well and finishes strongly inside. And because of the Pacers’ current roster makeup, a lot of their offense will go through him. Expect Love to be tested when both are in the game.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction
Whether LeBron plays or not doesn’t matter all that much. The Cavs should be better than the Pacers, particularly if their starters play more than a half. Cavs 107, Pacers 98.