The Cavaliers are suddenly playing, well, decent basketball. They struggled in spots against the Mavericks and Knicks while managing wins before letting their bench lead them to a win against the Charlotte Hornets with LeBron James dealing with foul trouble. They look for their fourth win in a row against the Clippers at home.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Los Angeles Clippers
When: 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Quicken Loans Arena — Cleveland, Ohio
Enemy Blog: Clips Nation
TV: Fox Sports Ohio
Online: Fox Sports Go, NBA League Pass
Cavs injuries: Isaiah Thomas (OUT - hip), Tristan Thompson (OUT - left calf), Derrick Rose (TBD - ankle sprain/soreness)
Clippers injuries: Milos Teodosic (OUT - plantar fascia), Danilo Gallinari (OUT - strained glute), Patrick Beverley (TBD - right knee)
Three Keys to the game
- The Clippers are a little depressing right now. They’ve lost six in a row, and injuries to Milos Teodosic and Patrick Beverley have left them short at point guard. Sindarius Thornwell has been better than anyone could have expected, but it’s not ideal that the Clippers have to start him. This is a team that we knew was depending on often-injured players to stay healthy this year, and so far, they haven’t.
- Blake Griffin has become the team’s primary playmaker with Chris Paul in Houston, and he’s leading the team with 4.7 assists. Unfortunately, he’s also leading the team with 2.9 turnovers while shooting a by-far career low of 43.4 percent from the field (his previous low was last year at 49.3). A big part of that is the volume of shots he’s taking from three. He’s averaging a whopping 5.8 per game on respectable, but not great 36 percent shooting, but he probably could excise some of those attempts in favor of shots at the rim.
- This Clippers team really has nobody to throw on LeBron James. Wes Johnson is tall enough, but he neither has the instincts nor the physical tools to really make much of an impact. Off the bench, it’s likely that Sam Dekker will get a shot at James, but you see the conundrum facing the Clippers here. If he’s properly engaged, LeBron should be able to generate a big game on offense.
Kevin Love draws yet another tough matchup at center, this time against DeAndre Jordan. Jordan is a rebounding fiend and a lob catching machine, and Love, alongside Channing Frye, will have their work cut out for them in bothering Jordan. His vertical gravity is immense, and they’ll have to do work on his rolls to the rim to prevent the help defense from abandoning open shooters.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction
The Cavaliers might not be great yet, and this is a trap game being their first game home after a four-game road trip. With that said, they’re playing well while the Clippers are spiraling. Cavaliers 104, Clippers 95.