The previous match-ups between the Milwaukee Bucks and Cleveland Cavaliers this season can likely be thrown out the window. Unfortunately for the Bucks, Jabari Parker is out for the season with a torn ACL. To make matters worse, Khris Middleton is out for tonight’s game as well after a few strong games back from injury. For the Cavs, both LeBron James and Kyle Korver are listed as questionable. Meaning the Cavs could once again be without three starters and their sixth man. Should this happen, I’m sure the analysis from the basketball community will remain rational.
Who? Cleveland Cavaliers (40-17) vs Milwaukee Bucks (26-31)
Where? Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio.
Where on my eyeballs? TNT
The Bucks have been on a bit of a hot streak lately, winning four of their last five games. The team has shown resilience all season long as Giannis Antetokounmpo has established himself as one of the best players in the Eastern Conference.
The Cavaliers will once again need to be mindful of turnovers, as the Bucks offense thrives off creating opportunities in transition and getting to the rim.
For the Cavs, they approach this game with much left uncertain. In their last game against the Bulls, they displayed an inability to knock down open jumpers. This issue could become even more glaring, should Korver be made unavailable.
Deron Williams missed the Cavs shootaround Monday morning with no word of his signing yet. Should he suit up for Monday’s game, he would be playing primarily on instinct. Even without a practice, he would be a meaningful improvement over the guard play off of the bench.
This game has the potential to get a little ugly. If the Cavs are severely shorthanded, it will be on the reserves to start hitting open shots. The Cavs live and die by the three point shot on a lot of nights, especially if LeBron is out. If the team is missing on those shots, it will generate long rebounds that could just as easily turn into transition points as a sloppy turnover. Keeping the Bucks in the halfcourt is necessary in order to slow down their offense.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction:
I think the Cavs are going to be cautious and rest their guys. While the move makes them vulnerable, the team is always focused on the bigger picture. Should they be shorthanded, I think the team will try to get Deron Williams into the game, as they did with Derrick Williams in Oklahoma City. I’ll be an optimist and say the Cavs win 98-95.