After beating the Washington Wizards thanks to a turnaround fadeaway bankshot three that sent the game into overtime, a shot that would rightfully make you flip a table if someone hit it against you in a video game, followed by Kyrie Irving isolation heroics in the final five minutes, the Cavs have some needed momentum. Tonight they face the 29-22 Pacers, who are on a seven game winning streak, and have turned a slow and concerning start into something more manageable.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers at Washington Wizards
When: 7 p.m.
Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
How to watch: Fox Sports Ohio, League Pass
- LeBron’s shooting goes beyond the absurdity of that end-of-regulation buzzer beater. He went 6-8 from three on the night, and is averaging 37.7 percent from deep on the year — which is a 3.4 percent bump from his career line. His struggles from deep last season were well noted, and defenses started to play under screens, daring him to shoot, and making it much harder for him to get to the rim — or to collapse opponents before handing a teammate an open three or an easy dunk. When LeBron’s hitting threes off the dribble — especially early — it changes the entire course of a game.
- Iman Shumpert, who has been playing well since being inserted into the starting lineup, twisted his ankle during the Wizards game, and left, although reports say there was no serious damage. If he’s not ready, we could see a full game from DeAndre Liggins, a player who keeps swinging between looking like he’s ready for a small slice of the playoffs to looking lost on a team he’s not ready to be on. With his disruptive perimeter defense and his relatively efficient (although not exactly prolific) ability from three, not to mention his length and athleticism, there’s still hope to turn him into a Spurs-ian weapon from out of nowhere, but being able to play simplistic, but effective and smart, basketball as the fifth option in the shadows on a team like the Cavs isn’t exactly an easy way to prove yourself.
- The Cavs attempt the second most threes in the league per game, while the Pacers fall into 27th. The Pacers are most likely going to try to test the Cavs in transition and down low, so if Cleveland controls the pace and gets the looks that they want, it would be ideal in terms of making things harder on Paul George, Myles Turner, Jeff Teague and company. Tristan Thompson, who will have to deal with Turners size, while helping with George and the guards, will be a defensive key to the game.
Fear The Sword’s Fearless Prediction
125-102 Cleveland. Thompson defends. Kyrie scores. LeBron generates. Korver hits from all over. And the Cavs grab another road win.