The battle to get healthy has been the toughest challenge for the Cleveland Cavaliers all season. Just when it looked like the team was going to become whole for the first time, both Iman Shumpert and Kyrie Irving were forced to sit out down the stretch against the Detroit Pistons. While the injuries were not serious, their status for Saturday’s game against the L.A. Clippers is up in the air.
Who? Cleveland Cavaliers (45-22) at L.A. Clippers (40-29)
When? 8:30 ET
Where? Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Where on my eyeballs? ABC
The Staples Center has been used to bring the Cavaliers together in the past. In the first year after the return, it was the West Coast trip that galvanized the team and launched them on a successful close to the season. The win that seemed to inspire that change of culture and focus came against the Clippers on the road.
While the Cavs don’t have the locker room problems they had then, the changeover within the roster and the injuries they’ve dealt with have limited the opportunities to develop chemistry and have some continuity.
For the Clippers, they are looking to build some continuity of their own as well. Both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have missed significant portions of this season due to injury. Now, with a healthy roster, the Clippers are looking to regain the magic of the past and gear up for another playoff run. With the Kevin Durant injury clouding the Western Conference playoff picture, this season could be the last chance for the Clippers to actually advance to the Western Conference Finals.
However getting everybody back has caused an adjustment period for the Clippers. They are 5-8 since the All Star break and are looking to prevent sliding further down the standings. While this game is still just a meaningless March game, a nationally televised game against a quality opponent would be a much needed quality win for both squads involved. So we may see more intensity than we are used to at this time of year.
On the injury front for the Cavs, Kyle Korver will once again be sidelined for Saturday’s matchup. The status of Irving, Shumpert, and Derrick Williams will be determined at game time.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction:
I’m hoping St. Patrick’s day on a Friday night in L.A. is not a factor for this game. It’s hard to gauge what to expect when the availability is still up in the air for so many players. However, with this being a national game against his good friend, I think we see a very motivated LeBron James tonight. Cavs win 110-102.