The Cavaliers could be looking at a trade soon, but in the meantime, there’s still basketball to play.
When: 3:30 PM ET
Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
Enemy Blog: Welcome to Loud City
Online: Fox Sports Go
Cavs injuries: Iman Shumpert (OUT - left knee)
Thunder injuries: None to report
Three keys to the game:
- The Thunder have an amazing defense, and the Cavaliers will soon find out that it’ll be tough to score over the course of a full 48 minutes, something they’ve struggled with this season. They put together a beautiful offensive first half against the Magic before sputtering in the 2nd half and nearly blowing an enormous lead. OKC has length and size at every position, and Paul George specifically can destroy passing lanes.
- The Cavaliers may employ DeAndre Jordan soon, but as it stands, Kevin Love will have to battle the behemoth Steven Adams in the paint all game. Adams has probably been OKC’s third-best player above Carmelo Anthony this year, and his rim protection, rebounding and finishing around the paint really unlock this team. Love likely doesn’t have the size to punish him inside - the Cavs will have to be creative to get him his looks.
- With 6’4 Russell Westbrook and 6’7 Andre Roberson in the Thunder’s back court, the Cavs may have to sub out Isaiah Thomas as soon as possible in order to add some size defensively. They’ll try to hide Thomas on Roberson, but despite having a busted jumper, Roberson is an adept cutter and Thomas may not be able to even affect him on that front. Tyronn Lue would be wise to sync Thomas’ minutes up with Ray Felton’s whenever possible.
LeBron James and Paul George tend to produce fireworks when going up against eachother, and I suspect we’ll soon see that on Saturday. George is activeo ff-ball and can really shoot the three, and he’s capable of giving LeBron a run for his money on the defensive end of the ball. James has historically tortured George in the playoffs - this Thunder team has a bit more firepower. It should be fun to see.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction
The Cavs haven’t fixed their issues, and the possibility of trades soon could create problematic chemistry. This is a tough matchup. The Thunder win this one 114-105.