The Cavaliers can’t be feeling good. Kevin Love is out 6-8 weeks with a broken hand, and they took yet another terrible loss, this time to a skeleton crew in Detroit. There’s no rest for the weary. The Cavaliers head home to host the red-hot MIami Heat in a battle for third place in the Eastern Conference standings. We’ll, uh, see how it goes.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers (29-20) vs. Miami Heat (29-21)
When: 7:30 p.m.
Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
Where on my eyeballs? Fox Sports Ohio, Fox Sports Go, NBA League Pass
Cavaliers injuries: Kevin Love (OUT - hand)
Heat injuries: Dion Waiters (OUT - ankle), Rodney McGruder (OUT - leg)
Three keys to the game:
- The Cavaliers will have to adjust to life without Love. His injury leaves only two bigs in the rotation in Tristan Thompson and Channing Frye. That means more power forward minutes for the likes of Jeff Green and Jae Crowder. The Cavaliers haven’t announced their new-look starting lineup just yet, but we can almost guarantee it’s going to be small. We’ll see how that looks against Miami.
- J.R. Smith took a step back against Detroit after looking like his old self in the two games prior. The Cavaliers have such a different look when they’re playing with an engaged and flamethrowing J.R. Smith. We’ll see if he can re-gain his composure.
- Speaking of flamethrowers, expect a big game from Wayne Ellington tonight. He’s been shooting the lights out all January. He’s made 52 threes this month (via Joe Vardon’s preview), tying a Miami Heat record. The Cavaliers are famously terrible at tracking three-point shooters, so that will be fun.
It’s going to be a disaster if the Cavaliers try to guard Goran Dragic with Isaiah Thomas. They’ll have to hide IT on non-threats as often as possible if they don’t want to get completely shredded all night. Dragic is playing well and he’s often the engine for this Miami squad. We’ll see what Tyronn Lue draws up.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction
This doesn’t feel like it’s going to go well. Heat win 122-113.