The Cavaliers have already learned their first lesson of the young season and now look to get into the win column after falling to the Raptors on Wednesday. The road trip continues as the team squares off with the dysfunctional Wolves on Friday night.
When: 8 p.m.
Where: Allstate Arena — Minneapolis, Minnesota
Enemy Blog: Canis Hoopus
TV: Fox Sports Ohio
Online: Fox Sports Go, NBA League Pass
Cavs injuries: J.R. Smith (TBD - elbow), Larry Nance Jr. (TBD - ankle)
Timberwolves injuries: Justin Patton (OUT - foot)
Three keys to the game
- After playing one of the more stout defensive units in the NBA in their opener, the Cavaliers should have the opportunity to generate some good offense against Minnesota. Scoring in the half court will never be Cleveland’s strength, but this is a team with poor fundamentals, and, if you’re not a Tom Thibodeau fan, an outdated scheme. Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins are terrible team defenders, and Jeff Teague has always been something of a space cadet. A sparse bench offers little better. The Cavs can score on this team.
- How does Cedi Osman, primary defender play out against the second straight perimeter star? Kawhi Leonard got his numbers, but Osman made him work to the tune of a 9-22 night from the field. Against Jimmy Butler, Osman faces another elite two-way player that will challenge him on both sides of the ball. Cedi managed 17-10-4 in the opener. If he manages another big line, Cavs Twitter might not be able to contain itself.
- Kevin Love had a fairly hideous offensive game from the field in the opener, and if he’d been even close to average in terms of shotmaking, it would’ve been a much closer game. Love generated plenty of good looks against Toronto, but this team needs him to make those looks if they want to score at the rate they need to. Love is no longer a luxury in any way - he’s the engine.
Collin Sexton had mixed results in his debut, but should have an easier task against a team much less interested in help defense. His matchup against Jeff Teague, Derrick Rose and Tyus Jones should make the rookie look a lot better. He deserves more minutes than he got in the opener, for development’s sake, and he should be able to take advantage of those minutes against a porous defense.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction
For all the ugliness that currently surrounds this T-Wolves season, they’re going to be hard to beat on any given night. Talent is what every team in the league is chasing, and despite the personalities involved, the Wolves are chalk-full of it. They send the Cavaliers to 0-2 with a 109-104 win.