The Cavaliers aced their first test without Tristan Thompson with a win against the Knicks. It’s probably fair to say that their luck won’t continue against the Bucks, who this time will likely have Giannis Antetokounmpo in tow.
This could get a smidge ugly, but the try-hard Cavaliers can be full of surprises on a night-to-night basis.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers (7-21) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (18-9)
When: 7:30 pm
Where: Quicken Loans Arena — Cleveland, Ohio
Enemy Blog: BrewHoop
TV: Fox Sports Ohio
Online: NBA League Pass
Cavs injuries: Kevin Love (Foot - Out), Tristan Thompson (Foot - Out), John Henson (Wrist - Out), J.R. Smith (Not with team)
Bucks injuries: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Neck - probable)
Three keys to the game
- Saddle Up, David
David Nwaba made his triumphant return to the Cavaliers lineup, and my guess is, he’ll be rewarded for his efforts by drawing the Giannis matchup. Giannis is genuinely impossible to guard, and is scoring two-pointers at a Shaq-like rate. He’s also similar to Shaq from this perspective: it literally doesn’t matter that he can’t shoot if nobody can stop him from doing what he wants two feet from the rim.
2. Can Larry Nance hurt the slow-footed Brook Lopez? Will he actually start?
Larry Drew did an odd thing against the Knicks, starting Channing Frye over Larry Nance against the Knicks. He shouldn’t do that anymore. Larry Nance has an enormous athleticism advantage over Brook Lopez in both the halfcourt and transition, and Lopez has regressed as a post scorer. Nance needs to win this matchup.
3. Rodney Good?
Rodney Hood played perhaps his best game of the season against the Knicks, dropping 23 points on 14 shot attempts, including the eventual game-winner. The game prior, against these Bucks, Hood scored three points on 1-7 shooting. The Cavaliers look a lot different when Hood plays even remotely well. We’ll see if he can keep the good times rolling in another date with Milwaukee. He probably won’t, by the way.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction
I think Giannis returns with vigor. The Cavaliers can’t handle him even a little bit without Tristan Thompson helping to protect the rim. He scores 40 and the Bucks win 111-96.