It feels funny to look at the schedule and say that the Cleveland Cavaliers are entering a tough stretch. As the worst team in the league, the entire schedule is a tough stretch. However this five game Western Conference road trip is a miserable one with the easiest game they’ll have coming after a Saturday night in Los Angeles. The trip continues against the reigning MVP in Houston.
Who? Cleveland Cavaliers (8-34) at. Houston Rockets (23-17)
When? 8:00 p.m. EST
Where? Toyota Center, Houston, Texas
Where on my eyeballs? Fox Sports Ohio, NBA League Pass
Cavs status update: Kevin Love (Foot - OUT), John Henson (Wrist - OUT), Larry Nance Jr. (MCL - OUT), J.R. Smith (Not with team), David Nwaba (Ankle - OUT), Rodney Hood (Achilles sprain - Questionable)
Rockets status update: Chris Paul (Hamstring - OUT), Eric Gordon (Foot - OUT), Carmelo Anthony (Not with team)
There is almost nobody in the league playing better than James Harden right now. With Chris Paul out of the lineup, he has willed the Rockets to victory and got them back into the playoff picture.
While it’s impossible to say with certainty what the outcome of any given game will be, this is a classic example of the math problem with the Cavs. The Cavaliers are 27th in made three pointers a game; the Rockets are first. Three pointers count for 50 percent more points than the shots the Cavs like to take. You can see why this is an issue.
The Rockets also are fourth in offensive efficiency while the Cavs are the worst defensive team in NBA history (not hyperbole). It takes discipline and a consistent team effort to try and contain Harden on the court, something that would be a truly impressive feat if the Cavs find a way to rise to the occasion.
Road trips often end up being make or break situations for NBA teams. For all the losing this team has had, the locker room has stayed relatively strong after some early turbulence. Nobody is expecting a win on this trip, but remaining competitive and fighting together would be a positive sign for the team.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction:
Rockets win 135-108.