At some point the Cleveland Cavaliers will play a team that isn’t projected to make the playoffs, but tonight is not that night.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers (1-1) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (1-1)
When: 8 p.m. EST
Where: Fiserv Forum — Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Where to watch: Fox Sports Ohio, NBA League Pass
The Cavs small sample size top-five defense will be put to the test as they face the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks won three of four matchups between these two teams last season.
Milwaukee is coming off a home loss to the Miami Heat without Jimmy Butler, so they will likely be motivated to get things back on track.
Like the games against the Orlando Magic and Indiana Pacers, the Bucks are a massive team that have the ability to suffocate any offense. But unlike those teams they also possess a potent offense that can capitalize on any of your mistakes and make life a living hell for you in transition.
They also have arguably the best player in basketball in Giannis Antetokounmpo. To put it simply, the Cavs have nobody that can individually do much of anything to slow down Giannis. They can try to pack the paint and force him to take shots, but that often just leads to him having a head of steam attacking the rim.
In order to win the Cavs will need to keep the Bucks out of transition and win the battle on the boards. They also will need more efficient scoring nights out of Darius Garland and Collin Sexton, as the front court will likely have a less advantageous matchup. Eric Bledsoe can be a tremendous defender, but not to the level of Giannis or Khris Middleton.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction
I think this one might get ugly, but it doesn’t necessarily have to ruin the Cavs momentum. Bucks get out to a double digit lead in the first half, but the Cavs find a way to hang around and lose 115-107. I love the smell of a moral victory on a Monday.