The Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Memphis Grizzlies 94-90 in Memphis on Thursday night. The Cavs will look to close out the two game series against Memphis in their return home from a six game road trip.
How to watch:
Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports Ohio, Fox Sports Go and NBA League Pass
Cavs head coach, J.B. Bickerstaff, has been forced to get creative with some of his lineups due to the plethora of injuries to key rotational players. He’s had to insert Larry Nance Jr. in at shooting guard at times, while having Andre Drummond, JaVale McGee and Thon Maker on the floor…all at the same time. These lineups can be expected to continue while the Cavs are pushing forward with essentially no healthy point guards. The status of Collin Sexton is still unknown, as he is currently listed as questionable and dealing with a left ankle sprain. The ankle injury forced him to miss the last two games, while being listed as questionable for both.
If Sexton is ruled out, the starting lineup should look the same as the Cavs last two games. With Dean Wade, Lamar Stevens, Thon Maker and JaVale McGee to get extended playing time.
Cavs: Daymean Dotson / Isaac Okoro / Cedi Osman / Larry Nance Jr. / Andre Drummond
Grizzlies: Tyus Jones / Dillon Brooks / Kyle Anderson / Brandon Clarke / Jonas Valanciunas
Things to watch for:
· Battle of the bigs: Drummond and Jonas Valanciunas led their respective teams in scoring when these teams faced off on Thursday night. Drummond finished with 22 points on 9-20 from the field, while Valanciunas ended with 17 points, shooting a more efficient 6-11. Both teams are dealing with injuries to their starting point guard, facilitating the offense has become tough because of that, and this has led to the big men becoming more of a focal point. Expect this to be the case again on Monday night.
· Low scoring slug fest: The Cavs average 100.9 points per game, which ranks dead last in the NBA. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies average 105.9 points per game, which ranks 27th in the NBA. These offenses are really struggling to gain any momentum because of the injured players. The major difference between these two teams? Defense. The Cavs have the best defense in the NBA in points allowed per game, only letting up 103. Their defense has been keeping them in most of these games, and should continue to do the same against Memphis. The Grizzlies defense ranks 14th in points allowed per game, allowing 109.9, which is slightly above average. Considering the inability to shoot the ball on a consistent basis, and the excellent defense for the Cavs, expect this game to be very low scoring.
· Isaac Okoro is the main attraction: When these teams played each other on Thursday night, Okoro had the two biggest plays of the game. A block on one end and a dunk on the other to secure the win for the Cavs. This boosted his confidence, and the team’s confidence in him. He was all over the court on defense against Memphis, with deflections, blocks and a steal. He has yet to have a stellar night on the offensive end, but that is too be expected, considering defense is what he excels at and prides himself on. Okoro could have a big night on both ends, knowing what he was able to do to Memphis in their last meeting, as his confidence continues to grow.