The Cavs will look to bounce back from a second-half beat down against the Orlando Magic on Monday night. The Cavs held their own in the first half despite playing a majority of the game down seven rotation pieces. Everything fell apart in the second half when the Magic outscored the Cavs 38-18 in the third quarter. We’ll see if the Cavs can bounce back from that tonight.
How to watch:
Tip-off is at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports Ohio, Fox Sports Go, and NBA League Pass.
It’s tough to say who is going to be out there tonight. We know that the Cavs will for sure be without Darius Garland (shoulder), Kevin Love (calf), Dylan Windler (hand), Matthew Dellavedova (concussion), Dante Exum (calf), and Kevin Porter Jr. (personal). The status of Isaac Okoro (foot) is still up in the air and we probably won’t know whether or not he’ll play until right before tip-off given J.B. Bickerstaff’s propensity for secrecy. Given that he was such a late scratch last game, I’m going to lean on the optimistic side and say he will be good to go tonight. If he isn’t, I would expect Cedi Osman to get the starts in their place.
Cavs: Collin Sexton / Damyean Dotson / Isaac Okoro / Larry Nance Jr ./ Andre Drummond
Magic: Markele Fultz / Michael Carter-Williams / Dwayne Bacon / Aaron Gordon / Nikola Vucevic
Things to watch for:
- Andre Drummond’s post-ups: We know Drummond loves to post up. Especially when there isn’t much going on offensively around him. Drummond had nine posts up on Monday, most of which coming against Vucevic, but had limited success as only two of those post-ups resulted in a made field goal, none resulted in assists or free throws, and one resulted in a turnover. I’m not completely against Drummond posting up, but if Monday’s game showed us anything, it’s that this isn’t the matchup to go that route.
- The Cavs’ solid defense: Not a lot went right for the Cavs on Monday, but the defense wasn’t the problem outside of a 38 point third quarter. The Cavs forced the Magic into 21 turnovers on Monday. Orlando came into the contest committing the fewest turnovers in the league. The Magic’s offense was rescued on Monday by going 15 for 34 from deep (44%) which included Aaron Gordon going 6 for 9. The Cavs defense priorities protecting the paint over defending the three-point line so a team shooting above their average from distance is expected, but I would expect a bit of a regression tonight as the Magic have shot only 33.5% from deep on the season which ranks 24th in the league. Cleveland still boasts a top three defense in the league as they have a defensive rating of 102.8 on the season.
- The offense is a mess. This isn’t surprising given the number of players out of the lineup, but it is still worth addressing. The most effective ways to score in the league are at the rim, from three, and at the line. The Cavs are 29th in the league in three-point attempts and 26th in free-throw attempts. I don’t believe you need to look further than those two stats to explain why the Cavs have the second worst offensive rating in the league despite great play from Collin Sexton.
- Collin Sexton’s scoring streak. It wasn’t Sexton’s best night on Monday, but he finished with 24 points on 10 of 19 shooting. He’s scored 20 or more points in every game this season and has shot 50% or better from the field in all but one of those games. We’ll see if Sexton can efficiently keep that streak alive tonight.