Cleveland, the losing streak is finally over and the Cavaliers will be looking for a second straight win Wednesday night against the Houston Rockets.
The Cavaliers (11-21) and the Rockets (11-18) may have more in common than you think: both teams have faced a long losing streak, both are dwindling at the bottom of the standings because of it and each team has basically given their big man a pink slip in the midst of their losing.
Facing a new reality, Cleveland is looking toward Collin Sexton to be the catalyst that lifts this injury-riddled team to success in the win column. Sexton, now in his third year out of Alabama, is leading the team with - PPG while shooting -% from the perimeter.
Yes, Cleveland is still without Kevin Love, Larry Nance Jr. and Taurean Prince, but over the past eight games, Jarrett Allen (18.2 PPG & 10.3 RPG) and Darius Garland (16.0 PPG & 5.4 APG) have done a good job of trying to assist Sexton during this tough stretch of the schedule.
Houston, on the other hand, is in the midst of their own eight-game losing streak and are being outscored by their opponents by 15.6 PPG and are surrendering nearly 119 PPG during this streak.
Houston also sees themselves without a key piece in Christian Wood (22.0 PPG) who is still dealing with an ankle injury he sustained in early February. Without Wood, the Rockets are led by John Wall (20.2 PPG), Victor Oladipo (18.4 PPG) and Eric Gordon (18.5 PPG). Oladipo missed the team’s Monday night game with a foot injury that is considered to be day-to-day.
After a win last night against the Atlanta Hawks and the continued struggles of Cedi Osman, the Cavaliers will most likely trot out the same lineup that features Sexton, Garland, Jarrett Allen, Isaac Okoro and Dean Wade who contributed five points, two rebounds and two assists in 21 minutes of action. Until the eventual returns of Prince, Nance Jr. and hopefully Love, this could be the usual lineup moving toward the last stretch of the season.
Things to Watch for:
This game will be heavily predicated upon the play of the backcourt of each team. Both teams feature guards that can easily affect the game with their scoring and playmaking. Look for both teams to be led by their offenses as the defenses will take a back seat to such potent scoring
Dominance in the Paint
While P.J. Tucker will garner attention for his defensive versatility, at 6’5”, he stands little to no chance to truly affect the play of Allen deep in the paint. With Wood out with injury and DeMarcus Cousins, 6’10”, now a free agent, Houston has no answer defensively for a player that is shooting 70% on any field goal inside of 16 feet from the basket. JaVale McGee chipped in six points in his 14 minutes Tuesday night, should he see the floor during this game, expect some efficient scoring from him as well.