The Cleveland Cavaliers looked like they were on the right path before the collapse against the Indiana Pacers before the All-Star break. Since returning to action they have mustered together 82 points in both losses. The Cavs will now travel to Miami and take on the reigning eastern conference champions in the Heat Tuesday night at 8 p.m.
When fans were holding on to hope that the offense would turn around when Kevin Love returned from injury, it happened again as Love aggravated his injured calf and played two minutes against the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday.
How to watch:
Tipoff is at 8 p.m. on Fox Sports Ohio, Fox Sports Go and NBA League Pass
Kevin Love is listed as doubtful and it is safe to assume the Cavs will be extremely cautious with him, and he will not see the court until he is fully healed. The Cavs did welcome back Darius Garland and Larry Nance Jr., who are both vital to the success of this franchise. Collin Sexton is trying to put the team on his back and is forcing the issue, but having Garland back takes some of the pressure off Sexton.
The Miami Heat are trending in the right direction, as the Cavs are doing the opposite. It appears Bam Adebayo will be back as the Heat try to push their win streak to five. Isaac Okoro will draw yet another tough defensive matchup in Jimmy Butler, as night in and night out he guards the opposing team’s best perimeter player.
Cavs: Darius Garland / Collin Sexton / Isaac Okoro / Larry Nance Jr. / Jarrett Allen
Heat: Kendrick Nunn / Duncan Robinson / Jimmy Butler / KZ Okpala / Bam Adebayo
Things to watch for:
· Can Sexton shoot his way out of this slump? Collin Sexton has been brutal to say the least since returning from the All-Star break. He picked up momentum towards the second half of the season last year, and showed how good of an offensive player he is. Hopefully he can rekindle some of that same magic that he showed earlier in the season and at the end of last season to propel this team to make a playoff push. He is 15-35 from the field in their two losses since the break, and only 1-8 from three-point range. The Heat are third in the NBA in points allowed per game, which is not encouraging for Sexton, but he will need to get back on track for the Cavs to have a chance.
· Garland has to be selfish. Darius Garland is essentially the lone playmaker on the roster. At times, he needs to focus on scoring and take over as opposed to getting his teammates involved. This team simply does not have the talent to score on a consistent basis, and even though it is Garland’s job to gets others involved, he needs to be more aggressive. Shooting 4-9 in 29 minutes will not get the job done for this offense. Unless the Cavs make a trade before the deadline to get some more offensive fire power, he has to look for his shot more.
· The Cavs need to let Windler loose. Dylan Windler is more than just a shooter, and the Cavs need to see what they have in him as a prospect. Windler should be dipping into Cedi Osman’s minutes, because no matter how good the highs are for Osman, the lows are horrendous. I don’t believe in letting young players play minutes just to get experience if they are hurting the team, but that is not the case with Windler. He has contributed in numerous victories and is more than ready to shoulder more responsibility off the bench.