The Cleveland Cavaliers suffered a heartbreaking lose to the Kings on Saturday, due to a Harrison Barnes three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Kings the victory. Monday’s game in Utah will be much tougher, considering the Jazz post the best record in the NBA. Tipoff will be at 9 p.m.
To make matters worse, the Cavs are awful on the road, and they are extremely undermanned. Hopefully the young core can step up to the challenge and show that they are capable of competing with the best of the best.
How to watch:
Tipoff is at 9 p.m. on Fox Sports Ohio, Fox Sports Go and NBA League Pass
Jarret Allen is currently listed as day-to-day after suffering from a concussion. The Cavs do not rush players back from injury, so odds are Allen will sit this one, as he works his way back to 100%. If Allen is in fact out, that is a major disadvantage for the Cavs, because Larry Nance Jr. will be forced to play center. After the Andre Drummond buyout and the JaVale McGee trade, the Cavs are extremely thin at center at the moment.
Isaiah Hartenstein, who the Cavs received in the McGee trade, will make his debut for the Cavs. But the young center may be on a minutes restriction until he gets fully acclimated to the system. This leads to Nance playing out of position again, and going up against Rudy Gobert who is much bigger than. Gobert is not much of an offensive threat, but this could lead to a huge rebounding disadvantage for the Cavs in terms of isolation or post-ups. On the other hand, Nance is a capable three-point shooter, which could bring Gobert out of the paint more than he is accustomed to, and negate his shot-blocking abilities to a certain extent.
Kevin Love, Taurean Prince and Matthew Dellavedova still remain out, as they work their way back from injury. This led to some interesting decisions from head coach, J.B. Bickerstaff last game, who elected to start Brodric Thomas, while he decided not to play Cedi Osman, Quinn Cook or Dylan Windler. Maybe he liked the matchups more against the Kings, but it will be intriguing to see who gets minutes against the Jazz.
Cavs: Darius Garland / Collin Sexton / Brodric Thomas / Isaac Okoro / Larry Nance Jr.
Jazz: Donovan Mitchell / Joe Ingles / Bojan Bogdanovic / Royce O’Neale / Rudy Gobert
Things to watch for:
· More Dean Wade and Lamar Stevens. Cedi Osman has had an inconsistent season to say the least, which is why Bickerstaff decided not to play him against the Kings. Osman is a defensive liability and if his three-pointers are not falling, he truly hurts the team. Meanwhile, Wade and Stevens provide more of a spark of the bench and are much better defenders than Osman. Considering Osman was on the trade block, it would behoove the Cavs to see what they have in Wade and Stevens in place of Osman. They both have had some stellar games thus far, and they need to find out for certain if they can be rotational players to go along with the young core.
· Sexton has to dominate for the Cavs to stand a chance. Sexton is far and away the most talented scorer on the team, and when he has on off game, the Cavs lose. It’s as simple as that. Garland needs to perform well too, but Sexton has to essentially drop around 30 points efficiently for the Cavs to truly compete in this game. In the Cavs last six wins, Sexton averages 30.6 points per game, 51.4% from the field and 45.7% from three-point range. He will have to perform even better than that on Monday, because of how awful the Cavs are on the road, and they will be taking on the 34-11 Utah Jazz, who are 19-2 at home.