Much like the cliché that is Spring in Northeast Ohio, the Cavs have been all over the board this April — they’ve been hot, they’ve been cold, they’ve been pleasant and they’ve been depressing. The team appears to have strong-rooted, young-buds — and we’ve seen them blossom, but we still find ourselves wondering if they can actually thrive within this current construct.
Which season will the Cleveland Cavaliers (21-38) take with them to D.C. tonight as they battle the Washington Wizards (26-33)? Washington is heading into tonight’s match-up on a 7-game hot streak (winning 9 of their last 10), so it’s not looking so sunny in terms of a W for Cleveland. For the Cavs, now’s the time to discover, arrange and focus on the things worth cultivating.
How to watch:
Tip-off is at 7 p.m. — tune in on Bally Sports Ohio or NBA League Pass.
Cavaliers: Darius Garland / Matthew Dellavedova / Isaac Okoro / Kevin Love / Jarrett Allen
Wizards: Russell Westbrook / Bradley Beal / Raul Neto / Isaac Bonga / Alex Len
Things to look for:
Forward Flow. Coming off a woeful loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday, it’s apparent that the Cavs have a glaring problem at the Power Forward position. The combo — comprised of Love, Nance and Wade — contributed just 19 points in the loss on a ghastly 6-of-20 shooting. There was a moment where things could have turned around, but the ball just didn’t fall into the basket, badly killing the flow. If the Cavs come out with a win tonight, it will be on the backs of this trio who must work to take (and make) timely buckets in transition. Depending on where the team falls in the draft, the Cavs would be wise to seek out a young forward who demonstrates promise on the offensive end of the floor.
A Time for Wins, and a Time for Reps. The Cavs’ blooming backcourt of Darius Garland and Collin Sexton combined for 55 points on Friday. The team’s offense works best when Garland operates in the half court as a distributor, so expect more of that play tonight. With just 13 more games left to go this season, Sexland should work to develop an offense that opens up more opportunity from the perimeter. We saw flashes of this Friday, but the offensive talent beyond the two young guards is simply nonexistant. Now that we’ve entered into ‘let’s-just-get-in-some-solid-reps’ part of the season, it will be key that Sexland learn how to best utilize their strengths, and uncover their most workable on-ball/off-ball tandem. Tonight will prove difficult as Collin Sexton is sidelined with a concussion, but injuries have been the soundtrack of the season.
Wearing down Westbrook. Russell Westbrook put up his 28th triple-double (37 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists) on Friday against the Thunder. It will be interesting to see Cavs’ rookie Isaac Okoro take on this almost-impossible defensive assignment. He will certainly have his hands full, but the matchup will only work to assist in his growth — which should be the focal point for this team as the 2020-21 season winds down.