With just three games left in the tumultuous, injury-riddled 2020-21 season, the Cleveland Cavaliers (21-48) will suit up tonight at home against the Boston Celtics (35-34; 7th in the East). Fighting for playoff seeding, Boston will likely be hitting on all cylinders tonight as they work to guarantee themselves a spot in the wildly developing play-in tournament. Things, however, will not come easy for the Celtics as they were handed a devastating blow with the season-ending wrist injury of Jaylen Brown on Monday, who was averaging career-highs in shooting this season. Coming off a tough loss last night against the Miami Heat, the Celtics have now lost three straight.
Cleveland will be working on increasing their odds tonight as they cruise to the NBA Draft Lottery on June 22. The team is currently tied with the Orlando Magic with the 4th-worst record in the league. A win tonight for the home team is doubtful — which hey, that’s fine. According to Tankathon.com, Cleveland currently has a 52% chance of picking in the top 5.
How to watch
Tipoff is at 8 p.m. Tune in on Bally Sports Ohio or NBA League Pass.
Cavaliers: Collin Sexton / Damyean Dotson / Isaac Okoro / Dean Wade / Jarrett Allen
Celtics: Kemba Walker / Marcus Smart / Jayson Tatum / Evan Fournier / Tristan Thompson
The Cavs are better with Kevin Love on the bench. I am not talking about what Love ‘could’ bring to the Cavs, I am talking about what Love ‘actually does’ bring to the Cavs — a ton of missed shots, reluctance to get down the floor, a childish attitude and poor defensive rotations. On Monday, Dean Wade drew the start for the Cavs and contributed a refreshing 19 points, 12 rebounds and 2 assists on 6-for-13 shooting. Wade looked better. Wade felt better. Wade was better. What does that mean for the Cavs pending off-season? Here’s hoping for a buy-out, but my friends at FtS tell me that’s going to be difficult.
The Rise of Issac Okoro
There are still a few lots left on Okoro Island, but they are filling up fast. When it comes to the Cavs, few things are brighter than the promise and poise exuding from Mr. Issac Okoro. You want him to guard the best player on the floor night-in and night-out? Done. You want him to cut and slash to the rim? Fine. How about 43 minutes on a meaningless back-to-back? I’ll drop a Double-Double. It’s no question 2020’s No. 5 pick has delivered in his first season in the NBA — if there is reason to tune in later, it’s to watch Okoro continue to flourish and shut down Kemba Walker.
Right where they thought we’d be
The Cavs have won 21 games this season — exactly where several sports outlets and Vegas oddsmakers pegged them before the season began. Cavs lack many things, but depth, long-range shooting and health rank highest on the list. A loss tonight could help Cleveland boost their lottery odds, and perhaps work as a starting point to shape their crucial off-season.