Where: Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse
When: 7:00 p.m.
TV: Bally Sports Ohio, NBA League Pass, Bally Sports App
Spread: Cavs -7.5
Opposing blog: The Bird Writes
Expected Cavs starting lineup: Darius Garland / Isaac Okoro / Dean Wade / Evan Mobley / Jarrett Allen
Cavs injury report: Darius Garland (QUESTIONABLE - low back soreness), Lauri Markkanen (OUT - right ankle sprain), Ricky Rubio (OUT - ACL), Collin Sexton (OUT - meniscus), RJ Nembhard Jr. (OUT - G League)
Expected Pelicans starting lineup: Devonte Graham / Josh Hart / Garrett Temple / Herb Jones / Willy Hernangómez
Pelicans injury report: Brandon Ingram (QUESTIONABLE - right ankle sprain), Josh Hart (QUESTIONABLE - left knee contusion), Jonas Valanciunas (QUESTIONABLE - illness), Kira Lewis Jr. (OUT - MCL sprain), Didi Louzada - (OUT - health and safety), Zion Williamson (OUT - right foot fracture)
Three Things to Watch
Tired legs. Tonight’s game will be the 10th time this season the Cavs are playing the second night of a back-to-back. They are 5-4 while posting a 105.6 offensive rating and -0.4 net rating in previous back-to-backs. The offensive struggle is seen best in their shooting numbers as they’re shooting just 30.3% from deep as a team on 35.6 attempts a game.
It doesn’t help that Garland hasn’t been the best version of himself on the second night of a back-to-back as he’s shooting 43.6% from the field and 23.9% from three in those games. This is understandable considering how much the Cavs rely on him as the initiator of the offense. But whenever he struggles to this degree the offense as a whole likely will as well.
It’s tough to win on the second night of a back-to-back. The Cavs have more than held their own this season in those games despite their poor offensive numbers. We’ll see if they’re able to get a better offensive performance tonight against what could be a depleted front court.
The Cavs vs. bad teams. The Cavs are currently 8-2 against the bottom 7 teams in the NBA standings. Their two losses have come against the Pelicans earlier this season and against the Detroit Pistons last night.
The Cavs are where they are in the standings partially because of their ability to not play down to bad teams. The Pelicans are a bad team that is on a three game losing streak and could be without three of their top four scorers. These are the type of games the Cavs have taken advantage of for most of the season excluding yesterday.
How the Cavs respond. Sunday’s loss to the Pistons was easily the worst loss of the season given their impressive win the previous game against the Milwaukee Bucks. The Cavs were flat on the defensive end for most of the night in Detroit and it came back to bite them in the end as the offense wasn’t able to bail them out.
Garland wasn’t pleased with the effort after their loss to Detroit saying, “I hope everybody woke up. I hope it lit something under their butt. I know there are more games but that was unacceptable tonight.”
We’ll see if everyone woke up tonight.