The Cavs will be playing basketball on TV again tonight which is something to celebrate. The available starters are expected to get some action so we should get our first look at the Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell backcourt which is reason enough to watch.
You ultimately can’t take much away from these games. The Cavs opened up last preseason with a lopsided 131-95 loss to the Chicago Bulls. Nothing from that result was indicative of the season to come for the Cavs. You don’t want to put too much stock in what happens here either.
That said, it’s still more fun to talk about actual basketball than theoretical basketball.
Where: Wells Fargo Center - Philadelphia, PA
When: 7:00 p.m. EST
TV: NBA TV, Bally Sports Ohio, Bally Sports+
Opposing blog: Liberty Ballers
Expected Cavs starting lineup: Darius Garland / Donovan Mitchell / Isaac Okoro / Dean Wade / Jarrett Allen
Cavs injury report: Evan Mobley (OUT - right ankle), Dylan Windler (OUT - right ankle)
Expected Sixers starting lineup: Tyrese Maxey / James Harden / Matisse Thybulle / Tobias Harris / Joel Embiid
Sixers injury report: N/A
Three things to watch
The battle for the starting three. The Cavs have a variety of options to start at the small forward spot but no clear-cut solution. The preseason will likely go a long way in determining who gets that position opening night.
There has been high praise for Isaac Okoro, Caris LeVert and Dylan Windler throughout training camp. Each player would bring something different and unique to the starting lineup. Cedi Osman, Dean Wade and Lamar Stevens each have an outside chance to earn the starting nod as well.
We won’t get the answer for who will be the starting small forward on opening night, but we could get a clue for who that person could be.
The 15th roster spot. The Cavs have 14 roster spots all but locked up and have already filled their two two-way player slots. That leaves one spot up for grabs. The Cavs could very well leave that spot open going into the season to give them the maximum flexibility. That said, Mamadi Diakite, Jamorko Pickett, Nate Hinton, Khalifa Diop and Sharfile Cooper will each have a chance to show why they should fill that spot. We’ll see if any of those five can make a statement tonight.
Donovan Mitchell in a Cavs uniform. We hardly ever remember preseason debuts after the regular season starts. That said, there is something exciting about seeing a marquee player in a new uniform for the first time. We’ll get to see that tonight.
This will also be our first look at the Garland and Mitchell pairing. How that pairing meshes offensively and survives defensively will determine how successful this team will be in the short and long-term There will be growing pains along the way as there always is when ball-dominant players are first paired together. We’ll get our first look at possibly how well the duo compliments each other or how much of a struggle the beginning of the season could be.