Where: Cleveland, OH - Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse
When: 6 p.m. EST
TV: Bally Sports Ohio, Bally Sports+, NBA League Pass
Opposing blog: Canis Hoopus
Cavs’ expected starting lineup: Darius Garland / Donovan Mitchell / Caris LeVert / Evan Mobley / Jarrett Allen
Cavs’ injury report: Donovan Mitchell (QUESTIONABLE - right ankle), Jarrett Allen (QUESTIONABLE - left ankle), Dean Wade (QUESTIONABLE - left knee), Ricky Rubio (OUT - ACL), Isaiah Mobley (AVAILABLE - G League Assignment), Mamadi Diakite (AVAILABLE- G League Assignment), Dylan Windler (OUT - right ankle)
T-Wolves’ expected starting lineup: D’Angelo Russell / Anthony Edwards / Jaden McDaniels / Karl-Anthony Towns / Rudy Gobert
T-Wolves’ injury report: Naz Reid (QUESTIONABLE - illness), Josh Minott (OUT - G League Assignment), Wendell Moore Jr. (OUT - G League Assignment)
What to watch for
Darius Garland’s slump. It was a rough road trip for Garland as he averaged 16 points on .333/.259/.833 shooting splits with 8.8 assists and 3.5 turnovers in four games.
Garland is no longer the Cavs’ best player, but he will need to be closer to the guy he was last season for this team to reach its potential. You never want to blame one player for how games turn out, but it’s safe to say the results could’ve been different in the last three games if Garland looks more like the guy we’ve come to expect.
It's been a tough start to the season for Garland as he’s missed six games with an eye injury and has played his last few games under the weather. We’ll see if getting back home will help him break out of this funk.
Minnesota’s bad vibes. Things are not going well in Minnesota as the Wolves have dropped three games in a row and six of their last seven.
The Wolves have been pretty bad this season and are far from the team they were hoping to be after trading for Rudy Gobert. They have the 20th net rating (-1.0), 22nd offense (111.1) and 16th defense (112.1). There’s been an adjustment period for Karl Anthony-Towns and Gobert sharing the floor together which has resulted in the offense scoring a poor 103.8 points per 100 possessions when the duo shares the floor.
The frontcourt battle. We don’t often get to see four seven-footers on the court together like we will in this matchup. The Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns frontcourt hasn’t gotten off to the start they would have wanted, but they are both highly skilled seven-footers in very different ways.
It’ll be interesting to see how Mobley and Allen match up with the two. More specifically, will Mobley try to attack KAT in space offensively? Could we see the return of the Mobley and Allen pick-and-roll? This would seem like a fun time to dust that off.
Donovan Mitchell vs. Rudy Gobert. It’s always interesting to watch two high-level former teammates go at each other for the first time. We get that tonight as Mitchell and Gobert will be on opposite sides after leading many successful Utah Jazz teams to 50-plus wins but never being able to advance out of the second round of the playoffs.
There have been rumblings for years now that there was a rift in Mitchell and Gobert’s relationship, but Mitchell recently told Sam Amick of the Athletic that there isn’t any bad blood between the two:
You know, we gave Utah a lot of special moments. But you know, we didn’t get the job done. Him and I have a great relationship, despite what people may feel. On the court, it didn’t work. I don’t hate Rudy. He doesn’t hate me. It was just one of those things where it just didn’t work out, and I feel like we live in a world where everybody’s gotta hate each other and there’s gotta be some negative thing and that’s just not the case. When I see him on Sunday, I’m gonna give him a hug and smile and laugh. And when we’re on the court, it’s time to go at it. That’s really what it is.
Mitchell has played his best in big games this season. We’ll see if he gives that same sort of treatment to Gobert and his new team tonight.