HOW TO WATCH
Where: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse — Cleveland, Ohio
When: 7 p.m. EST
TV: Bally Sports Ohio, Bally Sports App, NBA League Pass
Spread: Cavs -5
Opposing blog: Clips Nation
Expected Cavs starting lineup: Darius Garland / Isaac Okoro / Dean Wade / Kevin Love / Evan Mobley
Cavs injury report: Caris LeVert (QUESTIONABLE - right foot sprain), Lauri Markkanen (QUESTIONABLE - right ankle soreness), Dean Wade (QUESTIONABLE - right knee soreness) Rajon Rondo (DOUBTFUL - right ankle sprain), Jarrett Allen (OUT - finger), Collin Sexton (OUT - knee)
Expected Clippers starting lineup: Reggie Jackson / Amir Coffey / Nicolas Batum / Marcus Morris Sr. / Ivica Zubac
Clippers injury report: Robert Covington (OUT - personal), Paul George (OUT - right elbow), Kawhi Leonard (OUT - right knee), Norman Powell (OUT - left foot), Jason Preston (OUT - right foot), Jay Scrubb (OUT - right foot)
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
THE CAVS SENSE OF URGENCY. Cleveland’s spot within the top six of the Eastern Conference was a lot more sure a week ago. Since their loss to the Cavs last week, the Toronto Raptors have rattled off wins against the San Antonio Spurs, Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets. All of which have been on the road. The three-game lead the Cavs enjoyed after their win last Sunday has shrunk to just one.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Cavs respond to this. The Clippers are playing their last game in a three-game Eastern Conference road trip. They won yesterday afternoon in Detroit but could have tired legs after playing in three separate cities in the span of four days. We’ll see if the Cavs can come out with a sense of urgency and take advantage of a tired Clippers team.
DARIUS GARLAND AGAINST THE CLIPPERS’ LENGTH. Garland is in the midst of one of his best stretches as a professional. He is averaging 27.8 points and 8.7 assists with a 56 effective field goal percentage in his last nine games.
The Clippers have stayed competitive this year thanks to their 7th ranked defense (108.6 defensive rating). Their defense is predicated on having length at every position and being able to switch interchangeably one through four.
Los Angeles will likely use their length and switchability to trap Garland coming off screens and force the ball out of his hands. We’ll see if Garland will be able to keep up this level of play against another good defense.
THE CAVS BENCH. The bench was not able to provide much offensively during the recent three-game road trip. They averaged a combined 27 points on 41.9% shooting from the field and 20% shooting from three. For comparison, the bench is averaging 35.3 points per game on 40.9% shooting from the field and 35.4% from deep on the season.
The injuries are taking a toll on this team which is seen most in the play of the bench. Cedi Osman and Kevin Love haven’t been the best versions of themselves offensively the last three games. We’ll see if the bench can turn it around tonight.