The Cleveland Cavaliers, with three games left, have to get this one against the lowly Orlando Magic.
HOW TO WATCH
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers (43-36) at Orlando Magic (20-59)
Where: Amway Center — Orlando, Florida
When: 7 p.m. EST
TV: Bally Sports Ohio, Bally Sports App, NBA League Pass
Spread: Cavs -8.5
Opposing blog: Orlando Pinstriped Post
Expected Cavs starting lineup: Darius Garland / Caris LeVert / Isaac Okoro / Lauri Markkanen / Moses Brown
Cavs injury report: Evan Mobley (OUT - left ankle sprain), Dean Wade (OUT- meniscus) Jarrett Allen (OUT - finger), Collin Sexton (OUT - knee)
Expected Magic starting lineup: Markelle Fultz, R.J. Hampton, Ignas Brazdeikis, Chuma Okeke, Mo Bamba
Magic injury report: Cole Anthony (QUESTIONABLE - toe sprain), Bol Bol (OUT - right foot surgery), Wendell Carter Jr. (OUT - left wrist sprain), Jonathan Isaac (OUT - left knee recovery), Jalen Suggs (QUESTIONABLE - left ankle sprain), Admiral Schofield (QUESTIONABLE - left knee contusion)
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
INTO THE FINAL STRETCH. Including Tuesday’s game, the Cavs have three games left in the 2021–22 season. After Orlando, the Cavs go to Brooklyn on Friday and finish at home on Sunday against Milwaukee. This is the easiest game remaining on the schedule by far, as the Magic have draft-related reasons to lose. Lest we forget: The last time these teams played not too long ago, the Magic did some very tank-y minutes management in the fourth quarter.
NO REINFORCEMENTS. As understood now, the Cavs are not getting any positive health updates — meaning no Jarrett Allen return from his broken finger and no Evan Mobley return from his sprained ankle. That, on its own, is a bummer considering how essential they’ve been to Cleveland’s identity this year. But — and perhaps this is a question for J.B. Bickerstaff injected with truth serum — there’s some feeling they can win this game without those two and perhaps get them back for the weekend.
OTHER GAMES TO WATCH. Other games of note for Cleveland on Tuesday: Hawks at Raptors, Hornets at Heat and Bucks at Bulls. The Nets, meanwhile, are off before playing against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday. As of now, Cleveland is the seventh seed and 1.5 games up on Atlanta and 2.5 games up on both Charlotte and Brooklyn. A win would be massive if Cleveland (who is 2.5 games back of sixth-seeded Toronto and almost assuredly a play-in team) can win here and give itself the best chance possible of hosting games during the play-in tournament.