After finishing their road trip with a 2-3 record, most recently a tough loss in Minnesota, the Cleveland Cavaliers will attempt to right the ship at home against the banged-up New Orleans Pelicans on Martin Luther King J. Day.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. New Orleans Pelicans
Where: Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse
When: 3:00 pm EST
TV: Bally Sports Ohio, Bally Sports New Orleans
Spread: Cleveland -7.0
Opposing Blog: The Bird Writes
Cavs expected starting lineup: Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Isaac Okoro, Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen
Cavs injury report: Dean Wade (OUT, shoulder), Dylan Windler (OUT, ankle)
Pelicans expected starting lineup: C.J. McCollum, Dyson Daniels, Trey Murphy, Naji Marshall, Jonas Valanciunas
Pelicans injury report: E.J. Liddell (OUT, right knee), Zion Williamson (OUT, hamstring), Herbert Jones (day-to-day, back), Brandon Ingram (OUT, toe)
What to Watch For
The Cavs are one of the best teams in the NBA when it comes to winning games in their home arena, boasting a scorching 18-4 record. New Orleans is a modest 9-12, but that was mostly with their starters healthy and available. Cleveland has a +/- of 8.1 at home versus 0.9 on the road, a higher shooting percentage both from the floor and from deep, and attempts two more free throws per game. Against an injured, yet scrappy Pelicans team the Cavaliers will need to use the home crowd to their advantage.
Cleveland’s bigs have been through it the last few games, starting with Jarrett Allen having the leave early against the Utah Jazz because of an illness (and by illness, both he and Isaac Okoro were throwing up prior to the game) and Evan Mobley took a hard fall against the Wolves while taking a charge. Allen had 19 points and eight rebounds against the Wolves and 24 points and 10 rebounds against the Blazers, so he appears better. Mobley has double-digit points in his last five games and has shot 50% or better in all of those contests. The Pelicans may be without Zion Williamson due to a hamstring injury, but Jonas Valanciunas is coming off a 33 points 16 rebound game against the Pistons. He will command attention in the paint defensively.
No Rest for the Weary
The Cavs are coming off a road trip and played on January 14th against Minnesota. The Pelicans got an extra rest day, having last played on the 13th in Detroit. Considering the travel (or lack thereof for the Pelicans, only being three hours north three days ago), there may be some fatigue on the part of the Cavs. The good news? They are as healthy as they have been in weeks with the return of Ricky Rubio - playing his first game against the Pelicans since tearing his ACL in the Big Easy last season. Interestingly, the Cavs actually play better on one day of rest compared to two days of rest. We will see that scenario in action today.