LAST TIME OUT
The Cleveland Cavaliers (3-6) got walloped in their last time out against the Minnesota Timberwolves, 124-95. Kevin Love buried the Cavaliers in all facets of the game, Ricky Rubio posted 16/16 and one nutmeg between the legs of Jarrett Jack and Corey Brewer got loose from the start for 27 points. It was rough, especially since Cleveland has lost all six road contests. But don’t fear. Cleveland has won all three home contests, where they play Friday against the Charlotte Bobcats.
THIS TIME UP
The Opponent: Charlotte Bobcats
Record: 4-4 (2-2 away)
Tipoff: Nov. 15, 7:30 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena
Where you can watch: Fox Sports Ohio/NBA League Pass
Where you can listen: WTAM 1100
Previous Matchup: 90-84 Cavs loss at Time Warner Cable Arena — Nov. 5
Opponent’s Blog: Roberto Gato
Kyrie Irving Needs to Get Out of Shooting Slump
Irving sure has not started the season like an All-Star. Being listed as day-to-day after taking an elbow to the jaw, Irving will play Friday night at the Q in an attempt to get revenge on the Bobcats for having their way with the Cavaliers last time out. It starts with the offensive play of Irving. The point guard is shooting 38.6 percent from the field despite posting averages of 6.9 assists and 4.2 rebounds. He has rounded off his game, but his shot, especially long two-pointers, has looked the opposite of smooth. He could use an upper at home to get his stroke back.
Break the 100-Point Barrier
In nine chances, the Cavaliers have broken triple digits twice: a 109-104 loss in Milwaukee and an overtime win against the 76ers. This is a major reason why the team currently ranks 27th in the League in points per game. Charlotte, on the other hand, stands at fourth in the league in points allowed per game, making for an unfavorable matchup for the Cavaliers. With how the defense has looked over the past five games and the season-long struggles with fluidity on offense, this team is at, what hopes to be, the low point of their season. No Bynum in this one, so a resurging Al Jefferson will have to be kept down by a combination of Anderson Varejao and Tyler Zeller. The latter spells trouble for Cleveland in keeping Charlotte from breaking triple digits.
Begin to Prove You’re Better Than the Fringe
With Charlotte at 4-4 right now, they sit atop other fringe playoff teams in the Eastern Conference such as the Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons, Washington Wizards and the Cavaliers. This could be a game that boosts Cleveland’s morale and sets them on their way to being above the average in the East. Although this may seem like a long stretch, this could send Cleveland spiraling if they do lose big at home to the ‘Cats. It won’t look good, and fans are already starting to get upset with the lack of improvement despite multiple offseason acquisitions. Impatience is common around here, though.
I can see Cleveland pulling away in the fourth quarter, only because Charlotte is one of two teams that ranks lower than Cleveland in fourth quarter points per game.