LAST TIME OUT
The Cleveland Cavaliers just plain sucked Friday night. Basically, the Wine & Gold decided to lie on their backs after a few extremely rough possessions to start the game. With 3:10 left in the first quarter, Cleveland was already down by 15 (19-4), all while shooting 7.7 percent from the field in the span of the first nine minutes of the game. Trailing 28-10 after the first quarter of play, Cleveland continued to get embarrassed by the Cs all night long, blowing out the Cavs by a final score of 103-86.
THIS TIME UP
The Opponent: Chicago Bulls
Record: 7-7 (2-7 away)
Tipoff: Nov. 30, 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: 96-81 loss at the United Center – Nov. 11
Opponent’s Blog: Pippen Ain’t Easy
Why the Crappy, Ineffective Offensive Sets Early On?
This is frustrating as all hell. If head coach Mike Brown isn’t realizing by now that even though his team held Miami to under 100 points on Wednesday night (moral victory!!!), this club is absolutely not going to win games scoring south of 85 points a night. It’s just not going to happen, not matter how good of defense you play. That’s why I’m frustrated with how Brown has been using his starting lineups. I know we’ve talked about Dion Waiters’ niche role on the bench, but for God’s sake Matthew Dellavedova—bless his defensive-minded soul—is just getting this offense nowhere. It’s not like Dion is doing much better with helping the fluidity of the offense, but at least he is scoring at a pretty decent rate as of late. That’s what I want to see to start off the game. Yes, the small forward situation is unfortunate for this struggling offense right now, but how much longer do I have to dread looking at Twitter every night to see if Delly gets the nod at SG? It can’t, and should be, that much longer.
The Curious Case of Tristan Thompson
Tristan has gotten way more physical in his style of play (he draws 5.1 fouls per game and grabs 3.9 more boards per game than his power forward counterparts), and I absolutely love it. How can you not? He seems to be the only player making this team better when he’s on the court, and that’s for almost 70 percent of games thus far. The offense averages nearly five more points per 100 possessions when he’s on the court, according to 82games.com. And although the defense surrenders 103.8 points per 100 possessions, when Tristan is in the game this team gives up a horrid 110.1 points per 100 possessions. I know it’s a problem that there really are no other power forwards on this team who can contribute at a healthy rate right now, but props to Tristan for fighting as hard as he can despite still having to go up against guys who present mismatch mayhem for the third-year player.
How Many Points Will Cleveland Surrender in the Paint Tonight?
The answer is this: A LOT. I asked someone on Twitter for jokes, and they guessed 43. Sounds about right. With Derrick Rose out for the season, this team will still be able to feast on the Cavs by feeding the ball to Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer down low. Cleveland’s offense will need a miracle if they want to keep up with the destructiveness that will ensue down low when the Cavs are on D. Cleveland ranks last in points in the paint per game (33.5), but Chicago’s D happens to rank second-to-last in opponent’s three-point percentage, allowing opponents to shoot at a clip of 38.8 percent. Without small forwards Earl Clark and C.J. Miles in the lineup tonight, Dion, Kyrie Irving and Jarrett Jack will have to take smart outside shots instead of the long two-pointers that have been happening way too often.
Bulls: SG Jimmy Butler – OUT with a toe injury, PG Derrick Rose – OUT for the season with a torn medial meniscus
Cavaliers: SF Earl Clark – OUT with an illness, SG C.J. Miles – UNLIKELY with a calf injury
The Cavaliers will lose again, and I can’t see things getting better anytime soon despite Chicago’s slowly unraveling season. If I were to pick a score, I would say that Cleveland barely scores over 85 and the Cavs lose, 97-87.