LAST TIME OUT
The Cavaliers lost 89–82 on Saturday at the Brooklyn Nets. Again without Kyrie Irving, the Cavs shot terribly against a less than stellar Brooklyn defense, scoring just 17 points in two quarters. Dion Waiters played a terrific game, scoring 26 points on 9 of 18 shooting in just 28 minutes. Matthew Dellavedova also continued to surprise, putting together another decent game, scoring 13 points (4 of 4 3FG). Aside from those two, the shooting was a disaster, particularly Jarrett Jack, who scored just 2 points on 1 of 8 shooting in 38 minutes.
THIS TIME UP
The Opponent: Indiana Pacers
Record: 26–6 (10–5 away)
Tipoff: January 5th at 6:00 p.m. – Quicken Loans Arena
Where you can watch: Fox Sports Ohio / NBA League Pass
Where you can listen: WTAM 1100
Previous Matchup: 91–76 Cavaliers loss at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse – December 31st 2013
Opponent’s Blog: Always Miller Time
Cavaliers: PG Kyrie Irving (GAME-TIME DECISION, knee)
Prepare For a Battle With or Without Irving
It’s uncertain if Kyrie Irving will play tonight, but whether he does or not, the Cavs are going to have a tall task ahead of them to score enough points against the team allowing the fewest points per game in the NBA (88.9), especially with the Cavs recent struggles on offense. With or without Irving, the Cavs need to be ready to take smart shots and work to get open looks against this stout defense, and need to get contributions from all the guys up and down the roster if they want to have a chance against the kings of the East.
Continued Elevated Level of Play From Dion Waiters
For all the controversy surrounding Dion Waiters this season, he has, at least recently, been the most consistent scoring option for the Cavs. Although recently his shooting percentage has not been high, his shot selection has improved, and thus he has become much more efficient as a scorer. With the struggles from the rest of the roster, he should continue to be aggressive in looking for opportunities to score, and in developing himself as a consistent second scoring option on this team.
Whether with or without Kyrie Irving, I can’t see the Cavs having much of a chance against the cream of the crop in the East. I don’t see the Cavs having an answer for Paul George, who still scored 21 points even on a poor shooting night in their last meeting. The offensive deficiencies shown by the Cavs recently, compounded by the fact that they are going up against one of the best defenses in the NBA, could make this a very ugly game to watch. If without Irving, even 80 points may be a stretch.