Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
Time: 5:00 PM (local)
TV: Fox Sports Net Arizona
Radio: Arizona Sports 98.7FM / KSUN 1400AM (ES)
35 points. That’s how bad the Cavaliers lost to the Golden State Warriors on Monday night in one of the league’s most highly anticipated national TV games of the regular season.
When was the last time the Cavs lost by even close to that much? Oh, it was last year. In January, to the Warriors, by 34 points. And we all know who came out on top in the playoffs.
The point is, with as much as the Cavs are struggling right now (they’re just 4-4 in January), they likely see the Suns as a welcome opportunity to get their chemistry back in order and serve a beat down that will boost morale.
If the Suns play like they did against Cleveland a couple of weeks ago, that shouldn’t be such an easy task.
The Suns’ mere four-point loss to Cleveland on January 8th was one of the team’s best performances of an otherwise bleak season. The second half was particularly fascinating, as Phoenix outscored its opponent 63-51 in the second half to storm back into the game. They were phenomenal when it came to forcing turnovers and scoring in the fast break, as Cleveland posted just 15 assists to 20 turnovers. Recall that Booker and Bledsoe combined for 59 points, and a similar performance would be needed out of those two to win on the road tonight. Booker and Bledsoe are averaging a combined 49.7 PPG in January, second in the NBA only to the Raptors’ backcourt of Lowry and DeRozan (yes, that means they’re ahead of Curry/Thompson).
The biggest news for tonight is that Kevin Love is questionable with a sore back. If he doesn’t play, the Cavs could opt to go small by giving Kyle Korver his first start in Love’s place.
Cavs: Kevin Love (Questionable), J.R. Smith (OUT), Chris Andersen (OUT)
Suns: Brandon Knight (Questionable), Jared Dudley (Probable), Tyson Chandler (Probable)
Even if the Cavs find themselves Loveless, I imagine that LeBron James will respond to the loss to Golden State by coming out more determined and even more dominant than we saw him a couple of weeks ago. I’d like to think that the Suns will do better than Cavs fans expect and at times make this an exciting game, but I just can’t expect a win here.
Cavs win, 111-98.