Coming off of a tough loss to the Golden State Warriors, the Cavaliers play the Phoenix Suns on Friday at the US Airways Center in downtown Phoenix. Currently in the middle of a six game road trip, the Cavaliers are 1-2 thus far on the trip. To make matters worst, their three best players (Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Anderson Varejao) are all nursing injuries. For Cavalier fans in Ohio, the game is available on TV on FSN Ohio at 9pm ET and on WTAM 1100 for radio listeners. Pre game coverage begins at 8:30 on FSN.
As inconsistent as the Cavaliers have been this season, a game against Phoenix is a winnable game. With Steve Nash now a Los Angeles Laker, they no longer have any star players on the roster. But with the injuries to the Cavaliers three top stars, this game could a tough one for Cleveland to win.
The good news is that Irving is probable for the game, even though he did not practice on Thursday. Varejao, who missed the game against Golden State, did practice and also is listed as probable. Waiters, who at times has been the Cavaliers best scorer thus far this season, did not practice and is listed as questionable with a quad injury. I’m expecting both Irving and Varejao to play, but I’m concerned that Waiters will not. If Waiters does indeed not play, then expect Daniel “Boobie” Gibson or C.J. Miles to take his place.
The Suns are 2-3 thus far this season, with wins coming against bottom feeders Detroit and Charlotte. In their five games, they have had five different leading scorers. On a whole, Luis Scola is their leading scorer with 15.2 points per game. The most formidable part of their team is the frontcourt combo of Scola and Marcin Gortat, who is averaging a team-high 11.8 rebounds per game. The battle up front between Varejao (if he plays)/Tristan Thompson and Scola/Gortat should be a fun one to watch.
For me, the Cavaliers clear advantage is at point guard. Whether it is Shannon Brown or Kendall Marshall at the one, Kyrie Irving should be able to score at will and control the pace of the game. Currently averaging 24.6 points, Irving appearing to be in the beginning of a breakout season. If he plays, along with Varejao, then I see the Cavaliers getting back on track with a convincing win in Phoenix.
- Cavaliers Leading Scorer – Kyrie Irving, 24.6 points per game
- Suns Leading Scorer – Luis Scola, 15.2 points per game
- Cavaliers Leading Rebounding – Anderson Varejao, 15.0 rebounds per game
- Suns Leading Rebounder – Marcin Gortat, 11.8 rebounds per game
- Cavaliers shooting percentage – 43.7 percent
- Suns shooting percentage – 42.6 percent
- Cavaliers three point shooting – 39.3 percent
- Suns shooting percentage – 30.3 percent
- Cavs free throws attempted per game – 24.2 (make 61.2 percent)
- Suns free throws attempted per game – 22.2 (make 71.2 percent)