Mar 1, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Tristan Thompson (13) looks to the basket while defended by Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) in the third quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Game 20: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Los Angeles Clippers Preview

LAST TIME OUT

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ (6‐13) effort sucked. Kyrie Irving sucked. Basically anyone not named Dion Waiters put up a punchless fight against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night, losing by a score of 108‐89. Finding consistency has been an ongoing problem for the Wine & Gold in the early going of the 2013‐14 season, and last night was a perfect sample of that being best displayed.

THIS TIME UP

The Opponent: Los Angeles Clippers

Record: 13‐7, 5‐5 away

Tipoff: Dec. 7, 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: 105‐89 Cavaliers loss at Quicken Loans Arena ‐ March 1

Opponent’s Blog: Fully Clips

Injury Report

Clippers: None

Cavaliers: None

Can Things Get Worse For Kyrie?

Until last night I didn’t think it was possible for Kyrie Irving to be held scoreless in an NBA as a starter, but it happened. Irving’s first quarter shooting woes continued, as the Cavaliers point guard went 0 of 9 from the field, missing seven of those shots in the first quarter. Going up against Chris Paul tonight, one of the most explosive and effective point guards on offense and one of the stingiest on defense, might mean that Kyrie may reach a new low tonight following his horrendous performance against the Hawks. I remember a time when I used to get excited about Kyrie going up against the elite point guards in the NBA, but now I dread them because he has proven, at least this year and on defense, that he isn’t ready to compete at a super star level consistently. That’s a major issue for our best player.

Tristan Thompson Versus Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin’s game has evolved tremendously this season, and he’s just going to keep getting better. His offensive game, much like Anderson Varejao’s, has stretched out to the elbows and the corners, and this is making the teammates around him better. He’s averaging 3.1 assists and 1.1 steals per game, looking to prove his detractors wrong that he’s a one‐dimensional player. Thompson, much like Griffin, has been through the same scrutiny, but has also done an incredible job with evolving his game from the past season to now. This will be a good matchup to see how Thompson deals with guarding an extremely gifted and athletic big, however, I don’t think he’s ready yet to take on a guy like Blake with much success.

Can We Learn Something From The Hawks Game?

Wednesday night the Clippers fell to the Hawks in Atlanta, 107‐97, following the team airing their frustrations with the lack of defensive effort. Paul was of course leading the charge, and he believes that this team is far removed from finding a tough‐edged identity. The Clippers indeed do have the right parts to be a defense‐first team, but so far they have surrendered 100 points per game and have allowed teams to shoot over 34 percent from the arc. Los Angeles will be heading into Cleveland for their third game of a seven‐game road trip, so this team is definitely vulnerable at this point with all the issues they have been having. It’s up to the Cavs to take advantage of this situation and expose the Clips on the perimeter where they have been faltering this season. Waiters did question the effort of the Cavs Friday night, so maybe this will serve as a turning point as well for the Wine & Gold.

Prediction

There’s too much star power on Los Angeles, and Doc Rivers is familiar with this team despite making the switch to the Western Conference. The Clips will jump out early on the Cavs, and the Wine & Gold will take another double‐digit drubbing by a formidable opponent.

Tags: Cleveland Cavaliers Kyrie Irving Tristan Thompson