Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Game 38: Cleveland Cavaliers at Los Angeles Lakers Preview


LAST TIME OUT

A 113-102 win over the Jazz for the Cavs on Friday. I certainly don’t remember any 124-80 loss to the Kings from Sunday. Nope. No sir. Kyrie had 25 points, six rebounds, and eight assists against the Jazz, not seven points on 3-14 shooting, and the Cavs had four guys score at least 17 points, and were certainly not led by 14 points from C.J. Miles while Isaiah Thomas had 26 points. The Cavs scored 39 points in the third quarter to seal a victory, not 11 to seal a horrifying loss.This box score is a lie, is what I’m saying (It’s not, and holy crap the Cavs really lost by 44 to the freaking Kings).

THIS TIME UP

The Opponent: Los Angeles Lakers

Record: 14-23 (8-10 home)

Tipoff: January 14th at 10:30 p.m. – Staples Center

Tickets: Cavaliers @ Lakers tickets

Where you can watch: Fox Sports Ohio/NBA League Pass

Where you can listen: WTAM 1100

First Meeting Between the Teams this Season

Opponent’s Blog: Lake Show Life

Injury Report

Lakers: F Xavier Henry (OUT, knee), C Pau Gasol (QUESTIONABLE, Foot), G Steve Blake (OUT, elbow), G Kobe Bryant (OUT, knee), G Steve Nash (OUT, back), G Jordan Farmar (OUT, hamstring)

Cavaliers: None

*Cue Ambulance Sirens*

That was from the Lakers’ Friday night loss to the Clippers, and currently that’s an accurate way to describe the 2013-2014 Lakers. Currently they’re on their fifth starting point guard of the season, as Steve Nash, Jordan Farmar, Steve Blake, Jodie Meeks, and now Kendall Marshall have all rotated into the lineup for the Lakers, with the first three all out for the foreseeable future with various injuries. Pau Gasol hurt his left big toe in the Clippers game and is questionable, and Xavier Henry and Kobe are also out for a few more weeks. Only Nick Young, Jodie Meeks, and Jordan Hill have played all 37 games for the Lakers, and Hill looked terrible for the first 10 or so games of the season as he came back from missing most of LAST season due to hip surgery. Meanwhile, the Cavs are injury free, and the deeper team by virtue of having more than eight healthy players currently under contract. There’s an AED behind the team bench, L.A. Feel free to use it as needed, which is a realistic possibility if things keep going at this rate.

Blowout vs. Blowout

Both of these teams are coming off their worst blowout losses of the season, and possibly the two worst blowouts of the NBA season as a whole. The Cavs really did lose by 44 to the Kings on Friday, a horrifying thought that I’m still not convinced actually happened. However, as bad as that is, they actually scored double-digits in every quarter, unlike SOME PEOPLE.

The top three lowlights from each game, first for the Cavs:

1. Kyrie was a -29 in +/- for the game. Jarrett Jack was barely better, coming in at a -28.

2. Jason Thompson had more rebounds than Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson, and Luol Deng combined.

3. The Cavs’ eFG% in the third quarter? 14.3 percent. That’ll happen when you hit three shots in a quarter.

For the Lakers, however:

1. Kyrie’s -29 in +/- is bad, but I’m not sure there’s ever been a bigger swing in this stat than the one between Blake Griffin (+45) and Jodie Meeks (-43) on Friday.

2. The Lakers had 13 shots blocked in the first three quarters. 13.

3. The Clippers scored 37 points off 21 Lakers turnovers, one less point than the Lakers had points in the paint (38).

Let’s agree to never talk about these games again, Lakers fans.

Defense, Anyone?

After giving up 124 points on Sunday, the Cavs almost by default will play better defensively tonight. This will be helped, however, by the style of offense the Lakers run, which is much more conducive to defensive success for the Cavs than the Kings’ pick-and-roll-heavy offense. The Lakers run a decent amount of pick-and-rolls, but they aren’t great at converting them, and they will really struggle with Kendall Marshall facilitating the PNR. This takes pressure off of the Kyrie/Varejao defensive tandem that usually gets shredded in this set. The Lakers also use a ton of isolation, which the Cavs’ are pretty good at defending. Combine this will the fact that Nick Young and Jodie Meeks might be the Lakers’ best offensive players tonight, and the difference between the Kings’ offense and the Lakers’ offense might give the Cavaliers whiplash in terms of ease of defense.

Prediction

The Lakers have lost 10 of 11, their only win coming over the Jazz in that stretch. The Cavs meanwhile, Sunday’s trainwreck notwithstanding, actually played pretty well against the 76ers and Jazz last week, and should have a stronger showing tonight. I expect Kyrie to have a huge game against Marshall, and the Cavs’ wings should shoot better than they did against Sacramento. If the Cavs can stop Nick Young from going Swagtime on them, I think this should be a blowout win for Cleveland.

Tags: Anderson Varejao Cleveland Cavaliers Kyrie Irving Tristan Thompson