Jan 24, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Knight (11) and Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Game 80: Cleveland Cavaliers at Milwaukee Bucks Preview


LAST TIME OUT

Cleveland put together one of its most impressive victories of the season against the Pistons on Wednesday, demolishing Detroit 122-100. Not for one second did the Cavaliers stutter against the Pistons, as the onslaught continued throughout all four quarters. Spencer Hawes and Matthew Dellavedova were nailing threes, Dion Waiters was leading the team and magical things were happening because of it. Although the win didn’t provide Cleveland with a glimmer of playoff hope, the team fought hard through and through.

THIS TIME UP

The Opponent: Milwaukee Bucks

Record: 14-64 (9-30 home)

Tipoff: Friday, April 11 at 8:30 p.m. – BMO Harris Bradley Center

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

Where you can listen: WTAM 1100

Previous Matchup: 93-78 Cavaliers win at Quicken Loans Arena – Jan. 24

Opponent’s Blog: Behind the Buck Pass

Injury Report

Bucks: SG O.J. Mayo (OUT, ankle), C Larry Sanders (OUT, suspension)

Cavaliers: PF Anthony Bennett (OUT, patellar strain), SG Carrick Felix (OUT, fractured left patellar), SG C.J. Miles (OUT, ankle)

Play for Pride

Although the Cavaliers are officially eliminated from playoff contention, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t finish off the season with pride. They’ve fought hard over the past four weeks, and there’s no reason to stop now. Taking an opponent like the lowly Bucks lightly and being embarrassed by them would not be a good note to end the season on. At this point you’re not fighting for that much better of a draft pick. Let’s see if the Cavaliers can continue to move up the ladder of the Central Division and stay there.

Can Dion Continue to Lead?

I think the answer is a definitive yes. With or without Kyrie, Waiters has been playing smart basketball. His shot selection has been less wild, he’s putting up points consistently and he’s been able to carry a heavy minute load. I was never a Dion detractor, but I hope those rooting against Waiters have watched him mature over the last month. With his knowledge of play-calling growing by the game, Dion will be in prime position next season to begin the season in the starting five.

Come out with Wednesday’s Energy

If that happens, Milwaukee’s starting unit will be way more overwhelmed than Detroit’s was on Wednesday. Although the Bucks just got done playing Indiana from frame to frame (who hasn’t been lately?), Cleveland now has found the potency needed to get off to a hot start.

Prediction

Cleveland will continue to prove that they are playing for something, and by doing that they’ll come away with a 15-point victory over the Bucks. Although Cleveland’s playoff push came up short, it was still exciting to watch a team from Quicken Loans Arena battle nearly to the end for the postseason.

Tags: Cleveland Cavaliers Dion Waiters