Game-to-game, it’s been difficult to know what to expect from the Cleveland Cavaliers at the beginning of this new campaign. Cleveland is 3-5 early on in the 2023-24 season, and last week, the Cavaliers were able to notch two quality wins at the New York Knicks and then versus the Golden State Warriors.
Unfortunately, less than stellar starts have been part of the problem for the Cavaliers, such as in their loss in the first game of the NBA In-Season Tournament at the Indiana Pacers and on Wednesday night at the Oklahoma City Thunder. Injuries didn’t help earlier, but as the Cavs are getting healthier, they should be able to clean some things up from here, one would have to imagine.
As the Cavaliers try to rebound and start stacking some Ws on their Western road trip, they’ll face the Warriors once again on Saturday night, with this time at the Chase Center. Cleveland notched their first regular season win over Golden State since Dec. 25 of 2016 this past Sunday night, which was a game where the Cavs were dominant in the paint, which should be a sizeable part of their game plan once again.
Before getting into the matchup, let’s examine the injury outlook for this one before touching on the TV info. For now, it’s uncertain whether Isaac Okoro will be involved, which is something to keep in mind.
Cavaliers injuries: Ty Jerome (out, ankle); Isaac Okoro (out, knee); Ricky Rubio (out, personal); Sam Merrill (out, illness); Isaiah Mobley (out, G League – Two-Way).
Warriors injuries: N/A.
This Cavs-Dubs contest will be available on Bally Sports Ohio and NBC Sports Bay Area, for those subscribed in respective markets, and it should have plenty of national draw with the game on NBA TV. In terms of streaming options, NBA League Pass and Fubo will have this one.
In this matchup, it’s imperative the Cavaliers are not again careless with the basketball, as turnovers have been an issue for them, even more so in the past handful of games.
It hasn’t all been on him, and the Cavs working guys back into the fold has had plenty to do with it, including him in that sense, but Darius Garland has to put a lid on some of those. Garland made a ton of things happen in Cleveland’s last win over the Warriors on Sunday, however, he has had 18 turnovers in the three games since his return from injury, and he had eight of those in the loss to OKC.
That said, with how he was able to get downhill consistently in the last game against the Warriors, and with how the Cavaliers dominated the paint, if they can just make quick, sensible decisions, they do match up pretty well with Golden State. Rim pressure, and then ball movement off that is crucial, and for now, it seems the Cavs should be able to do execute in those areas, with Donovan Mitchell involved, too.
Defensively, it’s never a simple task to be disciplined as a team going against the Warriors, Stephen Curry’s otherworldly abilities and their ball and man movement from Klay Thompson and others. Not having Isaac Okoro for Cleveland isn’t ideal, either.
Having said that, Golden State is not loaded with drivers, and if the Cavaliers use physicality, can consistently set their defense and have a clear advantage on the boards, there’s reason to believe they can come out on top again here.
It’s not an easy task to win on the road at Golden State, but with a Cavs team that does actually match up well with them, they should fare well here, and try to get on the right track in getting some things cleaned up.
In addition, this is the first leg of a back-to-back for the Dubs, and they’re coming off a four-game road trip. So, those could be things to also factor in here.
Prediction: Cavs 111, Warriors 107
Following this second matchup with the Warriors in less than a week, the Cavaliers will have the third game of their current four-game Western road trip as they’ll face the Sacramento Kings on Monday night. After that one, Cleveland will conclude this roadie on Wednesday night at the Portland Trail Blazers.
Then, next Friday night, the Cavs will have their second game of NBA In-Season Tournament Group Play as they take on the Detroit Pistons. Cleveland lost their first game of group play in the tourney on Nov. 3 at the Indiana Pacers.