No. 3: 48-minute effort level
The whole game effort level might be tied to the bench rotation question. If Coach Bickerstaff can get his rotation right and get in guys that keep the intensity level high, the Cavs will have a sucessful road trip.
I joked last week that the Cavaliers should treat each game like they were trying to qualify for the knockout stages of the In-Season Tournament. In theory, that would prevent lackluster losses to teams like the Blazers. In practicality, players and teams do not have unlimited energy and the win against the Hawks might have possibly overextended the Cavs.
The 82-game season is a marathon, not a sprint, but every 48 minutes requires a high level of energy, focus, and discipline especially against playoff aspiring opponents. Again, if Bickerstaff can find the right balance of minutes for players, we might be looking at a successful road trip.
No. 4: How the Cavs matchup against top teams
These next 4 matchups are against teams ahead of the Cavs in the standings. So far, the Cavaliers are 4-8 against teams that have above .500 records. Moreover, the last time they matched up against the Heat, they lost 129-96.
They also get a chance to continue their dominance over the Magic on Monday. Then, the next night the Cavs play Boston on Tuesday. The Wine and Gold will be staying in their hotels for a couple more nights because they are staying in Boston to take them on again on Thursday. These are two big games to see how the Cavaliers square up to a true Championship contender at TD Garden.
Let's hope the squad can carry the momentum of the Magic game into this road trip.