In recent weeks for the Cleveland Cavaliers, it's been about the group finding ways to overcome their injury woes, as Darius Garland and Evan Mobley are still set to be out for an extended period.
With the injuries to those players, and with Donovan Mitchell out in the past three games, though, it has been encouraging to see this group be a resilient one, and get other guys to step up.
This Cleveland team hasn't been able to fully gel yet, and injuries aside, there have been some ups and downs. Fortunately, their role players are coming along, and several fairly unheralded players have established themselves as viable options, and despite being often shorthanded, Cleveland has started to get going. They've won seven of their last 10 games, and the Cavaliers were able to navigate their way to a 3-1 mark this past week capped off by an inspiring win at the Chicago Bulls on Saturday.
But, next up, it's going to be a difficult task for this Wine and Gold squad, as they'll potentially take on Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks, who have one of the league's top offenses.
The Cavs will take on the Mavs on Wednesday, where Donovan Mitchell could be back in action.
First, let's check out the injury report for this first Cavs-Mavs matchup of the season.
Cavaliers-Mavericks: Injury Report
Cavs injuries: Evan Mobley (out, knee); Darius Garland (out, jaw); Ty Jerome (out, ankle); Ricky Rubio (out, Not With Team); Sam Merrill (doubtful, wrist); Donovan Mitchell (questionable, illness); Caris LeVert (questionable, knee).
Mavs injuries: Kyrie Irving (out, heel); Maxi Kleber (out, toe); Josh Green (out, elbow); Greg Brown III and Dexter Dennis (out, G League - Two-Way); Luka Doncic (questionable, quad).
Cavaliers-Mavericks: TV Info
Bally Sports Ohio and Bally Sports Southwest will have this contest, and streaming options should be NBA League Pass and Fubo TV.
If both Mitchell and Doncic (quad soreness) are involved, this could have the makings of a shootout, but both are questionable for this one, and they’re dealing with ailments that could give this a different feel.
Mitchell has missed the Cavaliers' past three games because of a Non-COVID illness, and he's currently questionable. If he is able to go, one would imagine he could be on a quasi-pitch count here, though, coming off that.
In Dallas’ case, they’re coming off a thrilling Christmas victory over the Phoenix Suns, and in that one, Doncic had a ridiculous performance with 50 points, 15 assists and six rebounds. He’s been stellar once again this season, and in this contest, Cleveland is going to have to be very on-point with rotations to shooters, and especially if Doncic is in there with his passing abilities.
Despite Irving not playing once again on Wednesday with his heel injury, this Mavs group is going to get its threes up, and while they've played admirably of late shorthanded, the Cavaliers don't want to get in a trading deep balls-type of game. For the Cavs, they're going to have to balance their containing of Doncic, if he plays, and sticking to shooters.
Offensively, if Mitchell is back, that's a shot creation boost, but either way, if the Cavs can keep moving the rock effectively, as they've been doing by necessity, without their top guns lately, that will be help their chances. They're going to have to find ways to generate rim pressure still, however, in order to get their shooters going.
It might be a bit of a reach, but Cleveland has been showing a lot recently shorthanded, and they could keep that going here.
Prediction: Cavs 115, Mavs 111
Cavaliers Upcoming Schedule:
After this game in Dallas, the Cavaliers will face another tough test in the Milwaukee Bucks at home on Friday. Then, Cleveland will be back on the road to face the Toronto Raptors on Monday, prior to playing the Washington Wizards at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse next Wednesday.