Team Records: Cleveland (1-1) at Portland (1-2)
Game Info: 7 p.m., TV on CSNNW/NBATV, Radio on 620 AM
Vegas Line: Cleveland -2.5
Refs: Monty McCutchen, Kane Fitzgerlad, Marat Kogut
The Skinny: The Blazers look to bounce back against the new look Cavs as they continue their stretch of home games against top teams. Cleveland lost their home and season opener to the Knicks before beating the Bulls on Friday and has not played since. The Cavs have showed some growing pains, especially on defense, in the two games they’ve played so far.
Last Season: The Blazers swept the season series last year. Portland has won six of the last seven against the Cavs but has only beaten LeBron three times overall in his career.
Projected Cavaliers Lineup:
PF: Kevin Love (UCLA-7th season) – 17.5 PPG, 15 RPG, 2.5 APG
SF: LeBron James (St. Vincent St. Mary’s (HS)-12th season) – 26.5 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 4 APG
C: Anderson Varejao (Brazil-11th Season) – 10 PPG, 5 RPG, 1.5 APG
SG: Dion Waters (Syracuse-3rd Season) – 9.5 PPG, 2 RPG, 1.5 APG
PG: Kyrie Irving (Duke-4th Season) – 22.5 PPG, 3 RPG, 5 APG
Player to Watch: LeBron James (pictured at right) – Love him or hate him, there is no question that LeBron James is a special talent. On offense, he is deadly from virtually anywhere on the court. He can get to the rim, pull up and take the midrange jumper and even drain the occasional three pointer. On defense, LeBron is equally, if not more, effective, capable of defending any position on the court and rarely beaten on defense. LeBron is the best player in the game today, without any doubt.
Did You Know?: Cleveland’s team was named the Cavaliers after a contest sponsored by the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper. The other finalists were “Jays”, “Foresters” and “Presidents.”
Song of the Day: “I’m Just a Bill” from Schoolhouse Rocks. Tuesday is election day so I thought I’d bring out this old school favorite. Enjoy:
Portland: Doubtful-PF/C Joel Freeland (Foot), Probable-PG Damian Lillard (Abdominal Strain)
LeBron proved that you can come home again as he moved back to Cleveland after four years away, bringing along Kevin Love as well as few other bench pieces. This is LeBron’s team, no doubt, but he is not the only weapon they have. Once they finally figure it out, it will be very difficult to stop Love, LeBron and Kyrie Irving on offense. The good news, they haven’t figured it out yet as first year NBA Head Coach David Blatt is still understandably trying to get all the pieces to work together. Their passing is a bit off and their defensive rotations are not quite there yet. Still, any team with the talent the Cavs has will be tough to beat, even if they aren’t at their best.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They make Cleveland play sloppy. What the Knicks and Bulls did well in Cleveland’s first two games is make the Cavs play sloppy basketball. If the Blazers can disrupt Cleveland’s flow they should be able to get the win.
Cleveland wins if: LeBron and Love combine for 60 points. If Cleveland’s two best players show up ready to go and produce good games Tuesday, it’ll be hard for the Cavs to lose.