Cleat Geeks

Cav’s Corner

Welcome to Cavs Corner, a new weekly article written by a life-long, die-hard Cleveland sports fan whose passion is basketball in this great city.

The Cleveland Cavaliers closed out the longest road trip of their season on Friday. They went 5-1 averaging 106.8 points per game and allowing just 96.3 points per game.

KyrieIrvingThe Cavs were holding strong on a seven game winning streak halfway through their six game road trip. The last three games were in Texas, which would present multiple challenges to overcome. Key defense by Iman Shumpert and a deep three-point shot by Kyrie Irving in the final moments of the game helped the Cavs come out on top in a 110-107 overtime win in Dallas, bringing their win streak to eight. Two days later on Thursday Jan. 14 they were in San Antonio matching up with the Spurs. Prior to that game the Spurs were 37-1 on their home court. That only loss came from the Cavs on March 12, 2015 when Irving scored a career high 57 points in an overtime victory. Unfortunately there was no encore for the Cavs in the AT&T center. Lackluster defense and forced shots once they were behind resulted in a 99-95 loss.

Although every loss hurts, after an eight game win streak and playing a great team, with great veterans who are playing a solid game of basketball on their home court, this should just be taken as a heat check. Coming off the heels of the loss, the Cavs moved onto Houston the very next day to take on the Rockets. With coming into a back to back game off of a loss, a big game versus Golden State on Monday and the Rockets being on a five game win streak, the Cavs 91-77 win was impressive.

MatthewDcavsHouston got off to a great start and at one time had a nine point lead in the first quarter. That is until J.R. Smith and LeBron both hit a three pointer to bring the game within three. At the end of the first Matthew Dellavedova nailed a floater to give the Cavs the lead and they would not give that up for the rest of the game. Anderson Varejao, who we have not seen play in a while also got a chance to get out on the court for eight minutes to score four points, grab two rebounds, two assists and a steal. Although his play was limited and Coach Blatt is really keeping the eleven year veteran in a reserve spot, it was good to see him back out on the court.

On Monday January 18 the Golden State Warriors come to Cleveland for a NBA Finals and Christmas Day rematch. It was a low scoring affair in Oakland the last time these teams met on Christmas Day as the Cavs held the Warriors to only 89 points, but were still on the wrong end of the 89-83 loss. Although they were active, Irving and Shumpert still weren’t 100% healthy as they were just recently coming off of injuries. Irving went 4/15 from the floor and 0/6 from three-point land. Kevin Love did not do much better going 5/17 and 0/5 from three-point range. David Blatt also decided not to play Anderson Varejao during that game, which may have made a difference with his defensive energy and automatic mid-range shots, but Varejao’s role this year has been very limited.

This upcoming game will be different. We have a full healthy roster, which we haven’t had versus Golden State since before last years NBA Finals. Fully expect the Cavs to come out with a lot of energy on both ends of the court and play like this is a playoff or finals setting. The Cavs are going to be coming off a two-day break, and the Warriors are coming off a 113-95 loss in Detroit on Saturday for their fourth loss of the season. In addition, the game is in Cleveland where the fans are without a doubt going to be fueling these guys with energy.CavsOldLogo

The keys to winning this game are going to be to limit the Warriors to 95 points. Three out of the Warriors four losses this year came when they were held to no more than that. The Warriors are a three-point shooting team and they are not afraid to take those shots. When the Cavs get behind, they like to attempt three pointers to make up ground and players seem to try to take matters into their own hands by forcing up bad shots, especially early in the shot clock. Minimal three-point attempts, good shot selection and utilizing a good portion of the shot clock will be huge factors in coming out with a victory to even the season series at one against these red-hot Warriors.

 

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