- Tip Off: 7:30 p.m.
- Television: CSN-BA
- Points: Kyrie Irving, 23.8 PPG
- Rebounds: Anderson Varejao, 15.0 RPG
- Assists: Kyrie Irving, 6.0 APG
- Blocks: Anderson Varejao, 0.8 BPG
- Steals: Alonzo Gee, 1.5 SPG
- Field goal percentage: Anderson Varejao, 65.8% FG
- 3-point field goal percentage: Dion Waiters, 55.0% 3PT FG
Scope the Opposition: Cavs the Blog.
Preview: After losing on the road to the Sacramento Kings (1-3), the Golden State Warriors (2-2) will be at home tonight to take on a Cleveland Cavaliers (2-2) team that was victorious Monday night on the road against the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Cavs are a young team that is built around the backcourt of Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters at the moment and they seem to be a promising tandem.
At the moment, Cleveland sports an offensive efficiency mark of 98 (20th in the NBA) and convert 44.1 percent of their field goals (15th in the league). Essentially, they are a middle of the pack offensive team because they rely mostly on their ability to make jump shots to score points.
Byron Scott’s offense loves to go to the high ball screen in the middle of the floor with Irving and Varejao. The objective is to get Irving matched up possibly against a big man or to split the trap and get inside the lane since defenses will either hedge hard or trap him because of his shooting ability. Should he be unable to turn the corner or split the trap, the ball can go to the Brazilian center who is a decent ball-handler and can go all the way to the basket or make a good pass off the move to a cutting player.
If the opposing defense takes all of those options away by rotating their players to the paint, Irving or Varejao will simply get the ball to the wing to either Alonzo Gee, Dion Waiters or Daniel Gibson who can then attack off the dribble or shoot the long-range shot. Indeed, the Cavs have proven to be a dangerous shooting team from deep so far this season, converting 41.2 percent of their 3-point looks (sixth in the association).
Because they are a good team in terms of shooting from long-range, teams will usually try to run them off the 3-point line to force them to take mid-range jumpers. This explains in part why the Cavaliers only score 38.5 points in the paint per game (22nd in the NBA).
One of the challenges the squad has mind you is that other than Irving and to an extent Varejao, the decision making is a bit suspect, which in turn results in 18.2 turnovers per game (26th in the league).
On the other side of the ball, the Cavaliers have a defensive efficiency figure of 104 (tied for 22nd in the association) and surrender an amazing 50 percent field goal shooting from the field (29th in the NBA).
Cleveland has a couple of problems defensively that are largely due to their personnel. For instance, the guards getting most of the minutes are Kyrie Irving (6’2’’), Dion Waiters (6’4’’) and Daniel Gibson (6’2’’), who are for the most part undersized. The end result is that big strong guards can get past them on the perimeter, but more importantly can post them up.
Because of the small stature of the guards, they are easily screened in the pick-and-roll, which forces the Cavaliers big men to trap. A good disciplined defense can consistently trap and not give up too many high percentage shots, but in the case of Byron Scott’s group, a lot of his players can get caught ball watching, which makes them prone to getting beat by cutting players.
In addition, other than Anderson Varejao, the Cavaliers’ big men are fairly light and thus easily posted up. Consequently, opposing big men can run down the middle of the court on the secondary break and go straight to the front of the rim and pin down the man guarding them, post up and catch the ball for an easy finish.
And yet, Irving and company only yield 40.5 points in the paint per game (12th in the league) because they do a good job of getting down into the paint and drawing charges (especially Varejao). Thus, opponents must always be mindful of that when driving down the lane.
Tonight promises to be an exciting contest especially if Jack and Curry are on the floor together flanked by Klay Thompson and going against Irving and Waiters. Golden State’s perimeter defense will be tested often and early and their performance against the Cavaliers backcourt may very well end up deciding the contest.
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