After taking down the Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Clippers at home, the Golden State Warriors will be taking their four-game winning streak on the road, where they will take on the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday.
While the Warriors will look to protect their winning streak, the Cavs are on the completely opposite side of the spectrum, having lost four straight games. Cavaliers have overall failed to meet their own expectations this season and the fact that Andrew Bynum now doesn’t like playing basketball and has been suspended by the team certainly doesn’t help.
Despite their recent struggles, the Cavaliers have actually been pretty competitive at home this season and Kyrie Irving is starting to find his rhythm.
Keys to the game
Off Eff: Warriors: 103.4 (12th) Cavaliers: 98.0 (25th)
Def Eff: Warriors 98.6 (5th) Cavaliers: 104.1 (19th)
Pace: Warriors: 99.2 (3rd) Cavaliers: 96.5 (17th)
The point guard duel
Both Stephen Curry and Irving are coming off good games. Curry had a triple-double (albeit an inefficient one) in the blowout win against the Suns, while Kyrie has scored 40 and 32 points in his last two games. He has also taken 55 shots in the two contests, so expect him to shoot early and often. Undoubtedly the most proficient part of Irving’s game this season has been his play in the pick-and-roll. He currently ranks fourth in the league as a P&R ball handler in points per play (via Synergy Sports). As such, Warriors’ pick-and-roll coverage will have to be on point all night.
Stopping the bench
The Cavaliers don’t have the scariest bench, but they do have a couple of scorers who are capable of getting hot. Outside of Dion Waiters, the Cavs also have a very familiar face to Warriors’ fans in Jarret Jack. He has not been quite as good off the bench for Cleveland and is not as valuable as he was to Golden State’s second unit last season, but he is still capable of putting up points in a hurry.
Tristan Thompson loves crashing the offensive glass and ranks seventh in the league in offensive rebounds per game. With the Cavaliers’ guards putting up a ton of shots, Thompson has learned to position himself well and creates second-chance opportunities for his team on a regular basis.
Andrew Bynum (Suspended)
Jermaine O’Neal (Out)
Ognjen Kuzmic (Out)
Festus Ezeli (Out)