Game Thread | 2021-2022 | Game #19 | Suns @ Cavs | Nov. 24, 2021

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Wham with the Right Hand

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The Cavs play their annual home game against the Suns tonight. The Suns have the NBA’s best record at 14-3 and have won 13 straight, starting with a 101-92 win over the Cavs in Phoenix on Oct. 30. The Suns were at home with two days off while the Cavs had played in L.A. the night before. This time the game is in Cleveland and both teams had yesterday off.

The downside is the Cavs will not have Evan Mobley in this game, so holding the Suns to 101 points again will be tough. They average just under 112. The Cavs will not have Collin Sexton, either, although neither player had a great game. Mobley scored 2 points in 21 minutes while Sexton only played 19 minutes.

Cedi Osman will be back after missing a couple of games to back spasms. He scored 20 off the bench in Phoenix. Ricky Rubio had a tough game, going 3-for-15. He may have to play a lot tonight since Darius Garland is questionable with a neck injury. The Cavs were playing their third game in four nights in Phoenix and I suspect that was a factor in Ricky’s poor shooting performance. He’ll be more rested tonight.

So if the Cavs are without Mobley, Garland, and Sexton I’m not sure how competitive they will be against the red hot Suns.

In the Suns 13-game winning streak eight of those wins have come against teams at .500 or below. The best team they’ve played was Dallas at 10-7, who they beat by 7 and 8 points at home last week. There are six teams at 11-6 or better and the Suns haven’t played any of them yet this season.

One matchup to watch is Jarrett Allen against Deandre Ayton. Ayton kicked butt in the first game with 17 points, 12 rebounds, 3 steals, and a +30 in 24 minutes. He was 8-for-10 from the field. Allen had four points and was a -22 in 22 minutes. I’m sure Jarrett is aware of that and is ready to put out a better performance this time.

The Cavs only shot 39.6% and 31.8% in the first game so they need a better offensive performance tonight as 92 points won’t cut it. Hopefully a day off on Tuesday and no travel plus playing at home will improve those shooting percentages. The Suns are good defensively, ranking 9th in opponents’ points per game, although part of that is due to a ridiculously easy schedule so far.

The Suns rank 2nd in percentage of points from 2-point shots and 27th in percentage scored on 3’s, so they prefer to score from inside. They rank 5th in points per game in the paint. Allen and Markkanen need to contain Ayton and protect the rim. The Cavs’ wings and guards need to prevent a lot of blow-bys and force the Suns to shoot over them. Dean Wade played 19 minutes and was a +6 so he may get the assignment on Mikhail Bridges.

The Suns are 3rd in assists per possession and have six players averaging in double figures and a seventh at 9.8, so they move the ball and find the open man. Corey Booker had 27 against the Cavs but they had five in double figures that game.

The Suns rank 26th in offensive rebound percentage so if you can make them miss the first shot you’re in good shape.

Without knowing if Garland will play it’s hard to predict this game. If he is out the Cavs, who are already having problems scoring since Sexton’s injury, will be in even worse shape going against an above average defense. The Cavs are 11.2 points better per 100 possessions with Garland on the floor which is best on the team.

I’m expecting another tough grind with the Cavs’ ultimately losing down the stretch to a better team.
 
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Garland has kept us in several games recently with a lot of first half points. If he’s out it’s going to be very difficult to find points elsewhere. Can’t play Okoro and Rubio 40+ minutes and expect that to work either.
 

Jscc

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Will the injuries ever stop? Jeezus.
 

LesGrossman

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Ricky always has dramatic games when he plays agsinst his former teams. Dramatically bad or dramatically good. In that sense it would be ok if he got the start.
 

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