On Wednesday, Cavs fans get the chance to do something they haven’t done in a long time. They get to wake up and say, “IT IS GAMEDAY!” March 10th was the last time we saw Cleveland in action, when they were defeated by the Chicago Bulls. Here is my Cavs Preview for opening week.
The team will play three games in the first week, with two of them being home at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. Cleveland is one of seven teams allowing limited fans to start the 2020-21 season.
Cavs Preview – Hornets @ Cavs
The first game of the Cavs season has them hosting the Hornets on Wednesday night. Like the Cavs, Charlotte hasn’t taken the floor since before the COVID-19 stoppage kept NBA players off the floor for four months. Neither club was invited to the bubble, as they didn’t have a shot at qualifying for the postseason.
The Hornets got some bad news in the form of a Gordon Hayward finger injury last week, leaving them without their prized offseason signing for up to a few months. This means that they will have a very similar lineup to last year. LaMelo Ball is going to light the league on fire, or so the NBA executives think.
In this season opener, Charlotte hopes to use the three-ball to burn Cleveland. And for the Cavs, Collin Sexton will look to build off a fantastic sophomore season. With Andre Drummond at the helm, they have a dominant player in the low-post. And the Isaac Okoro addition has the chance to revitalize the defense.
PREDICTION: The Cavs will pick up a win in the opener. The game will be tight, but JB Bickerstaff’s club will help guide them to a win.
Cavs Preview – Cavaliers @ Pistons
The Pistons will be an intriguing team in 2020-21. They drafted Killian Hayes to be their point guard of the future. They traded young wings in Bruce Brown and Luke Kennard. They signed multiple centers, and paid the big bucks to land Jerami Grant. Detroit also gets a healthy Blake Griffin back. He was an All-Star two years ago when he was healthy.
The way the Cavs will win this one is with strong play from their front-court. Kevin Love will have to go toe-to-toe with Blake. And they will need a heavy dose of Drummond against the less-talented Pistons bigs. He’ll be going against Mason Plumlee, who was eaten alive in the playoffs last year.
Given that he will have a rookie defending him to start the game, look for Collin Sexton to be aggressive in trying to score from the get-go. And having Isaac Okoro will provide dividends when playing against an athletic scorer like Jerami Grant.
Prediction: The game will come down to the wire again, with JB’s Cavs earning a win. The opening week of the season is going well so far, with Cleveland at 2-0.
Cavs Preview – 76ers @ Cavaliers
The final game of the week will be the Cavs hardest, without a doubt. It doesn’t help that it will be the second leg of a back-to-back. The 76ers retooled their roster a bit, and brought in Doc Rivers to be their head coach. With Ben Simmons on the floor, they’re a very different team. The playoff 76ers were not at full strength.
The “rivalry” between Drummond and Joel Embiid will be rebirthed. Embiid is not a big fan of Drummond, and makes sure to take it at him whenever the two go head-to-head. And this won’t bode well for the Cavs. Ben Simmons is likely to record a triple-double in this one, given Cleveland’s lack of size. He dominates the glass against small teams.
The way the Cavs win this game is by shooting the lights out. Can Love, Dylan Windler, Darius Garland and Collin Sexton catch fire from the three-point line? If they can’t beat Philly in the three-point game, they’ll have no chance to win.
The addition of JaVale McGee should come in handy for this matchup. He can provide his Cavs teammates with insight on how to slow Dwight Howard when he enters the game, as the two were teammates in LA last year. And McGee’s 7’0 frame will allow him to dominate the blocked shots category. He could earn a lot of minutes in this one.
Prediction: The 76ers will be too much to overcome, earning a win over the Cavs.
Cavs Preview – First Week Results
2-1 is not a bad start for a Cavs team that had a nearly 10-month layoff.