The Cavaliers are the hottest team in the NBA, having won 10 in a row. The Grizzlies are not the hottest team in the NBA, having fired their coach and lost 10 in a row. The Cavaliers are Walking in Memphis™ (sorry) into what should be an easy win. We’ll see if it actually plays out that way.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers (15-7) at Memphis Grizzlies (7-14)
When: 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN
Enemy Blog: GrizzlyBearBlues.com
TV: Fox Sports Ohio
Online: Fox Sports GO, NBA League Pass
Cavs injuries: Isaiah Thomas (OUT – hip), Tristan Thompson (OUT – calf), Derrick Rose (OUT, away from team/ankle injury), Iman Shumpert (OUT – left knee)
Grizzlies injuries: Brandan Wright (OUT – groin), Mike Conley (OUT – achilles), Wayne Selden Jr. (OUT – quad), Chandler Parsons (QUESTIONABLE – ankle), Mario Chalmers (QUESTIONABLE – ankle)
Three keys to the game:
- How mad is LeBron James at the Grizzlies for firing his good friend, David Fizdale as head coach? Mr. James is historically petty, and he clearly was not happy that Fiz lost his war with Marc Gasol for the soul of the Grizzlies. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him go scorched Earth in this game to prove a point.
- Another day, another tough battle at center for Kevin Love. The renaissance at the position has made Love’s job very difficult, but he’s playing his best basketball as of late. In his last three games, Love is averaging 25 points and nine rebounds on 67.5 percent true shooting. LeBron isn’t the only beneficiary of all the space in the Cavaliers starting lineup. Love is cutting through space and finishing through contact and his jumper is rounded into form. Expect another big game from Love, as the Grizzlies big man corps are devastated by injury.
- Tyreke Evans has been one of the few bright spots for Memphis this season. He’s functionally assumed lead ball-handling duties for the Grizzlies while Mike Conley is hurt, and he’s pouring in 17.2 points per game on 48 percent field goal shooting. He’s a big, punishing guard, and the Cavs will have to be ready for a battle at the point of attack.
Marc Gasol isn’t the typical bruiser at center. He won’t devastate Love in post-ups, but he’s still obviously a super effective player. This Grizz team doesn’t have much juice, but Gasol is capable of extracting as much value from them as humanly possible.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction
The Cavaliers should win this one rather easily. Cavs 126, Grizzlies 103.