After a quiet Christmas Day off, the Cavs kick off a three game, year ending road trip tonight in Memphis against the Grizzlies. Last season, the wine & gold swept the season series with the Grizz, but to have a shot this year, they need to come out swinging… or at least defending better than they did in their previous effort against the Chicago Bulls.
The primary bright spot for the Cavs has been the terrific play of Larry Nance, Jr., since he was installed as the team’s point five. Nance scored a season high 20 points in the loss to the Bulls to go with six boards and three steals. Jordan Clarkson and Cedi Osman each chipped in 17 points, and have been on an upswing lately. The Cavs will likely need to lean heavily on their bench and it’s 43.6 ppg scoring average (6th best in the NBA) though, since they’ll be without Rodney Hood (left achilles soreness) and David Nwaba (left ankle sprain). Expect Alec Burks and Jaron Blossomgame to take their respective spots in the starting lineup.
Memphis have had struggles of their own lately, losing seven of their last eight to fall back to the middle of the pack in the west. They ended their five game losing streak with a win over the Lakers in Los Angeles on Sunday, which featured a standout performance by rookie Jaren Jackson, Jr. (27 points nine boards). JJJ’s addition to stars Mike Conley and Mark Gasol has helped the Grizz pack some extra punch thus far this season.
Prediction: The Cavs might #BeTheFight and win some early rounds in this one, but they don’t have the bodies to go toe-to-toe in the paint against the length of the Memphis bigs. The Grizz score a TKO by the end of the third and coast to a 114-98 victory.
Catch all of the action on FSO starting at 8pm EST from the FedEx Forum, and as always chime in below…