Crucial: Bear Down at The Q
The Cavaliers appear to make it 3 of their previous 4 when they choose on the 2nd of 3 Western Meeting groups to check out Quicken Financial loans Arena immediately after the Split – welcoming the new-appear Grizzlies to city on Saturday night time.
The Wine & Gold commenced the season’s 2nd half off in fashion, outlasting the lowly Suns on Thursday night time to tip off the 3-game homestand. Kevin Really like and Ante Zizic both equally doubled-up and Cleveland’s bench dominated the Suns’ 2nd device – improving upon their mark to 4-6 about their previous 10 games.
The Grizzlies are in a comparable placement as the Cavaliers – developing young gamers and attempting to be aggressive without the need of the postseason as a target.
Memphis has dropped 3 straight, like a 12-point loss to the Bulls and Friday night’s residence loss to the Clippers.
The Grizzlies are a distinctive workforce considering the fact that moving Marc Gasol – who led Memphis with 20 factors in the previous conference in opposition to Cleveland – at the Deadline. In that December 26 loss, the Wine & Gold managed just 9 factors in the first time period and couldn’t rally themselves out of that early gap.
The Cavaliers hope to avenge that loss, and have heritage on their aspect – boasting an all-time document of 17-4 in opposition to Memphis at The Q.
Crucial: Grizzled Veteran
The Grizzlies had been a fixture in the Western Meeting Playoff photo for 7 straight seasons prior to previous year’s injury-depleted workforce fell limited. With the trade of Marc Gasol at the Deadline, Memphis has effectively turned the website page on that scrappy squad.
But one particular-half of the tandem that’s propelled Memphis about the years even now remains – previous Buckeye, Mike Conley.
It is unlucky that the Grizzlies are going as a result of a rebuild for Conley – who’s obtaining one particular of the healthiest and most productive seasons of his 12-yr career immediately after being taken with the 4th in general select out of OSU back again in 2007.
Conley – the Grizzlies’ all-time leader in games performed, 3-point discipline aims, assists and steals — has commenced all but 3 games for Memphis this yr, topping the 20-point mark on 32 situations, like a 25-point, 10-help exertion in Friday night’s loss to the Clippers.
At present, only Dirk Nowitzki and Udonis Haslem have expended more time with their respective groups than Conley.
A person day, Collin Sexton hopes to have carved out a comparable legacy – and he’s off to a sound commence inspite of battling mightily from the floor on Thursday night time – finishing with just 8 factors on 3-for-12 taking pictures.
That was an anomaly for the Younger Bull – who’d averaged 22. factors per in 4 of his previous 5 outings and has performed so a dozen instances so significantly this year.
Crucial: Really like Is the Solution
Not many individuals try to remember that Kevin Really like was originally drafted by the Grizzlies back again in 2008 prior to being immediately dealt to the Timberwolves in trade for O.J. Mayo.
The previous USC product had a sound 8-yr career with Memphis, Dallas and Milwaukee, but the T-Wolves won the deal in a huge way – with Really like earning 5 All-Star nods and sooner or later a Entire world Championship with the Cavaliers.
Mayo named it a career immediately after the 2015-16 year, but Really like is even now churning alongside and has just lately hit the ground jogging immediately after a 50-game layoff with a toe injury.
As his minutes have greater so has his production and on Thursday night time he notched his first double-double considering the fact that returning to the lineup – finishing with 16 factors and 11 boards in just 22 minutes of operate in opposition to Phoenix.
Courting back again to his Western Meeting times, Really like has constantly had good achievement in opposition to the squad that originally drafted him and arrives into tonight’s contest obtaining doubled-up in every of his previous 5 games in opposition to Memphis – averaging 20.4 factors and 11.6 boards about that stretch.
Really like would have probable matched up with extraordinary Grizz rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. on Saturday night time, but a deep thigh bruise will retain him out of tonight’s contest at The Q.
The 19-yr-previous previous Michigan State star was obtaining a solid marketing campaign prior to the injury – averaging 13.8 factors and 4.7 boards in 56 starts off with Memphis.
Crucial: Cedi Strikes Back again
If there was a concern that the ankle injury endured just prior to the All-Star Split would destroy Cedi Osman’s rhythm, he shook individuals worries off in Thursday’s get about Phoenix.
Refreshing off his abbreviated run with Workforce Entire world in the Increasing Stars Challenge about the weekend, Cedi was pretty good in opposition to the Suns – top the squad with 19 factors on 7-for-12 taking pictures, like 5-of-8 from outside of the arc, introducing 5 boards and 5 assists in the get.
Courting back again to January 23 – and not like the Dallas game in which he wounded his ankle in the first half – the sophomore from Macedonia is averaging 21.5 factors on 55 % taking pictures from the floor, 51 % from prolonged-length, grabbing at least 5 boards in all but one particular of individuals contests.
Like most of his teammates, Cedi struggled offensively in the first conference concerning these two groups – finishing with just 10 factors on 4-for-10 taking pictures.
On Saturday night time, Osman will probable line up in opposition to Justin Holliday, who’s carved out a sound 6-yr career for himself immediately after going undrafted out of Washington in 2012.
Holliday, who in fact performed for the Cavs Summer time League squad that yr, has commenced 55 games for the Grizz this year, tallying double-digit scoring on 30 situations, like a 15-point exertion on 5-of-8 taking pictures on December 26 in opposition to the Wine & Gold.
Crucial: Huge Device
On Thursday night time in opposition to the Suns, the Cavaliers bench did not incorporate for 83 factors the way it had in the triple-time beyond regulation thriller in opposition to Brooklyn prior to the Split – but they did not have to.
Phoenix 2nd device managed just 15 factors in that Cavs victory, with Cleveland’s reserves combining for 44.
So significantly this year, the Wine & Gold’s bench has gone for 40+ factors 39 instances, 50+ 20 instances, 60+ 5 instances, 70+ on two situations and their 83-point outburst in opposition to the Nets – the 2nd-maximum bench complete in franchise heritage.
Leading the way, as he ordinarily does, was Jordan Clarkson – who followed up his career-large 42-point outburst in opposition to Brooklyn with a mere mortal 15 factors, introducing 5 assists and 4 boards in the get.
That outing was the Clarkson’s 51st game in double-figures – tops among the all NBA reserves.
Larry Nance Jr. had his streak of double-digit rebounding performances snapped at 7, but he even now had a further rock-sound floor game – finishing with 14 factors on 7-for-9 taking pictures – all dunks – introducing 7 rebounds, 3 assists and a game-large 4 steals.
And Matthew Dellavedova, who handed out 13 helpers in the 3OT thriller in opposition to Brooklyn, led both equally squads on Thursday night time – coming off the bench to tally 11 assists to go with two factors, 4 boards, a pair of steals and a block.