It’s a battle of two widely talented teams that are pleasant surprises this season. It’s also between one of the best offenses and defenses in the league, so it ought to be a fun watch.
Catch the game tomorrow, January 17th, at 4:00 AM, Manila time.
HOME: Cleveland Cavaliers (27-17, 18-4 at home)
Projected starting five:
- Darius Garland
- Donovan Mitchell
- Isaac Okoro
- Evan Mobley
- Jarrett Allen
There’s a cloud of inconsistency draped around the Cavaliers as of late as they have been alternating wins and losses over their last six games. Fortunately, the five-game roadtrip is now over and they are finally back in front of their home crowd. They currently own the best home record in the Eastern Conference.
We should see a more aggressive Donovan Mitchell (28.8 PPG). He’s among the top scorers in the league this season but was limited to just 14 points on a horrid 5-for-16 shooting during Sunday’s loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. ‘Spida’ will look to bounce back and will be in an interesting matchup opposite the Pelican guards and forwards. The same goes to his backourt mate, Darius Garland (21.1 PPG, 7.7 APG), who only mustered 15 quiet points and four dimes in the defeat.
Big men Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley have their work cutout for them as they will look to contain the Pelicans attack down low, which ranks 4th in points in the paint.
Still, the Cavs are the number one scoring defense in the NBA, allowing just 107 points per game. They are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
AWAY: New Orleans Pelicans (26-17, 9-12 on the road)
Projected starting five:
- CJ McCollum
- Dyson Daniels
- Try Murphy III
- Naji Marshall
- Jonas Valanciunas
The visiting Pelicans are looking iffy over the last two weeks or so. They are coming in having lost five of their last eight outings, and while they are averaging 114 PPG in that span, they cancel it out by giving up 115.8.
CJ McCollum will continue as the feature scorer since his main partners in crime, Zion Williamson (hamstring) and Brandon Ingram (toe), are still both out with injuries. McCollum is putting up 28.1 PPG over his last eight outings.
Aiding the veteran guard is Jonas Valanciunas, who should be in a fun matchup versus the Cavs bigs. The Lithuanian seven-footer is providing quality production in his increased playing time as he has 24.5 points and 10.5 boards on 69.8% shooting in his last four, including 33 points this past Saturday against the Detroit Pistons.
The Pels have dropped five-straight games ATS vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
Handicap: The Cavaliers (-6.5) take advantage of the shorthanded Pels. They win and cover the spread.
Over/Under: It’s the Cavs’ top-ranked defense playing at home. The under 222.5 could be a good choice.