The Cleveland Cavaliers will play two games in two nights in Texas this weekend, and realistically can hope for one win.
While the Cavaliers will be without All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, they still should have a good chance of upsetting the Mavericks. The Cavaliers are a young team, and they should be able to get out and run against the older Mavericks.
Guard O.J. Mayo leads the Mavericks in scoring with 17.0 points per game, while Dirk Nowitzki is right behind with 16.1 points per game this season.
The Cavaliers need to at least slow down Mayo and Nowitzki, and will need to play with energy and focus on defense. On offense, they can find places to score if they keep the ball moving and stay aggressive. Expect guard Dion Waiters to have a big game for the Cavaliers, and C.J. Miles to also have a good night scoring.
Forward Tristan Thompson needs to pull down 10 or more rebounds and help control the paint for the Cavaliers, and forward Marreese Speights should also be able to score against the Mavericks.
If the Cavaliers can cut down on the turnovers, this is a game they can win.
The Saturday night game against the Spurs, though, may be another story. The Spurs are one of the best teams in the NBA again this year, just as it seems they have been one of the best for the past two decades or so.
The Cavaliers should try to use their youth and energy against the Spurs, too, and hope that Waiters or Wayne Ellington or someone like that gets hot and scores 30 or so points. This could also be a big game for guard Shaun Livingston to run the offense and try to put up points.
As a veteran player, Livingston may be best-equipped to deal with the Spurs, and veteran Luke Walton will need to have a good game, too.
Even so, I don’t see how the Cavaliers knock off the Spurs, unless the Spurs overlook them. They did lose to the Minnesota Timberwolves this week, so it is conceivable at the Cavaliers could steal a victory.
The Cavaliers have a much better shot of going 0-2 over the weekend than they do of going 2-0, but I’m betting on 1-1. If they can split the two games, that would be a pretty good weekend in Texas for the Cavaliers.