Of course, there would have been plenty of eyes on this game without the added bonus of coaching intrigue, but Lue’s recent job performance, since taking over from David Blatt, earlier this month, has the Cavs in the national discussion.
Cleveland has won three straight and, for the first time in quite awhile, the Cavaliers are playing up-tempo offense and looking to get the ball to other players who aren’t named LeBron James.
Now, the Cavs surging offense will face a big-time test in San Antonio and a Spurs defense that is nothing short of shutdown. Here’s everything you need to know about the East-West matchup:
Date: Saturday, January 30
Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
Location: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland Ohio
TV Channel: ABC
Line: San Antonio -2 via OddsShark
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Game Preview: Welcome back Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. It’s nice to see both of you playing basketball again.
The pair have thrived under Tyronn Lue’s recently revamped up-tempo offense with Love notching 29 points, his best since November 23, in Friday’s 114-106 win at Detroit. Meanwhile, Irving went 11-of-19 for 28 points, his second highest total in 19 games since returning from a fractured kneecap.
That is very good news for the Cavs, who finally appear to have gotten all their offensive weapons in a metaphorical row.
Irving, in particular, has been a bright spot in Cleveland’s current three-game win streak, averaging 16 shot attempts and playing some of his most aggressive basketball.
“I just want him to attack,” Lue told NBA.com. “Attack first and if it opens up to an assist, then we’ll make the play. But I just don’t think nobody can stop him one-on-one, so I just want him to get back to being confident and playing the way he’s capable of playing.”
Of course, the Spurs boast one of the most dominant defensive fronts in the entire NBA, but without Tim Duncan on the court, San Antonio is lacking in a bit of leadership and Cleveland’s three-headed scoring monster could be too much to deal with on the road.
The key for Cleveland is to get out quick. The Cavaliers are 23-2 when recording over 100 points and just 10-10 when under that mark.
San Antonio won the first matchup between these two squads earlier this season and has notched 11 victories in the last 12 meetings.