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On Tuesday, February 13th, the (32-22) Cleveland Cavaliers will be on the road to take on the (31-25) Oklahoma City Thunder.
“The Crowd” is projecting a final score of Thunder 107.2 – Cavaliers 101.9 with an over/under of 209.1.
Statistics (2017-18 season):
Point differential: Thunder +3.3 (6th) > Cavaliers +0.1 (15th)
Points per game: Cavaliers 109.8 (5th) > Thunder 106.2 (13th)
Points allowed per game: Thunder 102.9 (6th) > Cavaliers 110.9 (28th)
Field Goal Percentage Offense: Cavaliers 47.3% (6th) > Thunder 45.4% (19th)
Three Point Percentage: Cavaliers 36.6% (11th) > Thunder 34.8% (26th)
Field Goal Percentage Defense: Thunder 45.7% (13th) > Cavaliers 47.6% (27th)
Turnovers committed per game: Thunder 13.5 (12th) > Cavaliers 13.9 (16th)
Turnovers forced per game: Thunder 15.3 (1st) > Cavaliers 13.0 (25th)
Rebounds per game: Thunder 45.0 (5th) > Cavaliers 41.8 (21st)
Assists per game: Cavaliers 23.6 (7th) > Thunder 21.0 (26th)
Cleveland completely overhauled their roster at the trade deadline sending out Dwyane Wade, Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert, Derrick Rose, Isaiah Thomas, and Jae Crowder. Youth and athleticism were added to the team in the likes of Rodney Hood, George Hill, Larry Nance Jr., and Jordan Clarkson. The Cavaliers have been one of the worst defensive teams all season but these new additions should do wonders in that regard. Lebron James (26.4 PPG, 8.1 RPG, and 8.9 APG) is having one of his best seasons and should be rejuvenated knowing the new personnel can help him possibly win another championship. Cleveland will be without all-star forward Kevin Love (17.9 PPG and 9.4 RPG) was enjoying his most efficient season with the Cavaliers prior to suffering a broken hand. The new-look Cavaliers were ultra-impressive in their 121-99 blowout win in Boston on Sunday. The Cavaliers average 109.8 points per game (5th) while allowing 110.9 (28th).
After some early season chemistry problems, Oklahoma City has righted the ship. Russell Westbrook (25.5 PPG, 9.3 RPG, and 10.3 APG) has followed up his MVP season with another terrific campaign. Newcomers Paul George (22.2 PPG) and Carmelo Anthony (17.0 PPG) have combined with Westbrook to form one of the NBA’s most feared “Big 3’s”. George is a defensive dynamo and leads the NBA in steals per game (2.2). Steven Adams (13.9 PPG and 9.0) is a monster on the glass and is one of the most underappreciated players in the league. The Thunder average 106.2 points per game (24th) and allow 102.5 PPG (7th).
Cleveland is currently riding a three-game winning streak and are (6-4) in their last ten games. Oklahoma City is (5-5) in their last ten games. The Thunder are (19-9) at home this season while the Cavaliers are just (12-15) on the road. It’s clear the Cavaliers have improved by leaps and bounds defensively with their new additions but they will be tested by an explosive scoring Thunder team. Cleveland will again be without their second leading scorer Kevin Love. Oklahoma City leads the NBA in forced turnovers (15.3) and that could be a problem for a Cleveland team with a lot of new faces. I expect a reinvigorated Cavaliers team to make this a close game but I’m taking the Thunder at home.
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