Sunday, February 8, 2015

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers: Game Preview, Prediction

Projected Starting Lineup:
Los Angeles Lakers: PG: Jordan Clarkson, SG: Wayne Ellington, SF: Ryan Kelly, PF: Tarik Black, C: Robert Sacre
Cleveland Cavaliers: PG: Kyrie Irving, SG: J.R. Smith, SF: LeBron James, PF: Kevin Love, C: Timofey Mozgov
The Cavaliers began their last winning streak with a win over the Lakers.

The Cavaliers began their last winning streak with a win over the Lakers. Cleveland is hoping to kick off another one this Sunday against the Lakers. The Indiana Pacers put an end to the streak at 12 games on Friday night.

Cleveland made up a lot of ground in the standings during the streak and is now just three games back of the No. 2 seed in the East. LeBron James is back to looking like the best player in the league since his two-week absence; he has his explosiveness back and is starting to play much better with Kyrie Irving. However, the same can’t be said for Kevin Love, who continues to struggle to find his role.

Love has looked frustrated at times, as he has been relegated to a spot up shooter in this offense. Despite his struggles, the team is playing their best basketball right now. The additions of Timofey Mozgov, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert have all worked so far, and the Cavs look like a real contender again.

The Lakers are on the opposite end of the spectrum. They are becoming the master of tanking, as they have blown fourth-quarter leads in each of their last two games. Their roster is about as nondescript as any in the league and coach Byron Scott makes decisions that make people question what game he is actually watching.

The Lakers are just hoping to move some of their players before the trade deadline for future assets. They would love to move Jeremy Lin, but the list of teams that want him and his contract is very short. Moving Jordan Hill is a more likely proposition, but unfortunately, he is currently hurt.

Cleveland has a knack for playing down to their competition, which could make this a closer game than expected. The Lakers have also been playing teams tough until ultimately folding in the end. I think it will be a good game into the third quarter, but then the Cavs will pull away for the win.