The biggest question for the 41-12 Spurs playing the 16-26 Cavaliers tonight is literally this: who the heck is playing? The Express-News published their preview last night assuming none of the Big 3 or Jack would be available, but word from Jeff McDonald of said newspaper is that they will play tonight. So now the question is how much?
1. Song of the Game: Uncle Drew!
It’s not a song this time, but it is a YouTube video. If you have not seen this, go now. I’ll wait. This is the reason the Internet was created.
I know it’s clearly staged, but the concept alone is so much fun, it’s hard not to like. Part 2 features an aged Kevin Love (who looks like his Beach Boy uncle). Great stuff. I’m making my annual pilgrimage to the AT&T Center on March 16 to see the Cavs and my 10-year old daughter is joining me this time for her first live NBA game. She’s really excited about the game, partially to see just how big they are “in real life”. But she’s also not-so-secretly excited about seeing Uncle Drew, although she was a bit disappointed when I told her Kyrie doesn’t play in the old-man beard.
2. Who Has to Be Stopped: Umm, Kyrie.
Kyrie Irving is a star. Not just because he does fun stuff like Uncle Drew and has an endorsement deal with Pepsi, but because he can seriously play ball. I know the Cavs are terrible (although I’d argue with the injuries they’ve had, they have been one of the unluckier teams this season). Throw in another top 3 pick this year with some of the talent they have and this is a team on the rise.
3. Who Has to Go Off: Kawhi? Again?
I’ll confess I’m a little disappointed that Tim, Tony, and Manu may play tonight. The Bulls game was one of my favorite games of the year. I love seeing the JV go out and grind out a win, particularly in a game where they had to dig in the 4th. That said, I can’t imagine they get big minutes (except maybe Tony) and I can’t imagine they will be in any kind of rhythm. I’m hoping that translates to more Kawhi-time. My favorite part of the Bulls game was watching Kawhi take over. He got shots on the wing, on the block, at the 3-line, everywhere. The TBJ guys compared him last night to a shorter Paul George. I’m not sure is Kawhi’s ceiling isn’t higher than that.
4. And the Crystal Ball Says….: Spurs, 106; Cavs, 90
Unless the Spurs are totally looking ahead to a long lay-off, this one should not be close. Given that the JV just beat the Bulls, even a Big 3 at a reduced efficiency should be enough to hang on against the Cavs.
5. I’m Wrong If….: Out of Sync
Of course, there’s a chance the team is looking ahead to a long weekend (or a Skills Competition or a 3-Point Shootout or an All-Star Game) and there’s a chance the return of Manu and Tim disrupts the team’s rhythm for a few games, whenever they come back.
6. Odds and Ends
The Big Al to the Spurs rumors seem to have trickled out. Who knows if the Spurs will make a move, but I’d still like to see DeJuan move on, if there’s a draft pick out there for him.
As I said on Twitter, I’m ready to cry “mea culpa” about my endorsement of Patty Mills as the backup PG. Nando was really solid (after a rocky start) against the Bulls. He needs a better shot and needs to be better defensively, but he clearly belongs in the league, which is something I was not sure of earlier in the season.