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The Wine & Gold have won five of their last six at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse and look to keep that home mojo rolling on Wednesday night – welcoming Tyronn Lue’s Clippers to town on Wednesday night.
The Cavaliers snapped a two-game skid with some home cookin’ on Monday night, avenging a loss to the T-Wolves from the previous evening despite being without three frontline starters. Cleveland’s young nucleus of Collin Sexton, Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen all had outstanding games – getting an important victory with a pair of heavyweights rolling into town next.
Two of the league’s top squads squared off on Tuesday night in Brooklyn, and the host came out on top as the Clippers fell for just the second time in their last 12 games – dropping a 124-120 slugfest to the Nets. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George combined for 59 points, but both also logged heavy minutes in the loss.
The Cavs will need their A-game on Wednesday night to snap a recent funk against L.A. – dropping seven of their last eight, including a 41-point loss in the Clips last visit to Cleveland.
As previously noted, both of L.A.’s superstars played heavy minutes in a Tuesday night contest in Brooklyn that had a playoff feel.
Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have missed just seven combined games this season and both are expected to go tonight. The Clippers are 3-0 on the second game of a back-to-back this season – and they’d love to get No. 4 for their new head coach.
Leonard is off to another excellent start in his second full season in L.A. – averaging 26.3ppg, shooting 51 percent from the floor, 40 percent from long-range and 92 percent from the stripe. One of, if not the game’s best two-way players, the Clippers are a +11.2 with the four-time All-Star on the floor.
George, now in his 11th season and second in L.A., is also putting up outstanding numbers – averaging 23.7ppg on 50 percent shooting, including 45 percent from deep and 91 percent from the line.
In 31 career contests against Cleveland – regular and postseason – George has averaged 19.2ppg with nine 20-plus games, four 30-point games and a 43-point outburst back in April 2017.
With that in mind, Cavaliers rookie Isaac Okoro’s baptism-by-fire will continue on Wednesday night.
Leading his freshman class – and ranking 17th in the league overall – in minutes at 35.4 per game, the 20-year-old will have another tough set of assignments tonight against the Clippers.
Granted, the Timberwolves were playing without their All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns for both games, but on Sunday and Monday nights, the Cavaliers nearly had two different starting centers post a 20-point, 20-rebound game.
In Sunday’s loss, Andre Drummond went off for his second 20-20 night of the season, 44th of his career – netting 25 points and 22 boards, adding four assists, a steal and a block.
Now at 15.1rpg, Drummond widened his lead over Clint Capela as the league’s top rebounder.
The nine-year vet was a scratch on Monday night, and his replacement barely skipped a beat.
Jarett Allen got his first start as a Cavalier and made it count – finishing with season-highs in points (23) and rebounds (18) and blocked shots (5), going 7-of-9 from the floor and 9-of-14 from the line.
In now-eight games with the Wine & Gold, Allen is shooting 71 percent from the floor (41-of-58) – averaging 13.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per.
The Clips will counter with 12th-year man Serge Ibaka, who’s averaging double-figure scoring for his ninth straight season. Ibaka supplanted Ivica Zubac in the starting lineup and given Ty Lue a quicker, more offensive-minded option in the middle.
Ibaka, who led L.A. with 10 boards on Tuesday night, has notched double-figures in six of his last seven games.