Feb 9, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) tries to keep possession of the ball against the Cleveland Cavaliers defense of Kyrie Irving (left), power forward Tristan Thompson (second from left), center Anderson Varejao (third from left) and small forward Luol Deng (9) in the overtime at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Three Concerns for Tonight's Cleveland Cavaliers Vs. Memphis Grizzlies

The Cleveland Cavaliers have won 2 straight and 8 of 11 going into their match-up tonight in Memphis with the Grizzlies. The two teams played a knock down drag out game a couple weeks ago, with the Cavs coming out on top. Things have changed since then including Mike Conley returning and the Cavs being down Anderson Varejao, Dion Waiters and CJ Miles. There are some concerns going into tonight’s game.

What Gives First

The Cavs have been playing short handed but have gotten great contributions from newly acquired Spencer Hawes. Big minutes have been played by many of the Cavaliers players, specifically Kyrie Irving. Hawes, who has only played with 1 playoff team in his history, is actually playing solid all around basketball. Which gives first? Does Irving’s minutes finally break him and he has a terrible game or does Hawes revert to an inefficient game which has him on his third team? Either is possible as Irving has expending great deal of energy to keep the team in games since the injuries to Waiters and Miles. Hawes on the other hand is in his honeymoon phase with a new team and has been on his best behavior. Most can do this for a time but struggle and revert back to their old form.

Big Guys on the Inside

The Cavs fought Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph to a standstill in their last game but ended up the worse for wear. Varejao who played big minutes against Gasol hasn’t played a game since. The Cavs now have Hawes to take Varejao’s place but would be in big trouble if he goes down or suffers foul trouble. Hawes and Tyler Zeller have played well spacing the floor but neither has the type of girth needed to fight the Grizzlies two big men, few do. Can those two along with Tristan Thompson and Anthony Bennett fight Gasol and Randolph to another standstill. Can the 3 shooting big men space the floor enough for Irving to make his impact? Will the big men still be standing after this game with the tough March schedule just starting?

Mike Conley

Conley is a dynamic pure point guard that has developed over the years since leaving The Ohio State University. Conley is able to penetrate the defense opening up lanes for Gasol and Randolph. Between those 3 players the Cavs have a limited number of players to focus on but Conley is talented at getting his teammates in the right position to succeed. The Cavs have also allowed role players to look like stars a number of times this year. Will Conley’s penetration take advantage of the Cavs roster limitations or lead to more time for Matthew Dellavadova who can play good defense on Conley and let Irving to play off the tough point guard? More Delly time and less time for Jarrett Jack leads to lower scoring which Luol Deng and the big men need to make up for.

What concerns you the most tonight? Who will get in the way of a 3 game winning streak? What do you think will happen tonight?

 

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