Dec 21, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Gerald Henderson (9) drives on Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap (4) in the first quarter at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
At Portland (12.26)
The NBA did not do the Cavaliers any favors scheduling a game the night after what figures to be an emotionally-draining, hard-fought game on Christmas.
This matchup with Portland could prove to be trouble for the Cavaliers, even though Cleveland’s already bounced the Blazers once this season. The Cavs beat the Blazers 105-100 after falling behind 56-47 at halftime during their first meeting. The Cavs were without Irving and Shumpert and required a heroic effort (33 points and 10 assists) from James to get the win.
The Blazers are an athletic team with nothing to lose. Being the second night of a back-to-back, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if Irving or James sat this one out, which would spell trouble for the Cavaliers.
Prediction: Blazers 98, Cavaliers 89
at Phoenix (12/28)
After a day off, the Cavaliers will head to the desert to take on the Phoenix Suns, who are another below-.500 team featuring a young, athletic roster. With scoring guards Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight, as well as new addition Tyson Chandler, the Suns average 103.9 points pe game–fifth in the NBA.
The Suns also feature the disgruntled Markieff Morris, who has had success against the Cavaliers in the past.
Outside of the four who were previously mentioned, the Suns do not have the depth to match the Cavaliers. This game should be close, but the Cavaliers should put their day of rest to good use and use a variety of different lineups to pull away from the Suns.
Prediction: Cavaliers 102, Suns 91
Next: 12.29: At Denver