The Denver Nuggets and Cleveland Cavaliers are scheduled to clash at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Friday night. The Cavaliers finally return home following a long and dreary road trip. They were swept in five games, which extended a three-game losing streak that the Cavaliers had already accumulated before hitting the road.
I’d like to say that the Cavaliers will be glad to be home after a lengthy road trip which saw them go 0-5, but it’s not like they were playing exceptional basketball before packing up their bags. Cleveland gets absolutely no breaks, as they have to come home to play the dangerous Nuggets.
The Cavaliers will likely put together some kind of effort back at home tonight, but they don’t get a lay-up opponent. I’m sure they were likely hoping to see somebody like the Pistons or Thunder on the docket. Nope, the Cavaliers are getting thrown right back into the fire against Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets. Do the Cavaliers exactly care at this point?
They’re a 10-19 team and shopping away the services of center Andre Drummond at the moment. Drummond has been sitting as a healthy scratch, and will continue to be absent from the floor on Friday night against the Nuggets. In an attempt to avoid an injury to Drummond and derail his value, he’s been delegated to the bench before a deal can be made.
If negotiations fall through and a deal can’t be made, then the Cavaliers are going to look pretty silly. Head coach J. B. Bickerstaff is taking heat for Drummond sitting, but let’s be honest, this is an organization decision and not necessarily all Bickerstaff. He wouldn’t bench Drummond without getting the call from higher ups. And no, I don’t think this is a popular decision with the players on the team, which could complicate things in the locker room.
The Nuggets are coming off a 130-128 loss against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday. Tough loss for the Nuggets against a Wizards team that they should beat. They head into Cleveland with a record of 15-13 and eighth in the Western Conference. That’s not good enough, but the bad news for the Cavaliers is that the Nuggets are unlikely to be unfocused tonight after their loss against Washington. Head below for our free Nuggets vs. Cavaliers pick on February 19, 2021.
Denver Nuggets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers NBA Betting Odds:
Nuggets vs. Cavaliers Prediction:
The Cavaliers have a couple of fine three-point shooters in Darius Garland and Collin Sexton. Garland and Sexton are both shooting 40.7% from beyond the arc, so why are they not attempting more is beyond me. Without Andre Drummond on the floor, the Cavaliers certainly have to become more of a jump shooting team than with him. This is a three-point league now. Effective shooting from downtown is required, and the Cavaliers are capable of doing it, but Bickerstaff appears to be trying to rely on old school basketball instead.
It was working early on this season when the defense was playing well, but the defense has been non-existent recently. It’s time for Bickerstaff to give Garland and Sexton more freedom in the offense. If he’s not going to play Drummond, the Cavaliers have to look elsewhere for production. Also note that there is a gaping hole in the defense for the Cavaliers without Drummond patrolling the paint.
The Cavaliers need to fire away and hope to keep up as best as they can. Cleveland have gotten rocked for 127.6 points against through their last five outings. They were a top-10 defense a month ago, but the Cavaliers have been playing like the worst defensive unit in the game. The Cavaliers have regressed to 21st in the NBA with 113 points conceded per game. It’s going to continue to get worse without Drummond in the lineup full time. The Nuggets should be able to have their way on offense in this game.
They’re coming off a big offensive performance against the Wizards, but failed to hold on in a 130-128 loss. In their next stop on this road trip, they likely stay hot against the struggling Cavaliers. Overall on the season, the Nuggets are sixth in the league with an average of 115.4 points a game. They’ve been serviceable defensively, allowing 111.7 points per game for 14th in the league. The Cavs are scoring just under 110 at home with 108.1 points per game at home in Cleveland. This total looks four or five points too short, which enables us to play the OVER.