Cleveland Cavaliers Game Previews: December 5 - December 11

Cleveland Cavaliers game previews between December 5 and December 11, including games against the Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat, New York Knicks, and the Toronto Raptors.

Cleveland Cavaliers game previews between December 5 and December 11, including games against the Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat, New York Knicks, and the Toronto Raptors.

It was a terrible week for the Cleveland Cavaliers. They lost all of their games, games against the Bucks, Clippers, and Bulls. 

Now, why should Cavaliers fans not panic? It's barely December. If they're still playing this poorly in March, then yes, be concerned. It is well known that LeBron James teams largely coast throughout the regular season. They usually only play as hard as they have to, and they do not care if they have a little three-game skid.  

The problem this past week for the Cavaliers was the fact that nobody seemed to have any desire to put forth any effort on defense. The number of times that a Cavalier, typically James, was standing under the opponents basket after an easy score with shoulders shrugged and a perplexed look on their face is not able to be measured. 

This week is one to forget, and as the season goes on, things are looking up for the Cavaliers. They are still the number one seed in the Eastern Conference, and coming up this week, there are four chances to right the ship.

Toronto Raptors

Monday, 5 December 2016 at 07:30 PM ET Away

This is the third meeting of the season between the two Eastern Conference Finals combatants. The Cavaliers have won the prior two in two vastly different types of games. The first matchup was a defensive struggle with neither team eclipsing 95 points. The second matchup saw both teams scoring over 120 points. The Cavaliers, in both games, did just enough to come out on top. 

The Raptors have the second highest offensive rating in the NBA this year, the Cavaliers, after last week, have slipped down to fifth, 

The Cavaliers have had a tough time with the Raptors backcourt. Kyle Lowry routinely torches Kyrie Irving on the offensive end, and DeRozan has had his way against the Cavaliers much-maligned defense. 

The Cavaliers are currently tied atop the East with the Raptors, so it will be imperative for the Cavaliers to come out and play well so that they do not fall behind their foe from the North.

New York Knicks

Wednesday, 7 December 2016 at 08:00 PM ET Away

For the second week in a row, LeBron James goes up against one of his closest personal friends. He also gets to play in one of his favorite NBA venues, the Mecca of Basketball, Madison Square Garden. James always plays well at MSG, and the Cavaliers have played well recently in New York.

The first time the Knicks and Cavaliers met this year was Opening Night where the Cavaliers dismantled the Knicks at Quicken Loans Arena. 

The Knicks are in the swing of transitioning to the state where Porzingis is the centerpiece that they build around. Melo is still averaging more points, but he's also playing more minutes. Porzingis is the future of both the Knicks and of the future NBA bigs, so it will be interesting to see how long it will take the Knicks to transition to being Porzingis' team.

One thing to watch for is how well JR Smith will play against his former team. Smith has played well against his former team in the past few trips to MSG, as well as fellow former Knick Iman Shumpert.

The Knicks are currently the seventh seed in the East, so they will look to remain in the Eastern Conference playoff picture as the season works through its second month.

Miami Heat

Friday, 9 December 2016 at 07:30 PM ET Home

This game no longer has the meaning it once did.

Gone is Chris Bosh.

Gone is Dwyane Wade.

Enter Luke Babbit.

The Miami Heat are struggling this year. The team has the potential to be good if they can get two players who are better than Dragic and Whiteside. That will not happen this year, hence why they are not good. The Heat are struggling with their consistency on offense; they cannot find a consistent outside shooter, Dion Waiters has been up and down and now is injured, Josh Richardson is still working on coming back from his knee injury suffered before the season began. 

What's the bright spot? Tyler "Bumpy" Johnson has played very well so far this year. He is coming off the bench and providing a spark for the team, one that has been lacking at times in the starting lineup. Hassan Whiteside has also been playing well this year, but if Whiteside is the best player on a team, the team won't be good. If Whiteside is the third best player or fourth best player on a team, that is a different conversation.

The Cavaliers should not have any trouble with this Miami Heat squad. Justice Winslow will do his best to slow down James, but Dragic is not a match for Irving on defense, neither is Rodney McGruder. James Johnson will have his hands full with Kevin Love, and it is unlikely that Willie Reed, the Heat's backup center, will be able to do anything with or against the Cavaliers crew of front court men.

The one thing that LeBron James could look forward to doing is bury Pat Riley's Miami Heat team again, just to show Riley that he made the right decision in going back to Cleveland.

Charlotte Hornets

Saturday, 10 December 2016 at 07:30 PM ET Home

The Hornets have been struggling as of late. They have gone 4-6 in their last 10 games, and have fallen into the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff pack.

It is unclear if James, Irving, or Love will sit out this game for rest, due to the fact that it is on the back end of a back-to-back. If they do not rest, the Cavaliers have all of the ingredients to shut down this Hornets team. 

The first time these two teams played, the Cavaliers won 100-93 after trailing by one going into the fourth quarter. The Cavaliers have had little trouble against the Hornets teams of the last few years, as mentioned last time the two teams squared off. 

One thing to watch for is to see if the Hornets dynamic point guard, Kemba Walker, can have his way with the Cavaliers defense again. He has been having a tremendous year. 

This will be the final game in a four-game-week that will either help the Cavaliers assert their dominance in the Eastern Conference, or it will be a week that will highlight more flaws in the Cavaliers armor.

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