The Cavs, with the new addition of Donovan Mitchell, jumped out to the front of the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, Dallas bringing back largely the same squad that made its conference finals run, stumbled out of the gates. Since then, both teams have trended back toward the median, hovering just above .500.
For as well as they’ve done this year, Cleveland – still third in the East – has not fared well away from home, going just 5-9 on the road. Of the teams above the play-in line in the East, only Cleveland and the Philadelphia 76ers have a losing road record.
The Mavs have had similar road woes, but luckily, this game is in Dallas, where the team is 11-4. Cleveland will be coming off a down-to-the-wire road loss against San Antonio, so hopefully, Dallas can take advantage of the Cavs still getting their road legs under them.
Around the horn
It’s no secret that Dallas is a team dependent on the three-point shot. When they’re falling, they can play with just about anyone, and when they’re not they get run out of the gym.
Cleveland is interesting in this regard. Over the last 10 games, Cleveland has given up the fewest above-the-break threes in the league, and is holding opponents to just under 29% – the league’s second-best mark. It helps to have two of the most mobile, athletic bigs in the league who are willing to close out on shooters.
A better bet for Dallas would be to keep the ball moving and work to get some open corner threes, where the Cavs are giving up a much more friendly 40% on nearly nine attempts per game.
We meet again
Dallas is no stranger to the “revenge” game. It seems like the league is littered with players who have, for at least a year or two, spent some time in Dallas.
This game is different. Would you count facing the team who bounced you from the playoffs and blew up your whole team leading to your eventual trade as a revenge opportunity? Such might be the case for Donovan Mitchell who has been right at home in Cleveland, already the leading scorer on the squad. He’s scoring a career-high 29 points per game on .632 true shooting percent – also a career-high. We’ll see if Dallas has the blueprint to stop this new and improved Mitchell.
How to watch
You can broadcast or stream the game on Bally Sports at 8:00 pm CST.