CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The Cleveland Cavaliers will host the Phoenix Suns Wednesday night at The Q. Here are five things to watch in the match up.
1. Pushing the Pace.
Only two teams in the NBA have a slower tempo than the Cavaliers, but the times, they are a'changing. Ty Lue said it again on Tuesday: he wants the Cavs pushing the pace and creating more opportunities. That shouldn't be a problem tonight, with the Suns shorthanded, but Lue is thinking long term; this is what it'll take to beat a team like the Warriors, should the Cavaliers get that Finals rematch in June.
2. Coach Killer?
LeBron isn't happy, and he may take out his frustrations on a bad Phoenix team that's lost 16 of its' past 18, and 11 straight on the road. James spoke out this morning on a report that called him a 'coach killer', saying he doesn't undermine his coaches, but isn't about to pull back on utilizing his basketball IQ. Coach Killer? No. Undermine? That's too strong. But he has overruled his coaches in the past, as many great players have. The only coach getting killed in the "Q" tonight is Suns coach Jeff Hornacek, who's hanging on by a thread.
3. Double T
The Cavaliers are 11-2 when Tristan Thompson starts, as he did on Monday when he threw down 19 points and pulled down 12 boards against the T-Wolves. Lue is still experimenting with his lineups, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
4. Looking for Love
Kevin Love was held to 11 points in the win over Minnesota on Monday, and with Kyrie Irving back in the lineup is getting the ball less, not more. This is moving Lue to use Love with the second unit as well, in hopes of getting him touches as well as some confidence back. Love's role with the team was an issue last season. It can't be in 2016.
The last time the Cavaliers saw the Suns, in late December, they needed a late "3" from Kyrie to seal a 101-97 win in Phoenix. Tonight shouldn't be nearly as close. But stockpiling wins against bad teams isn't the goal, obviously. Even in the win over the T-Wolves on Monday, the Cavs had their lapses. That's to be expected, as they learn and embrace Lue's fast-paced philosophy. But each game is an opportunity to take it up a level. Expectations are high, and they should be.