Advanced Scout: The Heat get ready for a Canadian and Midwest rivalry

Can the Miami Heat get big wins against middling Eastern Conference teams, the Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers?

Phoenix Suns v Toronto Raptors
Phoenix Suns v Toronto Raptors / Andrew Lahodynskyj/GettyImages
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Donovan Mitchell
Atlanta Hawks v Cleveland Cavaliers / Jason Miller/GettyImages

Friday, Dec 8. vs Cleveland Cavaliers

Cleveland Cavaliers Advanced Statistics:

  • ORTG: 110.8
  • DRTG: 11.7
  • NET: -1.0

Top Headline: Cavaliers booed off their home floor after bad loss to the Portland Trail Blazers

Throughout most of Thursday night's game, it appeared the Cavs were on their way to another easy victory. However, things took a turn for the worse. Boos could be heard echoing throughout Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse as their lead slipped away against the lowly Trail Blazers. Despite starting the second quarter with a strong 15-2 run and building a 16-point lead, the Cavs gave up almost all of their lead due to a sloppy and costly second-quarter finish. This included three consecutive possessions that ended in turnovers. This rough stretch gave Portland a new sense of hope. Ultimately, Cleveland lost to a rebuilding Portland team, 103-95. This loss ended a two-game winning streak and the Cavs finished their five-game homestand with a record of 2-3. This homestand was supposed to be an opportunity for them to make up ground in the early-season standings. Donovon Mitchell cited this game as their worst loss of the season so far.

Toughest Matchup: Evan Mobley

The progress of power forward Evan Mobley in his third NBA season could be the deciding factor for the Cavaliers' chances of becoming a championship contender. According to Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, Mobley has the potential to make the biggest impact on the game, even surpassing the scoring abilities of Mitchell and Darius Garland. In the previous season, Mobley was able to average 16.2 points and 9.0 rebounds per game, earning him a spot in the NBA All-Defensive First Team. If he can continue to improve his outside shooting while maintaining his defensive prowess, the Cavaliers may have enough firepower to compete against top teams like Boston and Milwaukee.

While Mitchell and Garland are the primary scoring options on the perimeter, Max Strus will provide additional shooting, and Allen will dominate the paint. However, Mobley's versatility and potential on both ends of the court make him the key player for the team. The Cavaliers also have a promising prospect in rookie forward Emoni Bates, and he's a player to watch out for in Cleveland's roster. Despite being picked at No. 49 in the NBA draft, the 19-year-old has been turning heads with his tantalizing talent.

Next. next. Miami Heat linked to trade for Bulls star scorer. dark