Los Angeles Clippers vs. Cleveland Cleveland Cavaliers
6:30 p.m. PST
March 16, 2014
FOX Prime Ticket
1. True or false: Kyrie Irving is a top-five point guard.
Conrad Kaczmarek, Fear the Sword, (@ConradKazNBA): Uhhh true? I guess. I’m sure it depends on who you ask, but it’s pretty close. You have CP3, Westbrook, Tony Parker, Stephen Curry…but then it’s really a bit of a toss-up for that last spot. You could make an argument for John Wall or Kyrie Irving or Derrick Rose when he’s healthy. Heck, even Goran Dragic deserves some consideration. So I don’t know if Kyrie is a lock for the top five, but the thing that matters is that he’s in the conversation. And that means he’s really freaking good.
Patrick James, (@patrickmjames): If he’s top-five, he’s no higher than the five-slot, behind Paul, Stephen Curry, Tony Parker, and Russell Westbrook. I’ve preferred John Wall to Irving this year. He’s better on defense, dishes out more assists and grabs more rebounds. But with Irving’s dazzling skills on offense, he could be as good as any guard in the game — point or otherwise — before long.
Jacob Frankel, (@jacob_frankel): False. He gives back most of his offensive value on the other end where he struggles to stay in front of his man or fight through screens.
2. True or false: Dion Waiters will be a Cleveland Cavalier next year.
Kaczmarek: I say true. It all kind of depends on who the Cavs decide to have as their general manager. Without knowing that, it’s kind of impossible to say whether or not they’ll want to keep Waiters. But they had the chance to move him at the deadline and opted not to do that, so I think he’ll stick around.
James: False, but I’m confident he’ll remain cavalier wherever he plays. The Cavs are a respectable 13–7 since firing general manager Chris Grant in February, and Waiters has been reasonably productive in that stretch (albeit while missing a third of those games). The point is that is we get farther removed from those Waiters locker-room dust-up rumors, and closer to Cleveland sniffing at the eighth seed, then management can at least sell high on him.
Frankel: True. The trade rumors cooled down before the deadline, and I’ve seen less stuff about the supposedly dysfunctional Cavs’ locker room. He’s still really talented and I think it’ll be tough to get appropriate value for him on draft night or in free agency.
3. True or false: The Clippers’ current winning streak will extend to 15 games.
Kaczmarek: False. It ends tonight.
James: I say true, but only because our own Andrew Han seems to think I predicted an undefeated March for the Clippers and at this point why waste it, right? I’m actually pretty skeptical that it happens — the Clippers have a knack for dropping late-season games against Cleveland teams, and they’re playing up in the lung-stifling Denver air on a back-to-back tomorrow night. Still, they seem to be putting things together at the right time.
Frankel: It will. The Cavs have had a nice west coast trip, but their legs might be gone after beating the Suns and Warriors. The Nuggets have been playing really well lately, there’s probably still too large a talent disparity. Bucks, Pistons, and Pelicans are teams that should be tanking, aren’t trying to, and are still losing. Yep, 15.