The Cleveland Cavaliers will enter the Staples Center for the second night in a row on Friday, after playing the Los Angeles Lakers at the same venue on Thursday. There the Los Angeles Clippers will wait to defend their stout home record against a reeling Cavs team that has yet to figure out how to play at a high level on a consistent basis. As troubled as the Cavs are, they’ll at least have LeBron James back for the third straight game and could be ready to give Chris Paul and co. a tough fight.
That star power is a huge reason LA Clippers tickets on BarrysTickets jump up to $233.44 on average ($43 for the cheap seats), which ends up being a nice $62 spike from their season average ($171.94). Cavaliers tickets can oddly be had at a bit of a discount, meanwhile, as they drop down roughly $13 from their season average ($256.78). Clippers fans clearly have to pay a little extra to see the clash with King James’ squad, but all things considered, it’s arguable that both sides are getting some serious value on Friday night.
Cleveland has been struggling all year to remain balanced, as they enter Friday’s matchup barely clinging to life as a .500 team. Part of that could be as a result of multiple injuries (LeBron James missed almost 10 games), rookie head coach David Blatt or the fact that there just hasn’t been much continuity in Cleveland. That’s led to inconsistent offense, spurts of awful defense and a pile of losses. To figure things out, Cleveland will eventually have to find a way to top the elite teams in the league. With the Clips arguably earning such a label, the Cavs’ turnaround could start with this matchup.
From January of 2007 to February of 2011, the Cavaliers had a bit of a hold over the Clips, as they won nine consecutive games, including four in L.A. That dominance wouldn’t last forever, though, as the two teams have gone 3-3 against each other over their past six games, spanning the past four seasons. In the last meeting, back in the 2013-14 NBA season, the Clips dominated a LeBron James-less squad, 102-80. The main difference this time around is how much more stacked the Cavs are, although their lack of defense could clearly be a lingering issue.
Lob City didn’t get the start to the 2014-15 NBA season they’d hoped, instead coming out of the gates a little sluggish. The Clippersinitially weren’t playing great defense and their offense wasn’t nearly as consistent as it had been a year ago, while they also had some issues on the road. Los Angeles still has to figure things out away from home, but they’ll bring a stout 17-6 record to their home floor when the Cavs come to town on Friday, and their offense has also been operating at a high level and shouldn’t be an issue.
Offense surely wasn’t a problem the last time the Clippers faced the Cavaliers in the aforementioned blowout win, and it probably won’t be on Friday against a weak Cleveland defense. The Cavs did add reinforcements in Timofey Mozgov, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert via trades, but Blake Griffin has had no fear when going up against Mozgov in the past and Shumpert won’t even be available for this contest. Cleveland will surely get it together eventually and will definitely be a part of these two putting on a show, but the Clippers can probably be expected to hold serve at home and start a winning streak (two in a row) against the Cavs.