Pregame Dribbles: Cavaliers' Starting Lineup to Remain Same, After All
Random dribbles as the Cavaliers prepare to face Dallas and conclude another three-game swing (8:30 p.m., FOX Sports Ohio).
1. After thinking about a change, Cavs coach John Beilein told reporters at shootaround he is sticking with the same starting lineup.
2. Beilein on that very topic: “We have decided on a starting lineup. It won’t be shocking to anybody. It’s going to be the same lineup.”
3. That means Tristan Thompson, Kevin Love, Cedi Osman, Collin Sexton and Darius Garland.
4. Keeping things the same is understandable. Beilein wants this lineup to work. It has worked before. The Cavs (4-10) have bigger problems than just the starters. What they have lacked most over the past four games is the only things that give them hope -- ball movement, determination on defense and overall grit.
5. Translation: The Cavs don't have a superstar. So they will need to get it done as a team first, second and last.
6. Good luck, because Mavs guard and reigning Rookie of the Year Luke Doncic is putting together a LeBron James-like season early. Doncic is going to get his. You can't stop him. So what the Cavs have to hope -- and make happen -- is that all the other Mavs are off.
7. In the Cavs' defense, they have had a tough (and strange) schedule early. Lots of road games and two games apiece against East contenders Philadelphia and Miami in the past two weeks alone.
8. They also already lost to Dallas in Cleveland.
9. I could go on and on about the schedule, but just know this -- the league generally designs it so the contenders get off to good starts early. For instance, James and the Lakers have had the easiest schedule when everything is factored in (number of home games, number of games vs. non-playoff teams, etc.).
10. That's not a complaint. The Cavs used to have the easiest schedule early when LeBron was still on the team. Now, it's almost as if the league throws together their schedule at the last minute.
11. Beilein on the schedule: "I think I heard yesterday we have played the seventh-toughest NBA schedule so far. We’ve been on the road, we’ve been playing good teams and we have to continue to work hard at just being better with what we have and people understanding their roles even better.”
12. After tonight, the Cavs get to fly across the country to face Portland at home. That makes it almost like a road game.
13. That is all for now. For more be sure to check out the latest podcast, in which I discuss some thoughts on the futures on Love and others.
14. Talk to you after the game.