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GBB NBA Over/Under Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Clippers

Today we look at two teams who figure to be in the mix for title contention.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Site Manager’s Note - Welcome to the inaugural Grizzly Bear Blues NBA Preview Over/Under Challenge! Think you are smarter than twelve of our staff members? Take the challenge by posting your over/unders in the comments section every day with the corresponding teams. We will keep track over the course of the season, and the commenter(s) who beats our overall over/under projections at the end of the season will win a Fan Essentials box!

The GBB Staff taking part in this challenge are

Joe Mullinax - Site Manager

Matt Hrdlicka - Senior Features Writer

Kevin Yeung - Senior Features Writer

Chase Lucas - Features Writer

Mac Trammel - Features Writer

Brandon Conner - Features Writer

Jonathan Concool - Game Coverage Writer

Colin Huguley - Game Coverage Writer

Austin Reynolds - Game Coverage Writer

Corban Ford - Game Coverage Writer

Jonah Jordan - GBB Boots on the Ground Editor

Adam Rubrum - GBB Boots on the Ground Editor

Today we’ll be talking about the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Clippers.

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: Vegas Projection- 56.5 Wins

GBB Overall Staff Predictions-

  • Nine take the over (Mullinax, Lucas, Hrdlicka, Ford, Jordan, Trammell, Huguley, Rubrum, Yeung), three take the under (Reynolds, Concool, Conner)
  • Average projected record: 58-24
Cleveland Cavaliers Media Day Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Joe’s players to watch and projection- The Cleveland Cavaliers have plenty of reasons to be smiling. They, led by LeBron James, were the team to deliver a championship to a city who hadn’t had one in almost a lifetime. They overcame one of the most dramatic situations imaginable, being down 3-1 in the NBA Finals against the best regular season team of all-time, the Golden State Warriors, and they have cemented themselves as perennial favorites for the NBA title from the Eastern Conference as long as LeBron is around.

He doesn’t do it alone, of course. Kyrie Irving is a more than willing Robin to LeBron’s Batman, and he was a huge part of the Cavs title run. Kevin Love, while not a perfect fit alongside these two, remains an extremely talented big who can take over games. Add in key role players like Tristan Thompson, Channing Frye, and Iman Shumpert? This team appears ready to roll again.

Health issues can derail any stacked roster, and LeBron has about as many miles on the tires as a 31-year-old can. But as long as Cleveland stays healthy, this is a team that can coast to the top seed in the East in preparation for the playoffs. I’ll take the over for the Cavs at 58 wins, good for the one seed in the Eastern Conference.

LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS: Vegas Projection- 53.5 Wins

GBB Overall Staff Projections-

  • Eight take the over (Lucas, Reynolds, Ford, Jordan, Concool, Conner, Trammell, Huguley), four take the under (Mullinax, Hrdlicka, Rubrum, Yeung)
  • Average projected record: 54-28
Los Angeles Clippers Media Day Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Joe’s players to watch and projection- I will be the first to admit that I am a bit biased against the Clippers. Part of it has to do with the rivalry- the Grizzlies and Clippers have no love lost between the two of them, and while things have cooled down a bit on the Clipper hatred front, some habits die hard. I am also biased because I think DeAndre Jordan, pictured above, is easily the most overrated player in the NBA. He can produce highlight dunks, and he can defend quite well, but the rest of his game leaves a lot to be desired in my opinion. He is not a creator. He is not a scorer. He is not as good as so many think he is.

Fortunately for L.A., he doesn’t need to be. They have Chris Paul and Blake Griffin to be the scorers and creators, they have Jamal Crawford to be their super sixth man and J.J. Redick to be their sharpshooter from range. They have added Marreese Speights and Brandon Bass to bolster a front court that was lacking depth. As much as it pains me to say this...they’re good. They’re really good.

Are they good enough to surpass the Spurs? Perhaps, but I need to see Blake Griffin make it through a whole season. I need to see who they slide in to start at Small Forward. I need to see if this group of key players, in quite possibly their last year together (both Griffin and Paul have player options for next year that they will almost surely opt of), can finally click and achieve the potential so many have seen for them.

It is possible this is the year. But when it comes to this crew, I see potential that is never fully achieved. Give me the under on the Clippers- 52 wins, good for the three seed out West, but according to my playoff matchups would mean a date with the Utah Jazz as the six seed, and I would take the Jazz in that series. Paul stays, Griffin leaves, and the Clippers look for a new key piece to try to fit alongside CP3, who has a near-MVP season.

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