Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder: Predictions, Starting Lineups (11/8/23)

The Cleveland Cavaliers (3-4) seek revenge against the Oklahoma City Thunder (4-3) this Wednesday (11/8/23). Get Cavaliers vs. Thunder moneyline and spread odds, as well as predictions, starting lineups, injuries, and key matchup below.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Prediction

Oklahoma City prevailed by three points in their October 27th matchup, but Cleveland lacked Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen then. Plus, the Thunder shot 50 percent from three, while the Cavaliers were at 26.7 percent. It’s a great revenge spot for Cleveland.

Chet Holmgren only weighs about 207 pounds, and 6’6” Jalen Williams is a touch undersized as a power forward. Oklahoma City subsequently ranks 29th in opponent offensive rebound rate, 30th in opponent put-back frequency, and are allowing the 5th most restricted area field goal attempts per game. Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley should wreak havoc in the paint by controlling the boards, racking up second chance points, and scoring efficiently as roll men.

All-NBA guard Donovan Mitchell currently leads the NBA at 32.5 points per game, and he scorched the Thunder for 43 points in their last matchup despite Lu Dort’s hounding defense. Mitchell should shred Oklahoma City again, especially since Dort is questionable with a hip injury. Meanwhile, Darius Garland’s return has stabilized Cleveland’s shot quality and provided Mitchell with a well-rounded scoring partner. Factor in Max Strus’ spacing and Caris LeVert’s microwave scoring off the bench, and Cleveland’s offense has an excellent chance to thrive.

On the other end, Mobley and Allen both ranked in the top fifteen of rim points saved per 75 possessions last year (via Basketball Index), so their combined rim protection will be key against a Thunder squad that leads the NBA in drives per game. Mobley in particular is an ideal defensive piece against Holmgren, as he can match his mobility and length combination. Cleveland lacks elite perimeter isolation defenders, but they own quality team defenders that play physical defense. Oklahoma City’s offense will still put up numbers, but the sluggish Cavaliers can halt their transition offense and force them to win the game through outside shooting.

Overall, the extra possessions from offensive rebounds will doom Oklahoma City here, as it completely slashes their efficiency margin for error. Cleveland’s defense is better equipped to slow down Oklahoma City’s offense than vice versa, so look for the Cavs to take this game by at least two points.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Prediction: Cavaliers -1.5 and moneyline

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Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Best Odds

The visiting Cavaliers enter this game as 1.5 point favorites, so the books are expecting a close contest. These teams battled on October 27th, and the Thunder came out on top 108-105. Oklahoma City needs to win about 46 percent of the time here for their +118 moneyline to hold a positive expected value, thus making it profitable in the long run.

Cleveland Cavaliers Starting Lineup

PG: Darius Garland
SG: Donovan Mitchell
SF: Max Strus
PF: Evan Mobley
C: Jarrett Allen

Oklahoma City Thunder Starting Lineup

PG: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
SG: Lu Dort
SF: Josh Giddey
PF: Jalen Williams
C: Chet Holmgren

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Injuries

Isaac Okoro, Ty Jerome, Ricky Rubio, and Sam Merrill are all out for Cleveland. On the other side, Kenrich Williams remains out for Oklahoma City, while Lu Dort and Ousmane Dieng are questionable. If Dort cannot suit up, then rookie guard Cason Wallace likely gets the nod.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Key Matchups

Oklahoma City Free Throws

Because the Thunder will inevitably lose the possession battle, they need to find efficient shots to compensate for the deficit. Free throws are one of the most valuable sources of offense, and Cleveland ranks 23rd in opponent free throw attempt rate. The refs allowed an extremely physical game in their previous matchup, and Gilgeous-Alexander subsequently didn’t draw a single free throw on his 24 two-point attempts. If the same bruising style is allowed, then the Thunder will find it difficult to match Cleveland.

Cason Wallace’s Defense

With Dort ailing, Wallace may be promoted to the Donovan Mitchell assignment. The rookie has impressed on the defensive end to start the year, but Mitchell is another animal. Oklahoma City desperately needs Wallace to hold his own and help limit Mitchell to below 30 points; otherwise, Cleveland’s offense is likely too formidable here. Wallace maintaining his blistering 68/54/100 shooting splits would also inject a timely scoring boost into the offense too. Overall, the rookie guard is an X Factor for the Thunder in this matchup.

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2021-22 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs about analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions and NBA Analysis Network.

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