The Cleveland Cavaliers have one more game on this stupid, ridiculous road trip. They're getting healthy again, but still aren't playing particularly well. Let's see if they can fix that as they visit Brooklyn for the first time.
Who? Cleveland Cavaliers (2-5) vs. Brooklyn Nets (3-2)
When? 7:30 PM Eastern
Where? Barclays Center -- Brooklyn, New York
Where on my eyeballs? Fox Sports Ohio
Can I still get tickets? Yes: Cleveland Cavaliers tickets
The opponent's blog? Right there --> NetsDaily
Give me that sweet, sweet music.
HIPSTERS AND BROOKLYN AND STUFF.
What's up with this game?
Okay, so here's the deal. I want this road trip to end, but I don't want to end it with a loss. That means, the Cavaliers need to win tonight in Brooklyn. Fortunately, the Nets aren't the Thunder and this game should be somewhat easier than the last one.
You've undoubtedly heard a lot of hype about the Nets this past offseason and although they didn't get Dwight Howard, they did get Mirza Teletovic, Andray Blatche, and Josh Childress, which is basically like the same thing. Despite what the media may want you to believe, Jay-Z and Mikhail Prokhorov do not play basketball and do not make the Nets instantly awesome. Similarly, a shiny new stadium doesn't always equal instant success (just ask the Mets). Obviously the Cavaliers are in no position to talk smack about the Nets because Cleveland's record stands at a lowly 2-5, but on the other hand, only one of these teams blew a 22-point lead to the Timberwolves and ended up losing by 11 when Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio weren't playing (it wasn't the Cavs).
*conveniently ignores the Cavaliers' 26-point blown lead against Phoenix*
But still, that's not a good look. Fortunately for the Nets, they had the opportunity to get back on track against the Orlando Magic (twice) and are looking for their third straight win when the Cavs come to town.
The big prize of the Nets' offseason was actually Joe Johnson. Thus far, Johnson has been pretty awful-ish, at least offensively. He's shooting a Jamison-esque 36.2% from the field and his rebound and assists numbers are down across the board. Joe Johnson actually has the exact same PER as Andray Blatche (12.2), so that's fun. But then again, he's only making $20 million a year, so that's not a bad return on investment. I'm actually one of the few bloggers in the blogsophere that thinks really highly of Joe Johnson, so I wouldn't be too worried about his game right now. That said, it hasn't been pretty and I hope he waits at least one more game before he figures it out. I assume that Alonzo Gee will spend a decent amount of time guarding Joe. Although, if Deron Williams starts cookin', Byron Scott may be forced to switch Gee onto Brooklyn's point guard.
The other big difference from the Nets of last year is the return of Brook Lopez. While Lopez is undeniably a strong scoring big, his rebounding and defense leave much to be desired. Did you know that Reggie Evans averages the same amount of rebounds per game as Brook Lopez? Oh and Evans plays 13 fewer minutes per game. Anderson Varejao should have a field day on the offensive glass as long as Tristan Thompson keeps Kris Humphries boxed out.
Byron Scott has made it clear that he is not pleased with the production that he's getting from the bench unit. C.J. Miles has been a disaster, but then again, so has Omri Casspi. The Cavaliers will be looking for anybody other than Daniel Gibson to provide some scoring and consistency off the bench. Coach Scott has also mentioned that he wants to mix up the starters and subs more. That would mean adjusting the timing of substitutions in order to get Kyrie and Dion Waiters in the game to keep the offense going.
Dion was pulled from the OKC game, but it seems as though all of that is in the past. Byron Scott said that Waiters will still have his normal spot in the starting lineup.
Fear The Sword's Fearless Prediction
The keys for the Cavs as usually are to push the pace, crash the offensive boards, limit turnovers, and let Kyrie go wild. Considering Brook Lopez's inability to catch orange round objects, I'm fairly confident that the Cavs can win the rebounding battle. The last two keys (turnovers and Kyrie) will be helped along by the presence of Deron Williams. New Jersey's all-star point guard signed a huge contract this summer, but hasn't lived up to it at all thus far. Kyrie Irving should be poised to have an enormous day against the inferior Deron Williams. Cavs win 101-92.
(Be gentle, Nets fans)