The Cavs can try to rebound from that loss tonight in game three of their five-game homestand as they take on the 10-14 Brooklyn Nets. The Nets are coming off a bad loss as well, losing 105-89 Wednesday night in Toronto. They've lost five of seven, and their two wins in that stretch are over the Philadelphia 76ers and Charlotte Hornets. That includes a 110-88 victory for the Cavs on Dec. 8th in Brooklyn. This very much is a winnable game.
Who: Brooklyn Nets at Cleveland Cavaliers
When: 7:30 p.m.
Where: Quicken Loans Arena - Cleveland, Ohio
¿Dónde me veo con mis ojos?: Fox Sports Ohio
Music: Head Automatica - Brooklyn is Burning
Last Time Out: Fearless Leader's recap is here if you need a refresher, but it's safe to say the Cavs looked like a matchup nightmare for Brooklyn last Monday. LeBron James looked excellent, Dion Waiters had 26 points, and the Nets bench was just a trainwreck, allowing Dion and Tristan Thompson to kill them in a hurricane of a third quarter. The Cavs exploited key weaknesses in Brooklyn's perimeter defense and rebounding, and it resulted in a total blowout. I think a lot of that stuff is still in play for tonight, especially because Brook Lopez is still out with a back injury.
Control the Glass. One of the biggest exploits the Cavs made last week was in exposing the Nets' hilariously bad rebounding. Brooklyn is 22nd in the league in both offensive and defensive rebounding rate, and that combined with a poor shooting night from the Nets' perimeter scorers led to the Cavs outrebounding the Nets 55-33. Kevin Love and Anderson Varejao pulled down 14 rebounds apiece, and Thompson added 12, as a front line consisting of Mason Plumlee, Mirza Teletovic, Jerome Jordan and Kevin Garnett's exoskeleton couldn't establish position inside on those three. Imagine that. The Cavs should get a big effort on the glass tonight due to the same circumstances.
Finally, Reverse Fortunes on the Perimeter. I harped on this in Monday's preview, but the Cavs absolutely need to hit perimeter shots tonight. They've been abysmal for three of four games now (although poor numbers in the Pelicans game were due to jacking shots attempting to come back), and their 8-30 performance Wednesday night was killer. I have to think they'll regress to the mean eventually, and a Brooklyn perimeter defense that let Toronto hit 10-20 3-pointers Wednesday is a prime candidate for this to happen. This reversal needs to come at the other end, too; the Cavs can't let a team hit 16 threes against them again. Brooklyn has Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Teletovic, and Bojan Bogdanovic, and all four can hit threes readily. The Cavs will need to give a better effort on the perimeter to keep Brooklyn out of the game, because that's really the only place I can see the Nets really hurting the Cavs defensively.
Fear the Sword's Fearless Prediction: Brooklyn's offense is a mess this season, and I don't expect them to be able to just dial up from distance like the Hawks did. The Cavs will win this one on the inside, where Love, Thompson, and Varejao are a perfect unit to cause disaster for the Nets frontcourt on both ends. We might have some D-Will or Seven-Time All Star™ magic, but I have to thing the Cavs rebound and take this one. Cavs 101, Nets 88.