The Cleveland Cavaliers are coming down the stretch to the playoffs, with just eight games remaining on the schedule. This is normally a time that teams attempt to navigate cautiously, trying to simultaneously stay in peak form to ride into the second season with good vibes while simultaneously providing adequate rest. That makes for some somewhat uninspiring basketball at times, as we have seen twice in the last week, in a 104-95 loss to the Brooklyn Nets last Thursday, and then again in a 106-100 loss to the Houston Rockets on Tuesday that featured a 20-point Cavs lead squandered. Results at the end of the year are rarely meaningful unless there are major playoff implications, and with no games against playoff teams of consequence in the past two weeks, the Cavs have been very much lacking in the way of meaningful contests.
Tonight they face the Brooklyn Nets again. Brooklyn is 21-53 and just had 139 points dropped on them by Noted Offensive Juggernaut the Orlando Magic. Somehow the Cavs lost to this team a week ago, despite that. However, even though they lost last time, there's no major storylines here. The Cavs might rest some guys. They might not. Sean Kilpatrick is a thing for Brooklyn, but the rest of their roster is.....well they've won 21 games. And even if the Cavs do lose to this team again, I can't see it really having new implications for the future that we don't already have concerns about.
So, rather than waste your time with another preview, just read Jack Zink's from a week ago if you want real content. Since anything I'd list as notable would just be plagarism, IT'S MAILBAG TIME.
Taking mailbag questions for tomorrow's Cavs/Nets preview because I can't think of anything to discuss for that game. Plz respond.— Yung Kurt Rambis (@IllegalScreens) March 31, 2016
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Brooklyn Nets
When: 7:00 p.m.
Where: Quicken Loans Arena - Cleveland, Ohio
TV: Fox Sports Ohio
Enemy Blog: NetsDaily
Music: All I Want is More - Reel Big Fish
Game Notes Preview Mailbag
@IllegalScreens Not in the form of a question: suggest a hobby people can pick up instead of watching end-of-regular-season NBA games— Carter Rodriguez (@Carter_Shade) March 31, 2016
Things you could do instead of watch the Cavs not care about the Nets game again, ranked:
10. Build an Ikea bookshelf
9. Cheer on the Columbus Blue Jackets' tanking efforts towards the number one pick with our friends at Jackets Cannon (one point out of the best odds!)
8. Take up running
7. Check out this Tumblr collection of the weirdest and strangest articles on Wikipedia
6. Yell at a half-finished Ikea bookshelf
5. Browse the Team Swish store for Pipe-related merchandise and apparel
4. NBA Draft scouting, just out of habit
3. Set LeBron plane tracking Google Alerts, just in case
internal reflection and self-betterment Yell about who the Browns should take
@IllegalScreens just write some Sergey Karasev fan fic— Al Ralston (@ARalsto) March 31, 2016
[extremely Sergey Karasev accent]
We reconvened in St. Petersburg for summer workouts. Four years passed since we had taken Bronze in London. We were young then, hopeful. That was supposed to be our chance to break through. Since, though, we had all fallen on rough times, like our grandparents during Bolshevik Rule. Alexey had entered NBA and washed out despite dominating for Knicks. Timo, once built like Kremlin, rendered useless by undersized Canadian warhorse. Sasha, buried under streets of Cleveland Ohio like fabled underground bourbon. Coach Blatt, torn down by American media and cast off for stepped-over Lue person. Even I had fallen on hard times; I was probably playing best of Russian team roster in NBA for Siberian oil tycoon and even that was offset by....how you Americans say.....team's "trash play." We were exhausted, defeated, and angry about our NBA experiences.
But new dawn approached, and we had a plan, hatched by Blatt. The Americans always talk of superteams. Even when they have superteam built they talk of building better superteam. "Well, why not Russian superteam?," Blatt said? We had united in Moscow for that purpose. It was simple plan. We would all join Shved at Khimki Moscow. Mozgov would shock world by forgoing max contract from Celtics after they struck out on so-called "stars." I struck deal with oil tycoon to release from restricted free agency to sign. Additionally we were joined by AK47 and Viktor Khryapa (we were surprised he was still around too). From there: Challenge Philadelphia 76ers to best of seven series in preseason. Winner gets in NBA. And from there, quest for NBA title begins.
Does someone have access to the Golden State Warriors win/loss record this season?— David Zavac (@DavidZavac) March 31, 2016
IDK man, they're probably like 10-6 or something. Someone should really tweet that out.
Anyone know why Andy V is playing?— Basketball Intellect (@RocketIntellect) March 31, 2016
This wasn't directly in response to the mailbag call, but it's a familiar question.
See, the Warriors have fallen into the trap the Cavs had the past two years. It's Andy! He's super nice! He can rebound! He's actually like, kind of healthy currently!
But he is still not that good at basketball anymore, and that has not changed since he signed with the Warriors. Really, Golden State needs center play down the stretch. They can't roll out Andrew Bogut for extended minutes, and Festus Ezeli's hurt again. It's not efficient to play Draymond Green at the five for half the game, so GSW's kind of stuck rolling out Varejao, and hoping he doesn't disrupt the game launching open 18-footers and over-rotating. He's actually been pretty much fine for them so far, shooting 47.5 percent from the field and not being a total trainwreck on the defensive end. It's not perfect, but it'll do for now, and then in the playoffs he won't be seeing the kind of minutes he is now. At that point he can go back to doing his sleeper agent thing.
@IllegalScreens are we doomed— Sources Chopz (@Pchopz_) March 31, 2016
Point: The Cavs were resting LeBron on Tuesday, so maybe the Rockets loss wasn't that bad.
doomed?— Ben Cox (@WFNYBen) February 27, 2016
Point: It is the end of the regular season, and individual games that haven't mattered to this team all year mean even less now. It'd be nice to see the team finish strong, but as long as you land the one seed, is there really a point?
DOOMED? https://t.co/ylLdaimdE5— Ben Cox (@WFNYBen) March 20, 2016
Point: Look at the rest of the East! Is there a team you see here that can really beat the Cavs four times in seven games?
DOOOOMED— Ben Cox (@WFNYBen) June 12, 2015
Point: The Cavs look outmatched against the Warriors, but they have to go through the Spurs and Thunder! The Cavs match up a ton better with both teams, and that's promising. And even if they land against the Warriors, they looked totally outmatched last year, and took them to six games anyway!
No matter how you slice it, things are probably still fine.
DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMED https://t.co/4owklyHDmD— Ben Cox (@WFNYBen) January 19, 2016
Fear the Sword's Fearless Prediction:
Oh. Hey, yeah, this is a preview. It's the Nets, so the Cavs should win. But it's the Cavs, so anything could happen. Cavs 100, Nets 100.