Tonight against the Brooklyn Nets, the Cleveland Cavaliers have a perfect opportunity to get things back on track. Having lost six of their last eight games, the league-worst Nets represent a clear opportunity to get a needed win and get things rolling again.
But will they?
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Brooklyn Nets
Where: Quicken Loans Arena - Cleveland, Ohio
When: 7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Ohio
Enemy Blog: Nets Daily
Music: T-Shirt - Migos
- Coming into the game, the Nets are 9-36. They are the only team in the NBA with a losing percentage under .300. Every useful statistic will tell you the same thing: the Nets are really, really bad.
- And despite what the last eight games have indicated, Cleveland is still really, really good. Partly due to the struggles of the Raptors and Celtics, the Cavs still have a three game lead for the East’s No. 1 seed. They still have a top-five record in the NBA. The drama surrounding the team right now doesn’t feel as toxic or significant as anything from the past two years.
- The best possible outcome for the Cavs Friday would be a clean, dominant win. A game like Wednesday’s overtime loss to the Kings or Monday’s loss to the Anthony Davis-less Pelicans is really only going to increase frustrations. Weird things happen, but three teams in a row with the third loss being to the league’s worst team would be a bit wonky.
- As far as Brooklyn players to watch, you know Brook Lopez. But another guy to watch is Caris LeVert. He recently dissolved Wayne Ellington’s ankles and Nets coach Kenny Atkinson wants LeVert to learn as he goes late in games. He’s long, looks skilled and is a chance for Brooklyn to develop a useful young player in an era where their war chest is basically bare.
- Let’s see how many minutes LeBron plays tonight. Ideally, he’d get to rest most/all of the fourth tonight in an easy win. For reference, here are his minute totals for the last five games: 35, 39:08, 45:20, 43:43 ad 44:49. The last one is an overtime game, but it’s still minutes played. And it’s probably too many.
- Per the Cavs’ preview, Richard Jefferson is still listed as out after the birth of his son. As a result, expect James Jones to again see minutes. For the Nets, ex-Cav Joe Harris won’t play due to an ankle injury. Jeremy Lin is also out.
- And in case you missed it, Anthony Bennett is no longer a Net. He now plays for Fenerbahce in Turkey.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction
It’s just hard to see the Cavs losing here, even if they play badly. Cavs 104, Nets 92.