The Cavs kick off a quick three-game road trip today in Brooklyn against the Nets.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers at Brooklyn Nets
When: 1 p.m.
Where: Barclays Center - Brooklyn, New York
TV: Fox Sports Ohio
Enemy Blog: NetsDaily
Cavaliers injuries: Jeff Green (OUT - illness), Cedi Osman (OUT - hip), Kyle Korver (OUT/Not with team - personal)
Nets injuries: Jeremy Lin (OUT - Ruptured patella tendon)
Three keys to the game
- The Nets pick currently has the sixth-best odds of being No. 1 overall, per tankathaon. Currently, the Nets are one game back of the Magic for fifth place and one game back of the Mavericks for fourth. In short: It’s a tight race for that pick, and with time running out, every loss for the Nets matters.
- The Cavs are closer to being healthy than they’ve been in some time with only three players out. More adjustments could come when Korver, Green and Osman are back, but for today, Larry Drew can get pretty close to a full rotation. Expect a starting lineup that better resembles what the Cavs will use in the playoffs than what Cleveland used against the Suns when Larry Nance Jr. and Rodney Hood returned.
- The Cavs enter Sunday one game up on the 76ers for the No. 3 seed with Philadelphia off Sunday. If Cleveland picks up a win today, it would give the team a little extra cushion on the No. 3 seed and a pretty optimal setup for the playoffs. As of today, the Cavs would face the Wizards in round one, the winner of Celtics-Heat in round two and (assumedly) the top-seeded Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Nets’ most dangerous players are at the guard spots, where Spencer Dinwiddie, D’Angelo Russell and Allen Crabbe can all score in bursts. For the Cavs to pick up an easy win here, it’d go along way for George Hill and Jordan Clarkson to outplay Dinwiddie and Russell. In particular, a good performance from Clarkson — particularly on defense, where he could be on ball vs. Russell or off-ball against Crabbe or Joe Harris — would bode well for Cleveland.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction
The Nets are pesky and have played the Cavs tough this season. But the Cavs are feeling good at the moment having won three straight game and they have LeBron James and Kevin Love — two players the Nets really don’t have answers for. Cavs 110, Nets 101.