The Cavs will take on the new look Brooklyn Nets in a two-game mini-series starting tonight. There’s no shortage of storylines to follow as the Cavs appear to be healthy, Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince are available to play, and Kyrie Irving makes his first trip back to Cleveland in four years.
How to watch:
Tip-off is at 7:00PM on Fox Sports Ohio, Fox Sports Go, and NBA League Pass.
The Cavs will be without Kevin Love, Matthew Dellavedova (concussion), Dylan Windler (wrist) and Kevin Porter Jr. (personal) tonight. Collin Sexton and Darius Garland are questionable. Sexton, Garland, and Windler went through full contact practice Monday and Tuesday. There’s reason to believe that all three could be back in the lineup shortly. We won’t know officially if Sexton and/or Garland are available until closer to tipoff, but I’m going to be optimistic here and say both will play.
Cavs: Darius Garland / Collin Sexton / Isaac Okoro / Larry Nance Jr. / Andre Drummond
Nets: Kyrie Irving / James Harden / Joe Harris / Kevin Durant / DeAndre Jordan
Things to watch for:
- The offense will need to get going: The Cavs’ defense has been good so far this year, but they won’t be able to contain the Nets. Brooklyn has scored 122 and 125 points in their first two games since acquiring James Harden. Adding Kyrie Irving to the mix should only help their offense. The Cavs offense will need to be performing at their best if they’re going to stay in this game. Nets’ defense is suspect at best so that will help some. Even at that, there probably isn’t a path to victory unless Sexton, Garland, or Drummond have a monster scoring game.
- Isaac Okoro’s defensive matchup: Okoro has shown promising signs on the defensive end this year. He’ll be put to the test tonight as he’ll most likely be asked to guard Harden and Durant for stretches. I expect Harden and Durant to mostly have their way with the rookie. Few defenders can stay in front of either player so I don’t expect a rookie to have much success either. Regardless of the result, it’ll be fun to watch Okoro grow and develop in real-time. I’m hoping we get to see a couple plays where he gets the better of Harden or Durant. This will be process over results game for the rookie.
- Collin Sexton vs. Kyrie Irving: Sexton will always be linked to Irving through no fault of his own. However, it’ll still be fun to see them share the floor together. Sexton was fantastic to start the year. We’ll see if he can keep up his crazy scoring numbers (25.1 points per game on .531/.416/.829 shooting) in his first game back.
- The new look Cavs: This will be Allen and Prince’s first game in a Cavs’ uniform. It’ll be interesting to see how J.B. Bickerstaff incorporates both into the rotation. This should be our first look at what we all hope is a future contending lineup of Sexton, Garland, Okoro, and Allen. The future could be bright in Cleveland. We should our first glimpse of what that might actually look like tonight.