This will be the Brooklyn Nets’ first meeting with the Cleveland Cavaliers since last month’s pair of blockbuster trades. It’s also the first leg of their back-to-back matchups.
Catch the game tomorrow at 7:30 AM, Manila time.
HOME: Brooklyn Nets (39-32, 19-14 HOME)
Projected starting five:
- Spencer Dinwiddie
- Cam Johnson
- Mikal Bridges
- Dorian Finney-Smith
- Nic Claxton
These newly re-structured Nets are consistently inconsistent. They have now lost three-straight after previously going 5-1 in a six-game stretch, and before that, they dropped four in a row. Interestingly enough, however, they’re 6-0 in their last six games ATS.
In any case, the good thing with this squad, which will continue to be as such, is the promising core led by Mikal Bridges. Once a defensive specialist more than anything, the 26-year-old has become a scorer. In 16 games as a Net, he’s currently averaging 25.9 points, and playing more confident than ever. Fellow newcomer Cam Johnson (16.5 PPG) has also shined, as well as the returning Net, Spencer Dinwiddie (17.5 PPG). Nic Claxton, meanwhile, is continuing to improve, as he has chipped in 13.5 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks since January 16th.
The Nets are scoring 110.1 PPG with a -3.6 net rating under this new core (17 games).
AWAY: Cleveland Cavaliers (45-28, 16-20 AWAY)
Projected starting five:
- Darius Garland
- Donovan Mitchell
- Isaac Okoro
- Jarrett Allen (day-to-day) / Lamar Stevens
- Evan Mobley
There’s a lot to like about the Cavaliers. They are winners in six of their last eight games on 113.9 PPG with a +8 net rating, and they’re also the season-long leaders in points allowed per game (106.6) and defensive rating. There’s a concern every time they are outside Cleveland, as seen in that 16-20 road record, but they are currently 3-1 in their four previous road games.
As always, the attack will start with the guards. Expect the fun backcourt of Donovan Mitchell (27.4 PPG) and Darius Garland (21.9 PPG, 7.8 APG) to keep doing their thing and provide a variety of offense. The latter actually had 46 points in that 125-117 loss to Brooklyn last December, although it was still against the Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving-led Nets.
Jarrett Allen is still day-to-day, and if he’s unavailable, Evan Mobley will continue manning the interior. Mobley has had a nice run in the past month and he has posted 19.3 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks over the last four contests that Allen sat out.
Cleveland is 6-4 in its last 10 games ATS.
Handicap: The Cavs (-2.5) win and cover the spread.Over/Under: The total hits the over (218).