The Brooklyn Nets, who were favored to win the title at the start of the season, now find themselves in the first of potentially two play-in games. Catch this game live on April 13, at 7:00 AM, Manila time.
Away: Cleveland Cavaliers
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Darius Garland
- SG: Caris LeVert
- SF: Isaac Okoro
- PF: Lauri Markannen
- C: Evan Mobley
The Cavs ended the regular season on a high note, getting a victory over the defending champions behind Kevin Love’s insane 32 points and 10 rebounds in 15 minutes of play. They’re going to need more of that super-sub production from Love if they’re going to hope to beat the Nets, who aren’t your typical eighth seed.
Jarrett Allen has been ruled out of the game, taking away a big piece of their big-man depth. Yes, they’ve still got Darius Garland, who’s averaging 21.7 points and 8.6 assists per game, and he’s been thriving ever since Collin Sexton shut things down for the season. Whether or not that will be enough against the Nets is a different question, and they’ll also need a big performance from Evan Mobley, a likely pick for Rookie of the Year who is averaging 15 points and 8.3 rebounds a game.
It’s an uphill battle for the Cavs, who are 14-12-1 ATS this season as away underdogs.
Home: Brooklyn Nets
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Kyrie Irving
- SG: Bruce Brown
- SF: Kessler Edwards
- PF: Kevin Durant
- C: Andre Drummond
Brooklyn are that one team that nobody wants to face in the playoffs, or play-ins. They didn’t have the easiest of times in their final game of the season, a 132-126 win against the rebuilding Indiana Pacers, but they’ll take to heart that they got a solid production from their supporting players. While Kevin Durant struggled from the field with a 5 of 17 performance, he did finish with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 16 assists to back up Kyrie Irving’s 35 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
They also got 20 points and 13 boards from Andre Drummond along with 21 points and seven rebounds from Bruce Brown. They will need their roleplayers to continue performing because their tight rotation due to lingering injuries means that defenders will have a lot more time to close in on Durant and Irving.
Still, Durant is an absolute monster in the postseason, and was probably a toe on the three-point line away from sending the Milwaukee Bucks packing last season. Now that he’s got Irving available for home games, it’s hard to believe that they’re going to win. They also won the season series against the Cavaliers 3-1.
The Nets are dead last in the season ATS as home favorites with an atrocious 5-26-1 record.
Spread: I think the Cavaliers keep it close, and manage to cover the +8.5 spread, even if they don’t win.
Over/Under: I believe that the game will slow down a bit with what’s at stake, and that the under 228.5 would be a good pick.