The Brooklyn Nets take on the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight in the hopes of turning a two-game Orlando mess into a three-game winning streak. Here's what you need to know.
The Who/What/Where/When: The Brooklyn Nets take on the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight (Tuesday, November 13th), at Barclays Center at 7:30 P.M. The Cavaliers are ending their six-game road trip tonight. The Nets are in the second game of a three-game homestand.
TV/Radio: Tonight's game will be broadcast on YES Network and WFAN Radio. Ian Eagle and Mike Fratello are on the YES call. Chris Carrino and Tim Capstraw are on radio.
Starters: With Crash out for the fifth straight game, the Brooklyn Nets will presumably again start Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Keith Bogans, Kris Humphries, and Brook Lopez. The Cavaliers are expected to start Kyrie Irving, rookie Dion Waiters, Alonzo Gee, Tristan Thompson, and Anderson Varejao.
Key reserves: The Brooklyn Nets will be without MarShon Brooks again, meaning they'll lean heavily on their starting backcourt to anchor their second unit. The Nets have given their biggest minutes to C.J. Watson, Andray Blatche, and Reggie Evans, and also employ Destroyer of Worlds and Space-Time Jerry Stackhouse. The Cavaliers have three-point specialist Daniel Gibson, who Avery Johnson compared to J.J. Redick, are without Tyler Zeller due to injury, and have given 95 minutes to C.J. Miles, who has a PER of -3.8.
Key Advanced Statistics:
Brooklyn Nets: Offensive rating 103.9 (10th), Defensive rating 100.9 (12th), 89.5 possessions per game (28th)
Cleveland Cavaliers: Offensive rating 101.2 (21st), Defensive rating 107.4 (24th), 96.3 possessions per game (2nd)
Brooklyn Nets Offense (league rank): eFG% .485 (12th), TOV% 14.7 (18th), ORB% 27.9 (10th), FT/FGA .211 (16th)
Cleveland Cavaliers Offense (league rank): eFG% .492 (11th), TOV% 16.0 (26th), ORB% 27.7 (11th), FT/FGA .193 (20th)
Brooklyn Nets Defense (league rank): eFG% .489 (21st), TOV% 13.3 (23rd), DRB% 75.4% (9th), FT/FGA .153 (2nd)
Cleveland Cavaliers Defense (league rank): eFG% .551 (30th), TOV% 17.1 (T-1st), DRB% 77.5 (3rd), FT/FGA .228 (23rd)
Season standings: The Brooklyn Nets are 3-2 after back-to-back wins against Orlando. The Cleveland Cavaliers are 2-5 and have dropped three straight.
Battle of bookends: Led by Kyrie Irving offensively, the Cavaliers run a balanced offensive attack, scoring particularly well in spot-up situations and creating out of the pick-and-roll. Their key defensively is center Anderson Varejao, though the team as a whole has struggled defending all sorts of plays early on. The Nets, led by Deron Williams and Brook Lopez, should match up well (or at least interestingly) with these two.
In 2K13: Brooklyn Nets win, 107-89. Even fighting injuries, the imaginary Brooklyn team remains undefeated, taking down the hapless Cleveland Cavaliers. The game was tied 54-all at the half before Joe Johnson exploded for 28 points in the second half, including seven three-pointers. Johnson led all scorers with 34 points, followed by Brooklyn Backcourt mate Deron Williams with 19 and 14 assists. Brook Lopez added 12 points and 9 rebounds. Kyrie Irving led the Cavaliers, who shot 42% on the game but 50% from deep, with 26 points.
NBA 2K13 Record: 6-0
2K13 as predictor: 3-2
The Nets will win if... Frankly, they should win. This Cavaliers team is competitive and should give them a fight on the strength of Kyrie Irving's awesomeness and Anderson Varejao's hair alone, but the Nets have a monopoly on this game's talent in the starting lineup and on the bench. If they can play to their strengths and continue to create out of the pick-and-roll, they should be fine. One caveat: before tonight's game, Avery Johnson noted that this Brooklyn Nets team has a tendency to abandon a unified plan after getting a big lead, instead going with "five plans." Anyone who's seen them blow the big leads against Minnesota and Orlando can attest to that.
The Cavs will win if... The Nets take Kyrie Irving about as seriously as they did last year and he goes supernova. If Anderson Varejao locks down defensively and cuts off every lane to the basket. If Joe Johnson somehow cannot take advantage of his obvious matchup advantages. If up is down and The Black House lives in Washington, D.C. If John Calipari enters the Nets locker room, yells "La Familia!!" and recruits every Nets player to Kentucky.