Simply put, this may be the battle between the NBA's most disappointing teams.
The Nets lost the last time these teams played. The Nets have lost to a ton of teams. Back then, there was still hope for Cleveland, too. But, since then, the Cavaliers have lost in bunches as well. With two point guards that would like to be considered elite, they've floundered under high expectations.
Someone suggested that the Nets should make an offer for Andrew Bynum, the NBA's biggest wildcard, which quickly prompted every Brooklyn fan in the nation to write a strongly worded letter to Billy King. Elsewhere, Joe Cool saved the day (and Chris Hooker!) in Oklahoma City.
This is the second straight game the Nets have played in which their opponent is missing their superstar-- they must take advantage if they'd like to right the ship once and for all. If the Nets win tonight, they'll likely find themselves just one game out of the playoffs.
We're talking about playoffs? Playoffs?
Well, we'll hold off on playoffs for now-- The BK Game breaks down this game below!
1. We finally saw a great game out of Deron Williams, can he repeat against the Irving-less Cavaliers?
Max Weisberg: Williams could (and should) be able to repeat his performance vs. OKC against anyone in the NBA -- especially the Cavs sans Irving. The only question will be: which role will Deron Williams be in? Will Kidd use the two point guard lineup again which allows Williams to become a scorer off the ball or will he use D-Will exclusively at point guard, allowing him to become the facilitator? With Shaun Livingston on the floor this season, Deron Williams' AST% is 24.4%. With Livingston on the bench this season, Williams' AST% increases to 34.4% -- clearly two different roles for D-Will.
Ben Nadeau: My fantasy team sure hopes so. But really, Williams had one of his better games of the year against OKC-- so, I'd to think he can come close to replicating it against the lowly Cavaliers. Jack isn't really known for his defense either. Last roundtable, I gave up on Deron Williams. This roundtable, I'm not ready to jump back on the bandwagon, but he's warming me up.
Will Rausch: I doubt Deron will match the season high 29 points he had against the Thunder, but there's a good chance he plays well against the Cavs. I'd say we're looking at more the double-doubles D-Will put up when he came back from his ankle injury in December. Jarret Jack is no scrub, but he's also not a stalwart defender. And let's create and buy into the narrative that the Nets want revenge for the opening night loss to the Cavs that set them on this odyssey of maladies that has been the 2013-14 season.
2. Should the Nets try to trade for Andrew Bynum?
Max Weisberg: If Bruce Ratner becomes majority owner of the Nets again, then yes, the Nets should trade for Bynum in order to save a couple million. Otherwise: NO.
Ben Nadeau: If anybody in the Brooklyn Nets franchise believes that Andrew Bynum is the answer to this team's problems-- they are sorely mistaken.
Will Rausch: Slowly step away from the trade machine, Billy King. For better or worse, this is the Nets team we should live with for now. It's time to put a moratorium on win now and win-nower moves.
3. With Irving out, which Cleveland player will give Brooklyn the most issues?
Max Weisberg: Jarrett Jack? It always seems like those quick-trigger point guards always give the Nets (and D-Will) trouble.
Ben Nadeau: Tristan Thompson, I guess. Garnett and Blatche aren't exactly the strongest forces inside anymore. Thompson is a hard-worker and has some decent range that will likely give them fits. Or Varejao-- he hustles too much not to have success against the Nets in the paint. Really, anybody that tries really hard will likely do well.
Will Rausch: Anderson Varejao. The floppy haired Brazilian is an inherently annoying and crafty player and the last time he played at Barclays, he dropped 35 points and 18 boards. In the Cavs first game without Irving on Tuesday, Varejao had a team high 18 points and 25 boards in the Cavs OT win.
Max Weisberg: Nets 102, Cavaliers 90
Ben Nadeau: Nets 100, Cavaliers 88
Will Rausch: Nets 95, Cavaliers 90