Nets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Preview: The ankle, the new guys, the sneaky good Cavs

Deron Williams
Deron Williams kicks his season off against Kyrie Irving & the Cleveland Cavaliers. (AP)
Deron Williams
Deron Williams kicks his season off against Kyrie Irving & the Cleveland Cavaliers. (AP)

Finally. The Brooklyn Nets travel to Cleveland to take on the new-look Cleveland Cavaliers. here’s how the squads break down:

Starting Lineups:
Brooklyn Nets: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Brook Lopez.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Earl Clark, Tristan Thompson, Anderson Varejao.

Notable Injures:
Brooklyn Nets: Andrei Kirilenko (back spasms), OUT, Shaun Livingston (neck stiffness), ACTIVE
Cleveland Cavaliers: Andrew Bynum (knee, hair) OUT

Also OUT: Nets head coach Jason Kidd, who is serving a two-game suspension following a guilty plea for driving while impaired by alcohol.

Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
Watch: 7:00 PM (ET) on NBA TV, FSOH, YES
Listen: WFAN 660 / 101.9 FM

Three Things to Watch:

1. Game One! (!!!!!)
Anticipation finally becomes reality! Tonight, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett play in their first game that counts for the Brooklyn Nets. So this is must-see TV tonight for every reason about the Nets that you’ve heard drilled into your head since June. But, also watch for Andrew Bynum’s hair, it’s become a wildcard of hilarity over the past year and who knows what it’ll look like tonight.

2. Deron Williams
Hampered by a sprained ankle all preseason, Williams notched just ten minutes in their final preseason game against the Miami Heat. Thankfully, he looked spry and ready to go. Tonight, the Nets have said they’ll monitor his minutes and keep a close eye on the franchise point guard’s injury. Williams’ health is of the utmost importance, so we’ll see how Brooklyn approaches it with Miami on the schedule Friday. As he said this week: don’t run plays, make them.

3. The Cavaliers
The Nets have dominated headlines all offseason, but the Cavaliers got sneaky good this summer and there aren’t a ton of people talking about it. Tristan Thompson looks primed to make a run at the NBA’s Most Improved Player award. Dion Waiters will build off of solid rookie campaign. Kyrie Irving is, of course, Kyrie Irving.

Aside from that, they’ve signed should-have-been 6th Man of the Year from last season, Jarrett Jack and Anderson Varejao has always played well against the Nets. Oh, and you probably don’t even remember but this year’s #1 draft pick will suit up for his first career NBA game tonight as Anthony Bennett joins an already strong Cleveland frontcourt.