1) Dion Waiters.
With All-Star guard Kyrie Irving sidelined, the Cavaliers have looked to second-year guard Dion Waiters to make up the difference, and he’s delivered: he’s scored 24 points per game in the last five games, shooting 48.5 percent from the field on just over 20 shots per game. Waiters also scored 26 points on 9-18 shooting on January 4th, the last meeting between the Nets and Cavaliers. Thanks to Irving’s injury, Cleveland’s offense has shifted to creating shots for Waiters (or perhaps Waiters creating shots for himself), a volume scorer who’s struggled mightily near the rim all season despite getting most of his shots inside.
The Nets have an ideal guard to deter Waiters in Shaun Livingston, and they’ll look to funnel his opportunities to low-impact areas on the floor. Waiters has decent jump-shooting numbers on the season, but he’s hardly a major perimeter threat. Since the Cavaliers have a few three-point shooters around Waiters (Spencer Hawes, C.J. Miles, and Matthew Dellavedova have all shot at least 36 percent from deep this season), it’ll be best for them to let Livingston defend him in man coverage and hope the bigs can help low defensively.