Nets Playoff Watch 3/24: Games that affect Brooklyn

Nets Kevin Durant Kyrie Irving
Kevin Durant sits next to guard Kyrie Irving during the second half against the Miami Heat at FTX Arena.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
After suffering a loss at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies, the Brooklyn Nets boast a record of 38-35, which places them eighth in the East. Brooklyn is taking the night off, but the hunt for playoff positioning, of course, goes on. There are a number of Eastern Conference teams playing tonight whose games will directly impact the playoff implications surrounding the Nets.

The Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Toronto Raptors — who currently hold the fifth, sixth, and seventh seeds, respectively — all play tonight. Chicago will face CJ McCollum and the New Orleans Pelicans, while the Cavaliers and Raptors will face off against each other. The glass-half-full way to interpret that is that one team will lose and fall ever closer to the Nets in the standings.

Brooklyn currently sits four and a half games behind Chicago, three and a half behind Cleveland, and just two and a half games behind the Toronto Raptors.

Toronto Raptors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (7:30 p.m.)

The Raptors travel to Cleveland tonight to face off against Darius Garland and the Cavaliers. At this moment, Malachi Flynn is the only player confirmed to be out for Toronto, but both OG Annunoby and Gary Trent Jr. are listed as questionable. Cleveland, meanwhile, continues to be without Jarrett Allen and Collin Sexton. The Cavaliers will also be without Rajon Rondo and Dean Wade.

This game is a much watch not only because of the playoff implications for Brooklyn but also the rookie battle between third overall pick Evan Mobley and fourth overall pick Scottie Barnes. The two young stars are among the top rookies from the 2022 class and have been impactful players on both sides of the court.

Again, this game is a win-win for the Brooklyn Nets as one team is guaranteed to finish tonight a half-game closer to the nets in the standings.

Betting Lines

Per FanDuel, Toronto opens tonight’s game as the favorites to win the matchup.

  • Spread: Toronto -5
  • Toronto Moneyline: -200
  • Cleveland Moneyline: +168
  • O/U: 215
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Chicago Bulls @ New Orleans Pelicans (8 p.m.)

Chicago comes to New Orleans following a rough outing against the Milwaukee Bucks. Things aren’t expected to be much better as the Bulls will be missing two stars heading into the matchup. Point guard Lonzo Ball remains out after suffering a setback following arthroscopic knee surgery. Chicago will also be without DeMar DeRozan, who is dealing with a strained adductor following the loss to Milwaukee.

The Pelicans, meanwhile, are not without their own injury concerns as they continue to be without Brandon Ingram, Larry Nance, and Kira Lewis. This is not to forget — for lack of a better term — the elephant in the room,  Zion Williamson, who has yet to play a game this season. In spite of these losses, the Pelicans are expected to take tonight’s game which plays very well into the Brooklyn Nets’ hands.

Betting Lines

Per FanDuel, New Orleans opens tonight’s game as the favorites to win the matchup.

  • Spread: New Orleans -3
  • Chicago Moneyline: +122
  • New Orleans Moneyline: -144
  • O/U: 224