The Cleveland Cavaliers will take on the Brooklyn Nets in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Cleveland will be without potential Rookie of the Year Evan Mobley, lost to injury, and Jarrett Allen, while the Nets will be without Ben Simmons and Seth Curry. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant will be full participants as the Nets gear up for the postseason.
The Cavs and Nets are currently the seven and eighth seeds in the Eastern Conference and could soon meet again in the play-in tournament if seedings hold; both are guaranteed to be in the play-in, and all that is left to be determined is where they fit in with the Atlanta Hawks and Charlotte Hornets. That being said, let’s see how these teams stack up against each other so you can make your bets against their NBA Odds.
Basketball Preview for Cleveland Cavaliers at Brooklyn | NBA Betting Picks
Cleveland Cavaliers Analysis
The Cleveland Cavaliers were the early surprise of the NBA season before Memphis Grizzlies supplanted them, but even if they have fallen out of the top four places in the conference, they have drastically overachieved this season. Both Jarrett Allen and Darius Garland made the All-Star team, and Kevin Love has been one of the multiple players to shine in their role.
With all of that being said, the Cavs have lost seven of their last nine and are headed on a downhill course. Losing both of their usual frontcourt starters has increased the burden on Garland specifically but also reduced the team’s punch off of the bench.
Just the other day, the Orlando Magic ended their six-game win streak with a 15-point win against Cleveland, a game in which Garland went for 27 points and ten assists, and Lauri Markkanen scored 25 points with six threes.
The Cavs still have a chance to make noise in the postseason if they can get Mobley and Allen back on the court, but for now, they are playing closer to the level that most expected them to during the offseason.
Brooklyn Nets Analysis
The Brooklyn Nets are a game-and-a-half behind the Cavs in the standings, claiming a record of 41-38. They, too, have not been on the best run and have lost four of their last seven games, most notably a 122-115 game to the Atlanta Hawks, in which Kevin Durant scored a career-high 55 points for the loss. It took 42 from Kyrie Irving to get them back on track against the Rockets Tuesday evening.
Just like LeBron James just called his Cavaliers “top-heavy as (expletive),” the Nets need some help from their role players if they are going to accomplish anything spectacular in the big picture. Durant and Irving frequently show out and dominate the scoring, but the rest of the squad’s defensive inefficiencies and reluctance to make smart, timely plays has hindered them.
In a way, Brooklyn looks very similar to how the Cavs do right now; they have the firepower from their stars, but they cannot rely on their supporting cast to excel in their roles.
All in all, the Nets have a slight advantage for Thursday night’s meeting, but this could change if the Cavs get their usual frontcourt pairing back for the play-in.
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