Cleveland Cavaliers vs Brooklyn Nets NBA Play-In Tournament Preview

Cleveland Cavaliers vs Brooklyn Nets NBA Play-In Tournament Preview

Kole Emplit
8 months ago
3 min read
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland (10) drives to the basket for an acrobatic layup against the Brooklyn Nets in the first half of Friday night's game from the Barclays Center.

The first NBA play in-game will be contested Tuesday by the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Brooklyn Nets. 

Tuesday's matchup between the two will be rewarded the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and a date with the second seeded Boston Celtics. The loser will host either the Charlotte Hornets or Atlanta Hawks. 

Nets vs. Cavaliers odds

The Nets will host the Cavaliers Tuesday at 7 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. 

Brooklyn opens as substantial home favorites, -8.5 with a -110 moneyline on that spread (meaning if you bet BKN -8.5, it will take $110 to return $100). Brooklyn will enter the contest on a four-game winning streak. Cleveland, however, is just 3-7 over their last ten games. 

Keys To The Game

Both teams want this seven seed. The powerhouse duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will look to make quick work of the Cavaliers. After being a preseason favorite to come out of the eastern conference, I believe the Nets will be fired up after struggling throughout the regular season. 

Most of the struggle lies on an unvaccinated Irving missing games and Durant dealing with an injury. 

The Nets hold a 3-1 lead in the season series, and they last played each other on Friday (also at Barclays Center). Brooklyn came away with a 118-107 victory, where Durant exploded for 36 points. 

Durant finished with a stellar line of 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 6.4 assists in 55 games played.

The Nets have dodged a bullet against the Cavaliers, as it’s likely all-star Jarrett Allen will be out still dealing with an injury. The Cavaliers had a 7-11 record and bottom ten net rating and defense since he went down. They had a top 10 net rating and top-five defense before the injury.

Head coach of Brooklyn, Steve Nash, said Monday he’s more than excited for the matchup. “We’re all excited," Nash said. "We’re still getting to know this group, so there’s confidence in there, but there’s also excitement to continue growing, building, and competing. We don’t know a ton about the group relative to the other teams that have been together for longer periods of time and had more continuity this season. That is true. That's fine when you don’t have the same continuity or history as a group. We should be excited about what we can build and accomplish in a short period of time and how difficult we can be to beat in a playoffs situation."

Cleveland will rely on the explosive Darius Garland. He’s been nothing short of a prolific scorer and a playmaking threat all season for the Cavaliers. The Gary, Indiana native, was named to his first all-star game this season, where he averaged 21.7 points along with 8.6 assists a night. 

Garland will not only have the responsibility of running the show for Cleveland, but he’ll also have to guard the former Cavalier guard in Irving. 

Caris LeVert and rookie Evan Mobley will be pieces to help Cleveland advance past Brooklyn. LeVert represents a big chunk of offensive creation. The newest addition to the Cavaliers has only appeared in 19 games, but he’s averaging 13.6 points and just under four assists. 

Mobley will have to bring the intensity. The current favorite for Rookie of the Year has been tremendous for Cleveland. However, he will need to step up big with Allen going down if Cleveland wants to make the first round.

Nets vs. Cavaliers Pick

Try not to overthink this one. Brooklyn is healthy and ready to go. Durant and Irving will be too much to handle for an injured Cleveland side. Expect the Nets to cover and book their ticket to Boston.

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