Nets-Cavs play-in sport: Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving prepared for scoring assault, however can Cleveland hold tempo?

Of all of the groups within the Jap Convention you might have picked for the play-in video games, the Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers had been most likely on the backside of the checklist. The Nets had been anticipated to compete for the No. 1 seed because the preseason title favourite, however an damage to Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving’s vaccination standing and an surprising commerce demand from James Harden led them to the No. 7 seed.

The Cavs, alternatively, had meager expectations after ending with the fourth-worst file within the NBA final season. They have been an amazing story, led by breakout performances from Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen and rookie Evan Mobley, together with an amazing defensive turnaround sparked by head coach J.B. Bickerstaff.

The groups took reverse paths to get right here, however they’re going to meet on Tuesday with the winner incomes the correct to face the No. 2-seeded Boston Celtics within the first spherical and the loser shifting on to an elimination sport on Friday towards the winner of Wednesday’s matchup between the Charlotte Hornets and Atlanta Hawks.

Here is a glance at first time, TV data and odds, together with three issues to know for the play-in matchup.

(7) Brooklyn Nets vs. (8) Cleveland Cavaliers

  • When: Tuesday, April 12 | 7 p.m. ET
  • The place: Barclays Middle — Brooklyn, New York
  • TV: TNT | Stay stream: TNT
  • Odds: BKN -420; CLE +320; O/U 228.5 (through Caesars Sportsbook)

Featured Sport | Brooklyn Nets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

1. All-out assault from Okay.D. and Kyrie

If the Brooklyn Nets are to someway make good on their preseason favourite standing regardless of the accidents, trades and drama related to this season, it may come down to 2 gamers: Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. They’re each able to scoring 50-plus in any given sport, and so they simply might need to given the scarcity of offensive firepower on the remainder of Brooklyn’s roster. Durant averaged practically 30 factors this season and Irving averaged 27.4. The following-highest scoring common on the workforce was Seth Curry’s 14.7, and he is solely performed 19 video games with the workforce.

So sure, Okay.D. and Kyrie must rating, however they’re going to even be tasked with facilitating when Cleveland sends double-teams and traps at them. Durant is greater than succesful as a passer, evidenced by his career-high 16 assists in a win over the Indiana Pacers on the ultimate day of the common season. When Durant registered 9 assists or extra this season, the Nets had a 9-2 file, in comparison with a 7-6 file when he scored 35 factors or extra. That is a sign of how vital it’s for Durant to get his teammates concerned on Tuesday towards the Cavs, and never essentially look to take over as a scorer early.

When Durant and Irving have performed collectively this season, they have been nearly unstoppable offensively. After the James Harden commerce, the Nets scored an unbelievable 123.6 factors per 100 possessions with Durant and Irving on the ground. That is powerful for any protection to include, not to mention one which might be lacking its main rim protector because of Jarrett Allen’s finger damage.

Nets coach Steve Nash has by no means been afraid to play his stars for enormous minutes, so that you higher imagine Durant and Irving might be on the courtroom for almost all of Tuesday’s matchup. Meaning they need to each put up unbelievable numbers with the No. 7 seed on the road. And if it comes all the way down to the ultimate possessions, Durant is among the league’s finest clutch performers who’s come via time and time once more on the postseason stage.

2. Garland, LeVert should be nice

Previous to Allen’s damage, the Cavs largely gained due to their protection, which was fourth within the NBA on the time. Within the 18 video games for the reason that huge man went down, nonetheless, Cleveland had the Twenty second-ranked protection within the league, and a 7-11 file to go together with it. That is all to say that in an effort to beat Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and the Nets on Tuesday, they will have to attain … quite a bit.

The excellent news is that the Nets are an important workforce to attempt to rating towards, twentieth within the league for the common season with a defensive score of 112.3. For all of the credit score Durant deserves offensively, he is additionally essential to the Brooklyn protection, whose score is 4 factors worse when Durant sits. If Nash elects to provide his star participant even the slightest quantity of relaxation, it is important that the Cavs take benefit.

That is going to start out with Garland, a breakout All-Star this season who averaged 21.7 factors and eight.6 assists on 46/38/89 taking pictures splits. The Cavs’ offensive score improves by over 10 factors per 100 possessions when Garland’s on the ground, so he’ll must be in high type in an effort to hold tempo with the Nets’ scoring assault.

When Garland has gone to the bench, nonetheless, issues have fallen off a cliff. He most likely will not sit a lot on Tuesday, however when he does it is going to be as much as mid-season acquisition Caris LeVert to hold the offensive torch. Thus far that hasn’t occurred this season, because the Cavs have solely mustered a paltry 103.4 factors per 100 possessions in 173 minutes with LeVert on the courtroom and Garland on the bench. The Cavs must be very cautious to not lose management of the sport when Garland will get his relaxation.

With Garland and LeVert on the courtroom collectively, nonetheless, the Cavs have been dynamic offensively, placing up 118.4 factors per 100 possessions. That simply is likely to be sufficient to maintain up with the Nets, however each Garland and LeVert must be on their sport.

3. Evan Mobley, X-factor

It is arduous to foretell how rookies will carry out within the postseason, however all the things we have seen from Mobley, a Rookie of the 12 months favourite, signifies that he will not shrink within the second. Assuming Durant, Irving, Garland and LeVert all convey their A-game, Mobley might be the swing consider Tuesday’s matchup.

With Allen out, Mobley might be tasked with defending the rim towards Okay.D. and Kyrie, who’re each proficient finishers, whereas additionally preserving the likes of Andre Drummond and Nicolas Claxton off the offensive glass. That is no easy job, after which the Cavs will probably additionally want him to attain in an effort to hold tempo with Brooklyn’s assault. The Cavs had been 4-1 this season when Mobley scored 24 or extra factors, and so they could want that sort of effort from him if they will win on Tuesday.


There needs to be loads of scoring on this one with Allen unable to swimsuit up, so get your popcorn prepared. The Cavs have simply been too poor defensively in current weeks to decelerate the Durant-Irving offensive barrage, so the Nets will finally draw back for the win. That being stated, it needs to be shut down the stretch, so the Cavs ought to cowl the comparatively giant unfold. Picks: Nets ML, Cavs +8.5

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