FanPost

Game #47 Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers at New Jersey Nets

When you're trying to make a run at the #8 seed, you can't blow huge 4th quarter leads. Unfortunately for the Nets, that's exactly what happened last game vs. the Hornets. They look to snap their two game losing streak against the #10 seed Cavaliers. The Cavs are coming off of a loss to the Hawks on Sunday and are looking to bounce back as well. Cleveland is three games ahead of the Nets in the standings, and 3.5 games behind #8 seed New York.

Let's see how these teams compare:

Offensive Efficiency

Defensive Efficiency

Free Throw Rate

Turnover Rate

Offensive Rebounding %

Effective Field Goal %

Opponent's eFG%

Cleveland

99.3

103.1

31.5

14.33

29.34

47.15

49.59

New Jersey

100.5

108.2

27.9

14.84

28.6

47.92

51.86

League Average

101

101

28.2

13.97

27.2

48.3

48.3

Taking a look at the Cavaliers, they're still not any good but they've made huge strides compared to last seasons. Their strength lies in their offensive rebounding prowess (even though Anderson Varejao has been out due to injury), which helps power their below league average offensive attack. They have a bit of a turnover problem, so the Nets need to take advantage of that.

As for the Nets, their league worst defense reared its ugly head in the 4th quarter against NOLA as they allowed 32 points and turned what was a 12 point lead into a deflating 8 point loss.

Last time I saw you

And before we jump, let's take a trip back into time. Either way, someone's gonna be sad after watching this.

Tip-off is at 7:30. Jump it up!

Point Guard: Kyrie Irving vs. Deron Williams

The former Blue Devil (LOL Duke) has had a great rookie season so far and is all but assured of winning the Rookie of the Year award. I think practically everyone expected him to be the focal point of the offense, and he has been (28% usage rate). That hasn't slowed him down as he's been very efficient with his shot (.568 TS% is excellent in its own right, but as a rookie? Outstanding.) He keeps his teammates involved as well, as evidenced by his 22 Assist Rate is acceptable. And the scary part about Irving is that, barring injury, he's only gonna get better.

Williams came back Saturday after missing some time due to a calf strain, and the results were mixed. He did well in setting up his teammates (12 assists), but his shot just wasn't there as he shot just 9-24 from the field. I keep saying "Deron's efficiency will come back, just give it time," but the inefficient shooting has been the bane of his existence all season, and I wonder if his shooting will be where it was when he was a member of the Jazz.

Advantage: Nets Even (Edit at 11:08 PM) On second thought, I'm gonna change it to even. For those that may ask, I'm doing it because this is Williams's second game back from injury while Irving has been playing at a high level. Yes, I'd take Deron's track record and as to if he's better than Kyrie, I'd say yes. That being said, Irving has actually had the better season between the two. Even acknowledges Williams's past performance and reputation while also acknowledging Irving's awesome play.

Shooting Guard: Anthony Parker vs. Marshon Brooks

The only good thing Parker does well is shoot threes (36% this year, 40% career), so the Nets and their league-worst (I say worst with the Nets a lot unfortunately) three point defense will lead to some opportunities for Parker.

On the surface, Brooks's 3-7 vs. NOLA isn't all that impressive. But he did have 5 trips to the free throw line and 3 attempts at the rim, so that's a trend I'd like to see continue for the rookie 2 guard.

Advantage: Nets

Small Forward: Alonzo Gee vs. Gerald Wallace

Gee is coming off a nice game against the Hawks. He had an efficient 20 points (9-16) and was a force on the offensive glass (4 offensive rebounds). The Nets and their third worst (there goes that word again) defensive rebounding rate will probably lead to a ton of second chance opportunities for Gee and the rest of the Cavaliers.

Because I'm lazy dedicated, I'll repost what I originally had posted for Wallace in the Nets-Magic preview:

So Gerald, where do you end up after you leave a team (Portland) that's falling apart at the seams? New Jersey, where a lot of members of the fanbase hate that management gave up a Top 3 protected pick for you, pissed off that Dwight Howard did Dwight Howard things, and panicked that Deron Williams might leave in Free Agency. Welcome to the Nets! But on a more serious note, Wallace has been decent this season. While he is in decline, getting away from all the foolishness being perpetuated on Blazer fans and teammates by Raymond Felton, Paul Allen and others probably outta help Wallace. That, and having a superb passing guard in Williams too. When Wallace got to Portland, he played with great passer Andre Miller and played much better than he did in Charlotte (.590 TS% in Portland vs. .530 in Charlotte and a .154 WS/48 as a Blazer vs. a 0.92 WS/48 as a Bobcat). It probably won't happen here, but I hope he cuts down on his three point attempts. Do we really need a career 31% three point shooter tossing up 3's?

So how'd Wallace do? He took 5 three pointers, and made only one (it ended the 3rd quarter). He had three assists, and his passing ability should be able to help lessen the load Deron Williams has to carry on offense. And the best thing about Wallace being here? The small forward position is no longer a black hole of suck. Hooray for small miracles!

Advantage: Nets

Power Forward: Antawn Jamison vs. Kris Humphries

This isn't really related to anything Jamison's done this year, but I remember his first game as a Cav after he was traded to them and was tasked with being the second option on offense in order to help sway LeBron into staying a Cav. What did he do? He shot 0-12 and the Cavaliers lost to the Bobcats. Funny how that worked out.

Humphries is coming off a terrible shooting game vs. NOLA. His 16 rebounds did off-set his 3-10 from the floor, so his game wasn't a total disaster. Although, it would be nice if he didn't take 10 shots or have ISOs run for him.

Advantage: Nets

Center: Tristan Thompson vs. Shelden Williams

It hasn't been the best rookie season for the 4th pick in the draft. As a rule, I never put too much stock in a highly touted rookie struggling in his 1st season. Just being in the NBA is difficult enough, imagine being a 19 year old joining a franchise that is rebuilding. He's already a good rebounder (17 rebound rate), so he's got that going for him right now.

Shelden's been doing a very a nice job filling in for the injured Brook Lopez. While he is very limited on offense, his rebounding and all-around great effort more than make up for it. I'd like to see him back on the team next season.

Advantage: Nets

Bench:

Cleveland: Daniel Gibson, Samardo Samuels, Omri Casspi, Ryan Hollins, Luke Walton

New Jersey: Gerald Green, Anthony Morrow, Johan Petro, Sundiata Gaines, Jordan Williams, Jerry Smith

Advantage: Nets

Miscellaneous:

I was gonna call the Clippers stupid for trading the pick that eventually turned into Kyrie Irving for Baron Davis, but it's a little more detailed than that. But still, the Clippers are stupid.

Does Charles Barkley still call Omri Casspi Omar?

Now that Gerald Wallace is a Net, I can say "Where's Wallace? Where the boy at String?" anytime.

The only time Luke Walton has been useful in the NBA was in Game 2 of the 2005 NBA Finals.

For a team like the Cavs, making the 8 seed instead of having another lottery pick is worth the tradeoff IMO. In this instance, just making the playoffs after a disastrous season is a nice treat for the organization and the fans. It's admittedly sentimental, but something like that works to excite a fanbase.

In honor of Dan Glibert, whenever someone pisses me off, I write them an angry letter in Comic Sans.

I'm hoping Dan wrote Stern that angry letter whining about the Lakers trade in Comic Sans too.

Journey through the dark side: Fear The Sword

The mothership: Cavaliers vs Nets coverage

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