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Game 58: Cleveland Cavaliers at New Jersey Nets

After beating up on the Wizards, the Nets continue to wind down their season. Next up is the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have fallen off the face of the Earth since they last played the Nets.

How do these teams look? Let's see:

Offensive Efficiency

Defensive Efficiency

Free throw rate

Turnover rate

Offensive Rebounding %

Effective FG%

Opponent eFG%

Cleveland

101.1 108.1 22.1 14.2 29.2 46.3 50.6

New Jersey

103.7 109.6 21.2 14.5 28.7 47.6 51.5

League Average

104.5 104.5 20.9 13.8 27.1 48.6 48.6

The Cavaliers have been much improved from where they were last season. They're still a few years away from being a contender, but they're seemingly on the right track. Much like last time, their strength lies in their strong offensive rebounding attack & their weakness is in the turnovers. One thing they need to work on for next season is their three point defense, as they're 7th worst in three point percentage.

The Nets have played better ball as of late. It's irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, but it's nice to see somewhat watchable basketball. The defense still leaves a lot to be desired, and hopefully with better personnel next year, it should be improved.

The preview. And the result.

Before we jump, let's head back to the 1993 playoffs. Unfortunately, this turned out to be the last home game for Drazen Petrovic before he passed away a month later.


Tip-off is at 7:30. Take the jump!

Point Guard: Manny Harris vs. Deron Williams

Kyrie Irving recently suffered a shoulder injury, and he is out for at least a week. In steps Manny Harris, & he's only played 13 games so there isn't much useful info on him. When Irving is back, he'll serve as the back up.

Another day, another double digit assist night for D-WIll. He had 13 dimes in the Washington game and has gone for 10+ assists in 5 of his last 7 games. The 7-15 (with 3 from downtown) is a nice change of pace after seeing so many inefficient games out of him.

Advantage: Nets

Shooting Guard: Donald Sloan vs. Marshon Brooks

Sloan's pinch hitting for Anthony Parker, who's out with a sternum injury. In steps Sloan, who's spent 49 games in the D-League.

Gasp, Brooks actually had a good game. Granted it was only the Wizards, but Brooks has been playing crappily for a while now. When Williams missed the Blazers game, Brooks became the primary ball handler and had 6 assists with 4 turnovers. I'd actually like to see him handle the ball more as it helps him gain experience running an offense, which might come in handy should Williams be elsewhere next season.

Advantage: Nets

Small Forward: Alonzo Gee vs. Gerald Wallace

Last time these teams played, Gee contributed to the +18 rebounding advantage the Cavs had by grabbing 7 boards. Due to the terribleness that is New Jersey's rebounding, Gee should be able to control the glass.

Wallace had a solid game last time out vs. Washington with 19 points and 5 rebounds. He was very aggressive vs. Cleveland back in March as he got 12 rebounds and took 11 free throw attempts. I would expect him to maintain that level of aggressiveness in this game.

Advantage: Nets

Power Forward: Antawn Jamison vs. Kris Humphries

Jamison's been decent this season. He's no longer the shooter he once was, but he's a useful rebounder and passer. Of course, you need to be more than decent when your making $15 million, but that's management's problem.

Nothing much was going right for Humphries near the rim vs. Washington, as he missed 5 of his 7 attempts in close. He's generally a better finisher near the rim so I wouldn't expect him to struggle again.

Advantage: Nets

Center: Tristan Thimpson vs. Shelden Williams

Last time, I wrote:

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.

And Thompson went out and had the best game of his career so far.

Shelden came back Friday after suffering an eye injury vs. Indiana. He only played 21 minutes, with Jordan Williams getting the majority of the minutes at Center. That should stay the same as we near the end of the season.

Advantage: Cavaliers

Bench:

Cleveland: Lester Hudson, Samardo Samuels, Omri Casspi, Luke Walton, Ben Uzoh

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

Advantage: New Jersey

Miscellaneous:

We've officially reached the dog days of the NBA season.

I had no idea Uzoh was still in the NBA.

Yankee-Rays games tend to run long, so expect Yankees postgame to take up the time that would've gone to the Nets.

According to ESPN, the Cavaliers have an 11.9% chance of landing the #1 pick.

And New Jersey's Portland's are at 6.9%. Sucks for us.

Journey through the darkside: Fear The Sword

The mothership: Cavaliers vs Nets coverage

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