No more preseason predictions, power rankings or punditry. It's about The Game.
The Nets flew into Cleveland Tuesday, promising a title run for Brooklyn. Their first test will be an interesting one. One of the biggest issues --their age-- will be tested by the youth of the Cavaliers. Another --Jason Kidd's ability to coach-- won't be answered just yet. Kidd will miss Wednesday's opener and Friday's home opener as well. Lawrence Frank, who's lost 18 straight games as a Nets coach, is likely to be on the bench in his place.
The Cavaliers are loaded with young talent. Kyrie Irving, the East's leading scorer among point guards last season ... and still only 21, leads the team. Tristan Thompson, who nearly averaged a double-double at 22, will go against Kevin Garnett, and Anderson Varejao, recovered from multiple injuries, will battle Brook Lopez. Earl Clark, now 25, will be at small forward and Dion Waiters, also 21, is at shooting guard.
Other than Irving, the most fascinating players on the roster are Anthony Bennett, the 6'7" overall No. 1 pick, and the Cavaliers big risk, Andrew Bynum, the oft-injured center who missed all of last year with the 76ers. Bennett is raw and isn't like to be part of the rotation for a while. Bynum, on the other hand, is supposed to be close to practicing but still far from making his first start.
For the Nets, everyone but Andrei Kirilenko (back) and Toko Shengelia (knee) should be available. Deron Williams played only a few minutes in the team's last preseason game, but looked ready. Paul Pierce missed a couple of practices with a sore toe, but no one is suggesting it's anything more than an annoyance. Shaun Livingston will have a bit of a homecoming. He played for the Cavs last year, filling in for Irving when he was injured.
The big test will be defense. Irving was the type of player who gave the Nets fits last season (and the season before): an athletic point guard. Will the Nets new defensive scheme keep Irving under control? And will they let Varejao play his wild man's game.
Bottom line: The game is the kind of game championship teams win. No excuses.
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Cleveland Cavaliers Game Notes - Cleveland Cavaliers
What Jason Kidd Wants Out of Deron Williams (Video) - Matthew Stucko - YES Network
- Knicks, Nets set to take New York rivalry to new heights this season - Frank Isola - New York Daily News
- Breaking down the Nets: How Brooklyn with its new additions stacks up - Stefan Bondy - New York Daily News
- Nets star Deron Williams will be on the run against Cavaliers - Stefan Bondy - New York Daily News
- Kevin Garnett says only big egos could bury Nets - Stefan Bondy - New York Daily News
- It all hinges on Jason Kidd education - Mitch Lawrence - New York Daily News
- Revamped Nets look like a championship team, and they won't settle for less - Rod Boone - Newsday
- Deron Williams glad to be leading talented Nets - Rod Boone - Newsday
- Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett bring new attitude to Brooklyn Nets - Barbara Barker - Newsday
- Nets Head Into Opener With Assortment of Aches - Andrew Keh - New York Times
- New-look Brooklyn begins title push - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Cavs’ Irving poses tough test for Williams - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Surrounded by talent, it’s on Deron to play like a superstar - Mike Vaccaro - New York Post
- Nets season preview: Looking ahead to a team with championship aspirations - Dave Dalessandro - Star-Ledger
- NBA Season Predictions: Will Miami win three straight? - Ethan Schorr-Parks - Star-Ledger
- Brooklyn Nets Deron Williams looks forward to new season - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Kidd on Game 1: 'I'll be there in spirit' - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Lichtenstein: Brooklyn Nets 2013-14 Preview: It’s All Or Nothing - Steve Lichtenstein - WFAN
- Recap: Jason Kidd on WFAN - SNY Nets
- Deron Williams excited to run motion offense with Nets - Larry Fleisher - Metro
- Cavs: Bynum still in hibernation as Cavs begin season - Bob Finnan - Lorain Morning Journal
- 2013 Cavs preview: What we know and what we don’t know - Jason Lloyd - Akron Beacon Journal
- Cavaliers starting small forward likely to be Earl Clark, but don't forget about C.J. Miles - Jody Valade - Cleveland Plain-Dealer