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Another big game for Nets as Cavaliers come to Barclays

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Cleveland Cavaliers David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets beat the Mavericks on Monday night by 39 points with a final score of 127-88 and while it was not close even a little bit at almost any point, it was a lot of fun to watch.

Remember when we were all stressed out about the Nets cold streak? We could not have gotten a more resounding return to form than the scorching hot Nets shooting the Mavericks off of the floor. Feels good to be back, baby!!

Brooklyn will try and continue the hot shooting and ball movement and camaraderie as they play the Cavaliers on Wednesday night at the Barclays Center. A win would bump them back over .500 as they try to take back the six seed from the Pistons. They’re currently tied for six and seven. The Cavaliers are 16-48, meaning that this should be another W for the Nets as they draw closer to this West Coast swing. Let’s get into it

Where To Follow The Game

YES and WFAN at 7:30pm, ET.

Injuries

Treveon Graham (back) is questionable.

John Henson (wrist), Tristan Thompson (foot) and Ante Zizic (concussion) are out.

The Game

The Nets made a lineup switch with Trevon Graham out for the Dallas game. Kenny Atkinson inserted Rodions Kurucs into the starting power forward slot and sat Caris LeVert in favor of Allen Crabbe. Both moves worked. Kurucs had a great game with 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 5/7 from three which is awesome to see. He provides spacing and energy when he’s on and can be an enormous asset to this team.

Crabbe played alright (plus 39 in 25 minutes), but his place in the starting lineup allowed the still recovering LeVert to get some stress-free minutes off the bench. It will be interesting to see how the rotation shakes out against Cleveland, another team bad enough to run all manner of experiments.

The Cavaliers score 103.6 points per game, second lowest in the league. They don’t rebound well, they don’t play very good defense, and their best player has barely seen the floor this season. Kevin Love is who I’m talking about, by the way. He’s played in just 11 games so far this year, 7 of which have come since February. He’s averaging 18 points and 9.6 rebounds since returning and could pose a bit of a matchup problem for the Nets if he plays due to his size and skill set. However, he’s still on minutes restrictions.

The last time we saw these two play, we got a wild triple overtime contest with a final score of 148-139. It was a big win for the Nets, as they once again had to grab the win from the jaws of defeat. One of the most important factors in that game was DeMarre Carroll, who also played well against the Mavericks. DeMarre is one of the secret X-factors of this Nets team. If he’s hitting shots and playing engaged defense off the bench, this team just works and clicks so much better. Joe Harris and Allen Crabbe are both wings, but lean more towards a shooting guard size and skill set. DeMarre is a wing who has a lot of stretch 4 elements to his game, which is something the Nets have desperately needed.

The Cavaliers are a team in flux. They’ve had 27 players on their roster at some point so far this season. Guys like Alec Burks, Rodney Hood, George Hill, and Kyle Korver have been shipped off for spare parts and second round picks. They’re hoping they can once again win the lottery and land themselves a star player that way, because they have never been and will probably never be a major free agent destination. For whatever reason, the Cavs gave the Nets a serious run for their money last month, but with the Nets tough upcoming schedule, a less stressful win would be much appreciated. Maybe something similar to that Dallas game? That’d be great, thanks guys.

Spencer Dinwiddie looked pretty good on Monday, and his progression and recovery from injury seems to be going, as expected, more easily than Caris LeVert’s. Both have done an awesome job, but Dinwiddie looks locked and ready to go already and it’s only been three games back for him. The confidence is just there. Shocking. He’s scored double digits in each of his three games back and his fresh legs might actually be a huge plus for the Nets in the final run of the season as they look to solidify their playoff positioning.

Player To Watch

Jordan Clarkson lit up the Nets last month, going for a season high 42 points in 47 minutes during the triple overtime matchup. He’s maybe the only Cavalier outside of Kevin Love capable of putting up 20+ points on any sort of consistent basis, with 19 games of 20 or more this season already. The 26 year old combo guard is scoring 17 points per game on 44/33/84 shooting. He isn’t a particularly great playmaker or rebounder or defender, but on the right team his nose for scoring could be a major asset. Right now though, he’s just left to chuck up shots on a team trying to lose games. Hopefully he doesn’t mess that up for the future of his franchise on Wednesday.

Playoff Watch

Thanks to the 76ers who beat the Magic Tuesday, Brooklyn is now three games ahead of ten seed Orlando, four if you count the tie-breaker, and two-and-half games ahead of the eight and nine seeds, the Hornets and the Heat.

The Hornets and Heat face off Wednesday in Charlotte and the Pistons play the Timberwolves at home. Root for the Heat because the Hornets are the short-term threat and Timberwolves.

From The Vault

Here’s a fun mid-week video for everyone.

Enjoy.

For a different perspective, head on over to Fear The Sword, the Cavs affiliate on SB Nation.