The Brooklyn Nets are in a rough spot, having lost three games in a row and the upcoming calendar not looking all that kind to them.
If there’s one thing that’s kind of going in their favor is that the Knicks and Heat aren’t putting on much of a run themselves and the Nets continue to sit in 6th place (out of the play-in round) and within reach of 5th place (2 games behind the Knicks).
Cleveland has had a rough go at winning on the road this season carrying a 16-20 road record into Tuesday’s game.
These two teams will play again on Thursday at Barclays Center, so if the Nets can’t get it right this evening then they’ll have another crack at it on Thursday.
WHO: Brooklyn Nets (39-32) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (45-28)
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. est
WHERE: NBA TV (national), YES Network (local tv and app), WFAN-FM (radio)
If I had an MVP vote, I’d have Donovan Mitchell in my top five. He has helped the Cavs surpass their win total from last season, has been a clutch time monster, and has fit in incredibly well in his new team. He’s had the best season of his career as he’s at career highs in points (27.4), field goal percentage (47.7%) and free throw percentage (87.6%). When the going gets tough, you need someone who can get their own shot and Mitchell is someone you can count on and trust him to make big baskets. It’s been a welcome move for him into the East, and when the playoffs start, he’ll have the opportunity to turn up and push the Cavs far.
If you’re able to make it into the paint against the Cavs, good luck trying to score. They hold teams to only 63.3 percent shooting inside the restricted area, third lowest in the NBA (not to be outdone, the Nets are sixth). When the Nets made attempts to attack the basket on Sunday, they went 17-23 on shots inside the restricted area. Brooklyn has to, has to, keep attacking and good things will happen.
However, this is a team that lives on 3-pointers and they went 12-35 from deep. A lot of those misses were of the wide open variety, and if you rely on the three as much as this club does, you can’t afford any cold nights from downtown. Since the All Star break, the Nets are 25th in three point percentage while the Cavs are at seventh. If the Nets are cold from deep again, they’ll be in trouble.
For more on the Cavs, check out Fear the Sword.