Play-in Seeding at Stake
The Cleveland Cavaliers and Brooklyn Nets, who could meet in the play-in tournament, get set to do battle in a game that will go a long way to deciding seeding in the Eastern Conference. Our Cavaliers vs Nets game preview and predictions examine the possible outcomes for both sides.
The Nets continue to be an unpredictable force as we round out the regular season. The offensive firepower is clear and obvious, but the defensive frailties are certainly becoming a large concern for the team.
Meanwhile, things are tinkering on disaster for the Cavaliers, who have tumbled down to the seven seed in the East and are now at risk of falling into the 9 vs 10 spot of the play-in tournament due to injuries.
Nets Remain Scary Proposition
The way the season has played out for the Brooklyn Nets has meant that their path to an NBA Finals appearance will involve facing the East’s top teams at every corner.
That also means that at least one of the top teams in the East is going to be dealt a juggernaut in the first round of the playoffs.
Regardless of how you may feel about their vulnerabilities, there’s no denying that having Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving on the floor together means you have two of the best scorers and playmakers in the league at your disposal.
For a team like the Cleveland Cavaliers, that’s a hurdle too great to overcome. The biggest point of difference when making your Cavaliers vs Nets predictions is the fact that the undermanned Cavs simply don’t have enough to handle Brooklyn’s offense.
The -8½ point spread on the Nets is reflective of the offensive disparity between these teams at the moment. When looking at NBA points spreads and predictions for this game, the market is demonstrating that despite the similar records for the two teams, they ultimately couldn’t be tracking further apart as they prepare for the play-in tournament.
Brooklyn is expected to win its remaining games, which includes a home matchup with the Indiana Pacers after this one. That will be enough for the Nets to secure them to secure the seven seed and a home game against the eighth seed to potentially punch their way into the playoffs.
Injuries always have and always will play a pivotal role in a team’s journey through the NBA regular season, but that doesn’t make these things any less unfortunate when they do happen.
The Cavs were dealt a huge blow when Jarrett Allen’s fractured finger ruled him out for at least the remainder of the regular season.
That was then coupled with the news that rookie sensation Evan Mobley would miss time with an ankle sprain. The Cavs are hopeful that Mobley may be available for this game, with his official status having him listed as questionable.
Even in Mobley’s return, the balance of this team has nose-dived without their two big men sharing the floor together.
That leaves the Cavs staring at the very real possibility of going into the play-in tournament having lost six of their final seven regular-season games. That is assuming they fail to overcome the Nets in this one and then fall short against the Milwaukee Bucks to close things out.
If that’s the case, this team could ultimately fall down to the 10 seed should the teams around them win out. All three of the Nets, Atlanta Hawks and Charlotte Hornets own the tiebreaker advantage as well.
That means a road meeting with the No. 9 seed would be first up and that could be a task too tall for this young team, which is simply struggling to steady a sinking ship at the moment.
When making your Cavaliers vs Nets betting predictions, it’s worth noting that the market is showing significant strength toward Brooklyn, which has largely been an underwhelming commodity as home favorites all season.
The Cavs simply don’t have the bodies or experience right now to overcome difficult circumstances and the potential for them to miss out on the playoffs altogether is becoming a harsh and scary reality.