Playback Preview | Brooklyn (7) – Cleveland (8)

For many, with his trio Kyrie Irving —James Harden— kevin duringthe Nets were the natural favorites for the 2022 NBA title. Except that, in the meantime, Kyrie Irving’s vaccination status prevented him from playing, the “trade deadline” saw James Harden go to the Sixers and the Injuries weighed down the second half of Kevin Durant’s season. station.

So much so that Brooklyn must now go through the “play-in” box to even ensure its qualification for the playoffs. Everything but obvious for this team, led by the way by a fiery tandem (Irving / Durant), but which lacks collective continuity and is still waiting to be able to count on Ben Simmons, the supposed third thief of the New York “Big Three” . Came from Philadelphia.

Also authors of an amazing season, but this time in the positive sense of the term, the Cavaliers intend to take advantage of the weaknesses of their opponents to steal 7th place and thus challenge the Celtics in the first round. It will be necessary to see if the second half of the unsuccessful campaign of the Cleveland players will harm them in this cartel of all dangers, to the point of having to play a second play-off game against the winner of the duel between Hawks and Hawks. the Hornets.

Because that’s the point of this Nets-Cavaliers matchup: not to embark on a win-or-go-home game, at the risk of having to go on vacation earlier than planned…

NET PRESENTATION

Headlines: K. Irving, se. Curry, B. Brown, K. Durant, A. Drummond.
The replacements: G. Dragic, P. Mills, D. Duke Jr, C. Thomas, K. Edwards, D. Sharpe, B. Griffin, L. Aldridge, N. Claxton.
The absent ones: B. Simmons, J. Harris.
Coach: S. Nash.

Barring surprise, Steve Nash should draw a lot of inspiration from the bodies of his starters. It must be said that the Nets’ bench has not brought satisfaction so far, between Goran Dragic’s lack of rhythm, who is out of the health protocol, Patty Mills’s crisis of confidence, the irregularity of the rookies Cameron Thomas, David Duke. Jr, Kessler Edwards and Day’Ron Sharpe or the lazy performances of Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge, even Nic Claxton.

Surrounded by complementary and quality “role players” such as Seth Curry, Bruce Brown and Andre Drummond, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will therefore be the main weapons that Brooklyn will have, which it still hopes to find (or rather discover). ) to Ben Simmons. in the first round of the playoffs. Both against the Heat and against the Celtics…

the strong point

The Irving/Durant Duo. Hard to dream of a better tandem to tackle a match as cleaver as this one. During their respective careers, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant have shown that they excel arguably better than ever when their backs are against the wall. With a whopping 57.3 points averaging overall this season, the All-Star point guard and winger form the league’s most prolific scoring pairing and it will take that much skill on his part for the Nets to get away with it. play-in” and then go as far as possible in the playoffs (and without home court advantage), as envisioned at the start of the season.

The weak point

The defense. If the Nets’ offense runs full throttle with Kyrie Irving (118.9 points in 100 possessions), the same can’t be said for his defense (113.8 points in 100 possessions). This is also the main weakness of the New York franchise, beyond its collective lack of experience. Because, in the absence of Ben Simmons, Steve Nash can’t really trust the defensive specialists, be it Kyrie Irving, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, Patty Mills, Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge. And don’t expect Ben Simmons, with limited playing time and returning after long months off the court, to completely transform Brooklyn, in this sector of the game…

PRESENTATION OF THE RIDERS

Headlines: D. Garland, C. LeVert, I. Okoro, L. Markkanen, E. Mobley.
The replacements: R. Rondo, B. Goodwin, D. Windler, C. Osman, L. Stevens, K. Love, E. Davis, M. Brown.
the absent : J. Allen, C. Sexton, D. Wade.
Coach: JB Bickerstaff.

The suspense was short-lived: no, Jarrett Allen will not be able to keep his place with the Cavaliers, facing his old formation. Touched with the finger, the center of the All-Star is not yet 100% and, without him, it is Caris LeVert who will start back, along with Darius Garland, displacing Isaac Okoro to the band, Lauri Markkanen in the racket and Evan Mobley . closer to the circle.

On the bench, it’s Kevin Love who will bear the heavy burden of penalizing the Nets’ “second unit” and making up for Jarrett Allen’s absence as best he can. In some sequences, Rajon Rondo and Lamar Stevens will also need to be boosted by their trainer, as will Cedi Osman or Dylan Windler in the outside positions.

the strong point

collective continuity. Against this Nets team looking for balance on a collective level, the Cavaliers have a real card to play at this level. Around Darius Garland and Evan Mobley, who will probably have a “pick-and-roll” feast against the New York defense, JB Bickerstaff’s men already have many guarantees as a team and it is no coincidence that they have been able to overcome the many injuries they suffered. they suffered. United around their coach, Cleveland players never let go and this resiliency can make all the difference at this stage of the season.

The weak point

the dynamics. Authors of a great first part of the season (35 wins – 23 losses), the Cavaliers then lost the thread after All-Star Weekend. To the point of going from 3rd to 8th place in the Eastern Conference in less than two months. A hot end to the season for the Ohio players, weighed down by injuries (and Jarrett Allen’s in particular) and unable to rectify the situation enough to avoid falling out of the Top 6. Suffice it to say that an elimination during the “play-in” could seriously affect the morale of this group, long promised to find the playoffs but today in jeopardy.

THE KEY TO THE MATCH

The experience. Unlike Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, LaMarcus Aldridge, Blake Griffin, Patty Mills, Goran Dragic and Andre Drummond, the Cavaliers’ players are almost all inexperienced. If the arrivals down the road of Rajon Rondo and Caris LeVert, to support Kevin Love and Ed Davis as “big brothers,” have aged the roster a bit, the Ohio franchise remains one of the youngest in the league and nine of its members have never made it to the playoffs until now. Among them: Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, Lauri Markkanen and Isaac Okoro. In other words, four Cleveland starters…

REGULAR SEASON

Brooklyn 3-1

November 17: brooklyn – Cleveland (109-99)
November 22: Cleveland – brooklyn (112-117)
January 17: cleveland –Brooklyn (114-107)
April 8: brooklyn – Cleveland (118-107)

VERDICT

BROOKLYNto find Boston in the first round, in a Redo of the 2021 playoffs, and thus sneak into the table part of Milwaukee and Chicago. Let Cleveland play for survival against Atlanta or Charlotte in the second round of the play-in…

HOURLY

At 01:00 pm this Tuesday.

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