Cleveland: Kyrie Irving (questionable: tight right hamstring)
The Brooklyn Nets are still looking for their first victory of the 2017 calendar year. Brooklyn lost to the Indiana Pacers last night in the front end of their back-to-back venture. Coming up tonight is a much harder test than the Pacers in the 26-8 and defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
Brooklyn lost to the Cavs a couple of days before Christmas and lost pretty badly, too. The difference said twenty, but the witnesses of the game would say the deficit was 40 most of the night and they deserved to lose that badly. The effort was not there until the end of the bench. Brooklyn needs to actually play basketball in order to win games, especially against teams like the LeBron James led Cavaliers.
If the Nets want to win this game, they need to do what they did last time these teams met, contain Lebron James to a modest stat line. Last game, LeBron only had 19 points, five rebounds, and six assists. If they can get that performance out of King James, Brooklyn will need to be happy.
The next thing that Brooklyn needs to do is play Brook Lopez. All season, Lopez has been sitting one half of back-to-backs and Lopez played last night in Indiana. It seems as of this writing he will play as Brooklyn has had the past two weekends in full off. His minutes will probably be monitored as Brooklyn really has a grind the first two weeks of January. If Brooklyn sits Brook Lopez tonight, the game is practically all but lost as Brooklyn does not win unless Lopez gets 20+ points in a given game.
One last thing that could help Brooklyn out is Kyle Korver not getting to play for Cleveland in time for this game. Cleveland acquired Korver in a trade with Atlanta and if the final trade call is made to the league office early enough today, he could be active for the game. Korver is a deadly shot and Brooklyn would really like to minimize the number of people that can destroy them in this game.
This will be just as tough as the last despite playing in Brooklyn. The place will be packed up to see the King in action. Brooklyn needs their A game. No. Their A+ game.
It is Sean Kilpatrick‘s 27th birthday, though. Maybe Brooklyn delivers him the present of scoring a bunch of points against the defending champions…