Cleveland Cavaliers vs Brooklyn Nets 4/12/22: Starting Lineups, Betting Odds, Predictions

Cleveland Cavaliers vs Brooklyn Nets Matchup Preview (4/12/22)

The Cleveland Cavaliers (44-38) face the Brooklyn Nets (44-38) in the play-in game Tuesday night. The winner will claim the 7th seed and face the Boston Celtics in the First Round, while the loser will play the victor of Hawks/Hornets for the chance to grab the 8th seed. The Cavaliers finished 22-50 last season and selected Evan Mobley with the 3rd overall pick. Because of Mobley’s impact and improvement from Garland/Allen, the Cavaliers turned their franchise around and played well this year. Jarrett Allen’s injury is a huge loss for the Cavaliers, as he is not expected to play against the Nets. Before he was injured, they were 37-27 with the 19th Offensive Rating and 4th Defensive Rating. Since his injury, they are 7-11 with the 18th Offensive Rating and 22nd Defensive Rating. The Cavaliers have played Mobley at center and Markkanen at power forward in his absence. 

The Nets traded James Harden for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and draft picks. Ben Simmons is out for the play-in game, but Curry is expected to play. Before the Harden trade, the Nets were 29-27 with the 13th Offensive Rating and 21st Defensive Rating. Since Curry and Drummond joined the rotation, they are 15-11 with the 12th Offensive Rating and 14th Defensive Rating. The Nets essentially traded star power for balance, chemistry, and depth. Even though Brooklyn lost the best player in the trade, their roster actually has a better chance of a deep playoff run. Also, New York changed their vaccination policies, so Kyrie Irving is able to play every game except for away games in Toronto.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs Brooklyn Nets Betting Odds

The Nets are 3-1 against the Cavaliers this season; the most recent game was a 118-107 Nets win on April 8th. The Nets have won by 10, 5, and 11 points, while the Cavaliers won their sole game by 7 points. The Nets are averaging 112.75 PPG in the series and have scored between 107 and 118 points. The Cavaliers are averaging 108 PPG in the series and have scored between 99 and 114 points. For the play-in game, I am going with the Nets to comfortably win this game. Allen would be able to expose the Nets interior weakness, but he unfortunately cannot play. Durant and Kyrie are the two best players on the court, and the Nets have far more playoff experience than the young Cavaliers. Overall, this is a bad matchup for the Cavaliers in a variety of ways.

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TV Schedule

Date: 4/12/22
Time: 7:00 PM ET
Arena: Barclays Center – Brooklyn, NY
Channel: TNT

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Cleveland Cavaliers Starting Lineup

PG: Darius Garland
SG: Isaac Okoro
SF: Caris LeVert
PF: Lauri Markkanen
C: Evan Mobley

Cleveland Cavaliers Analysis

The Cavaliers have used a jumbo lineup all year with Markkanen at small forward, Mobley at power forward, and Allen at center. They have moved Mobley to center since Allen’s injury, but they should start Kevin Love at center and replace Isaac Okoro. Their lineup would be Garland, LeVert, Markkanen, Mobley, and Love. Cleveland must slow down Kevin Durant, and Mobley is their best chance. He’s essentially an agile 7’0” wing who can move laterally and stay in front of players. He doesn’t have the size or physicality to keep Drummond off of the boards; Kevin Love does, and he has tremendous experience. The Cavaliers success was built on their jumbo lineup, and they should go back to it. Love also adds perimeter shooting along with his rebounding and is a far better offensive player than Okoro. If the Cavaliers stick with Mobley at center, then Markkanen either has to guard Durant or Drummond. Both Nets players are complete mismatches for him, and it would get ugly quick. 

Garland is the engine of the offense. In his four games against the Nets this year, he averaged 25.2 PPG, 8.0 APG, and 4.0 RPG on 42.7 FG%. Kyrie and Curry are both average defenders at their peak, so Garland will have an excellent opportunity to pace the Cavaliers in scoring. Cleveland lacks ball handlers and playmakers outside of him, but can Playoff Rondo make an appearance? In the Cavaliers last game against the Bucks on April 10th, he had 6 points, 4 rebounds, 13 assists, and only 1 turnover. Rondo can fill the playmaking void and keep the offense running when Garland rests on the bench. Overall, the Cavaliers will go as far as Garland and Mobley take them. If Garland shoots poorly and Mobley doesn’t mark Durant for the majority of the game, then I don’t see the Cavaliers having a chance here.

Brooklyn Nets Starting Lineup

PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Seth Curry
SF: Bruce Brown Jr
PF: Kevin Durant
C: Andre Drummond

Brooklyn Nets Analysis

With James Harden gone, the roster is far more balanced and fits together well. Kyrie and Durant are lethal isolation scorers who can also orchestrate the offense. Curry will run off screens relentlessly; he’s producing 1.29 Points Per Possession in spot up offense on the Nets, good for 10th in the NBA (minimum 50 possessions). Brooklyn lacked size earlier in the year, but Drummond (6’10”, 280 lbs) makes sure they won’t be bullied on the boards. Bruce Brown Jr completes the lineup as a glue guy who can do a little of everything. In his last two games, he is averaging 19.5 PPG, 8.5 RPG, and 5.5 APG. Brown Jr is their best guard defender, which will come in handy against Garland and LeVert. 

Brooklyn has the talent advantage, but their bench must match the deep Cavaliers bench. Patty Mills (11.4 PPG, 2.3 APG, 40 3PT%) is an experienced veteran who played under Coach Popovich for 10 years. He provides scoring, playmaking, and spacing. Rookie Cam Thomas is inconsistent, but he’s a stellar microwave scorer at times. Thomas has scored 20+ points ten times this season, so the potential is there for a big night. Kessler Edwards is a solid 3&D player who can match up with Cedi Osman, and Nic Claxton can somewhat counter Moses Brown’s length. Overall, the Nets have a security blanket in Kevin Durant that the Cavaliers simply don’t have. He’s a clutch scorer who will get his shot off no matter what. Mobley will do his best, but there is simply no stopping Durant.

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2022 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs regarding analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions.

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