The NBA is beginning to enter the business end of the season and we're about to see two sides vying for the playoffs go head-to-head as the Cleveland Cavaliers take on the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center in New York.
The two teams actually clashed earlier this week in the same venue, and it was the Cavaliers who came out on top on the road with a 115-109 win but both teams will be looking to improve on their performance from that game.
We'll take a look at the second meeting and break down the chances of victory, before supplying you with our best free NBA picks to see if we can earn you some extra cash for the weekend.
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Cleveland Cavaliers @ Brooklyn Nets information
- Thursday, March 23rd, 2023
- Barclays Center, New York City, New York
- 18:30 ET
- Eastern Conference
Cleveland Cavaliers preview
The Cavaliers are in a weird spot right now as they sit four games out of third place in the East, which looks incredibly tough to overcome with the way the Sixers are playing currently. They’ve also got the Knicks breathing down their necks, but with a three-game cushion, it’s going to take a huge effort for New York to overtake them.
Cleveland isn’t necessarily playing must-win games at the moment, but it’s 7-3 over the last 10 nonetheless and 6-4 against the spread. They've been some great competition too, including the Nets just a few days ago.
This game, then, arguably represents the toughest of the month for the Cavaliers. They managed to get the win in the first meeting between the two with Jarrett Allen returning from an eye injury, but he is still suffering with blurriness and is far from his best right now.
The Cavaliers own the league’s top defense over the past 10 games, but that defense is anchored by Allen’s ability to stop shots inside. He played 32 meaningful minutes in an eight-point loss to the Nets earlier this season, scoring 10 points and collecting 11 rebounds, and managed 12 points and 14 rebounds on Tuesday night.
Brooklyn Nets preview
While the Nets came away with a win in the first game between these two teams this season, it came under much different circumstances.
Back then they had Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, who combined for 64 points. Without them (and without 23 points from T.J. Warren, who is also gone), Brooklyn didn’t necessarily dominate any facet of the game.
If you want to know which team is going to enter with more at stake, look no further than the Nets. Brooklyn is just a game clear of the play-in range with the Heat lurking in seventh place. The Nets are on a four-game losing streak and in serious danger of waking up Friday morning to find themselves on the outside looking in.
But as a defense-first team now, they're certainly capable of putting together a good performance and earning victories. Their home crowd are likely to be right on their case looking to get them over the line, and that can't be ignored as a factor.
NBA picks: Cavaliers to cover the spread
The Nets are a very worrying prospect right now. With Allen playing in this one and getting better with each passing game, it seems obvious that Claxton will be severely limited by his elite interior defense and that could tip the scales towards the away team here.
The Cavs have been nearly unstoppable in Cleveland and they’ve been pretty solid in their road games, too. They’re one of the few teams with a positive Net Rating on the road and as favorites their record is impressive too.
The Nets have fumbled away the chance to put up some meaningful wins over the Nuggets and Kings and have now dropped four of their last five at home.
Considering they covered this spread just a few days ago and have more in their favor this time around, expect Cleveland to get it done once again and earn you some cash.
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NBA picks: Back the overs
Brooklyn has done decent defensively as of late, but offensively is where they’ve found themselves struggling. The Cavs have the slowest offensive pace in the league as well, and it's most likely that this game lands in the overs.
It just about cracked the overs in the game a few nights ago, but looking at history these teams tend to score quite big on each other.
In the last ten meetings the teams have combined for 282, 238, 232, 208, 229, 221, 225, 223, 242 and 224 points in each game, which suggests this points total will get hit comfortably at the Barclays Center.
Combined this season 81 games involving these teams have hit the 219 points mark and the teams are averaging 112.2 and 113.4 points per game too, meaning everything points towards this bet landing for a second consecutive meeting this week.
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