After closing the common season with 4 straight wins — together with one in opposition to Cleveland — the Nets are favored to take the rematch in Tuesday’s play-in recreation.
But what precisely will the Nets need to do to take down the Cavaliers, and earn their approach right into a first-round playoff date in opposition to the second-seeded Celtics?
The Post’s Brian Lewis breaks down the matchups that can determine what sort of recreation that is going to be:
Nets’ 3-point taking pictures vs. Cavs’ 3-point protection
Since Kevin Durant returned from his MCL damage, Brooklyn was third in 3-point taking pictures (.399). But by way of quantity, the Cavs enable the sixth-fewest 3s within the league whereas Brooklyn makes the seventh-fewest. Edge: Even
Cavs’ 3-point taking pictures vs. Nets’ 3-point protection
The Nets’ perimeter protection has been middling, however has held foes to .345 taking pictures. Even with Darius Garland, Cleveland is within the backside third in makes and makes an attempt. Brooklyn held the Cavs to 8-for-27 within the final assembly. Edge: Nets
Despite going huge, the Cavs aren’t a fantastic rebounding crew. The Nets have improved from horrible to mediocre due to Andre Drummond. Adding him and subtracting Jarrett Allen from Cleveland shall be key. Edge: Nets
Drawing fouls and taking pictures free throws
Even with James Harden gone, the Nets are among the many NBA’s finest at incomes and making free throws, however they commit foolish reach-in fouls. The Cavs aren’t adept at drawing fouls, however have allowed the second-fewest makes an attempt (19.4). Edge: Even
Nets’ potential to get paint factors vs. Cavs’ inside protection
Brooklyn nonetheless has an unplayable driver in Kyrie Irving. Meanwhile the Cavs’ rim safety took an enormous hit with the lack of Allen (finger). Edge: Nets
Cavs’ potential to get paint factors vs. Nets’ inside protection
There’s no space of the Nets’ protection that’s excelled. Allen was high 10 in paint factors, and shedding each he and Collin Sexton leaves the burden to Garland and Evan Mobley. But the Cavs nonetheless scored 60 paint factors within the final assembly. Edge: Cavs.
Irving and Kevin Durant are the one Nets thriving within the open flooring, however that’s been sufficient to make them a top-10 fast-break crew. The downside is that they don’t get again on the opposite finish. Their saving grace is the Cavs are middling in transition. Edge: Even
Steve Nash’s rotations will probably shrink to 9, with Nic Claxton, Patty Mills, Kessler Edwards and Goran Dragic off the bench. Cedi Osman, Kevin Love and Lamar Stevens will face a Nets bench that’s as wholesome because it’s been all season. Edge: Even
Nash has not solely stored the crew collectively however improved his endgame administration and calling performs out of timeouts. But J.B. Bickerstaff has been stellar in taking a crew that was third-worst within the East and having it sixth-best on March 25. Edge: Cavs
Brooklyn has cycled via a team-record 42 completely different beginning lineups. But the Nets nonetheless managed to blitz the Cavs 35-19 within the fourth quarter of their final assembly. Cleveland has dropped eight their final 11 and 17 of 26 since Feb. 12. Edge: Nets