Cavaliers-Nets Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 12, 2012
Brooklyn's Deron Williams has long been considered one of the NBA's elite point guards. Second-year pro Kyrie Irving is quickly making his claim for the same status with the Cleveland Cavaliers. When the two square off Tuesday night in Brooklyn, the Nets hope Williams' starting backcourt mate can start playing up to expectations, while the Cavaliers are looking for better bench scoring to take a load off Irving. The Nets (3-2) have got in a habit of being lulled to sleep by lackluster opponents lately, and are hoping to end that trend against Cleveland (2-5). Brooklyn blew a 22-point lead in last Monday's loss to Minnesota and let a 21-point advantage slip to five in the game's final two minutes of Sunday's 82-74 victory over Orlando. It wasn't exactly an uplifting win, as the Nets shot a season-low 37.2 percent. "We're not happy about how we finished the game and how we almost gave up a 20-point lead again," Williams said. "I don't know if we got lackadaisical or what because we were up 20, but this is something that can't happen time after time." Not helping matters is the continued shooting slump of new Net Joe Johnson. Acquired from Atlanta in the offseason, the six-time All-Star was supposed to combine with Williams to give Brooklyn one of the league's best backcourts. Williams is holding up his end of the bargain, averaging 16.0 points while shooting 45.9 percent, but Johnson is averaging 13.6 points - his lowest output since 2002-03 - and shooting a career-worst 36.2 percent. Partially softening the blow for Brooklyn is the strong play from Brook Lopez. After missing all but five games last season due to injury, Lopez is averaging 16.4 points. Irving's scoring average of 22.9 points ranks near the top of the league and rookie Dion Waiters is averaging 15.4, but Cleveland isn't get much production from its second unit. The Cavaliers, losers of three in a row entering the last of a six-game road trip, are near the bottom of the league in bench scoring, averaging 26.6 points. Daniel Gibson has been Cleveland's only reliable scoring threat from the bench at 9.7 points per game. Hampering the team's second unit is rookie Tyler Zeller's concussion and broken cheekbone, as he missed his third straight game in Sunday's 106-91 loss at Oklahoma City. Coach Byron Scott has exhausted his options. He has 12 players on his roster that have played in at least three games and are averaging at least 10 minutes. "We've just got to get somebody else on that second unit to step up. The opportunity's there,'' Scott said. "The opportunity's there. I'm just hoping one of these guys will just step up and take a chance and take hold of it. "If not, we'll just keep trying to find different pieces to the puzzle.'' The Cavs split their four-game series with the Nets last season, with Irving averaging 29.0 points in the final two games he played.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Draymond Green: 76ers are going to be ‘really, really, really good’

Bill Polian wouldn't put Terrell Owens or Randy Moss in Hall Of Fame

Report: Free agent wide receivers want to play with Carson Wentz

NFL has plans to put microchips in footballs in 2017

A San Diego storm has turned Petco Park into a lake

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Top eight storylines for NFL Scouting Combine

Mike D’Antoni calls out Rockets for being ‘soft’ again

WATCH: Dwight Howard ejected for hanging on rim

Capitals acquire Blues’ Kevin Shattenkirk in bold trade

Report: Chiefs making ‘strong push’ to make Eric Berry highest-paid safety in NFL

Dana White hints at Conor McGregor's next opponent

Box Score 2/28: Fat Tuesday means athletes on floats.

It's time for Satchel Paige Day in Major League Baseball

The best sports movies available to stream right now

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Biggest surprises and disappointments of the NBA season

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Box Score 2/24: A night of NBA disrespect

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

It's time for Satchel Paige Day in MLB

The best sports movies available to stream right now

Biggest surprises and disappointments of the NBA season

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher to win 20 or more games in a season since 2000

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker