The Cleveland Cavaliers will travel to the Prudential Center (ain’t that where the Nets play?) for the final time this season in an attempt to win the season series against the New Jersey Nets. Win or lose, the Cavaliers won’t lose the series as they hold a 2-1 lead going into the game on Sunday night. Tip-off is at 6:00 for the Easter showdown. As for Kris Humphries status, it’s still unknown if Jay-Z has dropped him from the team yet.
2011-12 NBA statistics according to John Hollinger:
Cavaliers (18-35, 9-17 away):
Offensive Efficiency – 98.2 (26th)
Pace – 94.2 (12th)
Turnover Ratio – 24.9 (18th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage – 46.3 (29th)
Defensive Efficiency – 105.1 (26th)
Nets (20-37, 8-19 home):
Offensive Efficiency – 100.5 (19th)
Pace – 92.3 (22nd)
Turnover Ratio – 25.3 (23rd)
Effective Field Goal Percentage – 47.6 (22nd)
Defensive Efficiency – 107.0 (29th)
The Cavaliers currently find themselves without Kyrie Irving, Anthony Parker, Daniel Gibson and Anderson Varejao for a second game in a row, but somehow managed to end their misfortunes from injuries with a win over the Raptors on Friday night. That win snapped a nine-game losing streak that the Cavaliers had built up since a March 21 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in overtime, their longest losing streak of the season. The most shorthanded the Cavaliers had been all season was Friday’s game against the Raptors, and some unlikely and slumping Cavalier players ended the woeful streak for Cleveland.
Antawn Jamison, who was on a mid-season tear after putting up consecutive 20-point performances, has been struggling with finding his shot lately. Luckily enough for the Cavaliers Jamison found his shot late in the fourth quarter and put up 16 points with just over 10 minutes left in the game. Continuing his success early and helping his team build up a lead going into the half will be a key to winning Sunday’s game. There’s your slumper.
Lester Hudson, the unlikely hero, scored a career-high 23 points, getting to the free throw line 13 times and converting on 11 of his free throws. Although he shot poorly from three-point land, Hudson found success by forcing shots and drawing tough fouls. Possibly inspired by his 10-day contract running out, Hudson fought hard for his team and to prove that he belongs in a Wine and Gold jersey. Hudson is leading the team in steals, averaging 1.4 steals.
The Nets, who won their last game against the Washington Wizards, find themselves in the top-five lottery teams along with the Cavaliers. I doubt either team will look much into the fact that by losing they can increase their chances of a higher draft pick, but it will be interesting to see where both New Jersey and Cleveland land in the NBA Draft order.
As shorthanded as the Cavaliers will be on Sunday, the Nets also have their fair share of injured players. Damion James, Brook Lopez and Jordan Farmar will all be out with injuries of their own. Unfortunately for the Cavs, Deron Williams has been cleared to play and has been named a starter. Williams has had success against the Cavaliers in the previous three match ups, scoring 16, 27 and 28 points respectively.
If the young Cavalier guards can contain Williams and pester him with steals, the Wine and Gold will walk out of Prudential Center with a 3-1 series victory against the Nets.