Preview: Cavs at Nets, January 2nd

January 2nd, 2010 by John Krolik

(Would have gone with a picture of MTV’s Jersey Shore, but I don’t need my blog getting sued by everyone and their uncle right now.)

Relevant Statistics:

Pace: Cleveland 93.4 (28th) vs. New Jersey 95.0 (14th)

Offensive Efficiency: Cleveland 107.5 (7th) vs. New Jersey 94.7 (30th)

Defensive Efficiency: Cleveland 99.3 (4th) vs. New Jersey 106.6 (23rd)

Notes:

Okay. Those of you who read this blog regularly, and especially those of you who’ve seen me twitter or Daily Dime chat during real-time, may have picked up on the fact that I’m not the biggest optimist on the planet. I feel my constant sense of dread often helps balance out my point of view on the and might actually help my writing sometimes, but every now and again I do wonder if my disposition would make me better suited for hobby with less emotional highs and lows, like quilting or hard drugs.

For example, I should be sleeping very soundly before tomorrow morning’s contest between the Cavs and the Nets. The Cavs have rolled off six straight wins, with four of those coming on the road and all of them coming against stiff competition. They are now the consensus best team in the league with the Celtics on a three-game losing streak and the Lakers looking mortal, even if Kobe doesn’t.

Meanwhile, the Nets are the worst team in the league, and one of the worst in league history. Their futility knows no bounds. Their offense is absolutely horrible, and they’re especially bad from the paint and the three-point line, two areas the Cavs are wonderful at defending. And the fact that the Nets are the NBA’s worst team from the three-point line and the Cavs are the NBA’s second-best team from the three-point line would seem to swing things even further in the Cavs’ favor, as the three-point line is the “great equalizer” for underdogs.

All of this makes lots of sense in the rational part of my brain that, when I was 12, told me that irregardless of the fact I’d accidentally seen 20 minutes of A Nightmare on Elm Street, the odds of Freddy Krueger horrifically murdering me if I fell asleep were the same as they were before I saw the movie, which is to say zero. However, there is another part of my brain, and that’s the one that tells me that nobody believes Freddy is real until he’s in their freaking dreams, and in fact fear is what makes Freddy powerful, so in fact seeing that movie did open the door to my twisted demise, and the only way to be safe is to just forget the whole thing but it’s too late for that now.

And anyways, that part of my brain is telling me that things are too good to be true for the Cavs right now, and the team is going to come back to earth in the very near future, and something about them falling into a trap game in New Jersey makes a kind of twisted sense to me, especially considering the following:

-Remember, the Cavs have won six straight game, several of them in thrilling fashion, and probably feel on top of the world right now. Remember, it was just about a week ago that the Cavs were about to get steamrolled by the Lakers, the undisputed juggernaut slaying their way through the season.

-After a hard-fought win against Atlanta, LeBron had his birthday party on Wednesday before two days off. I’m going to venture that some guys might have gotten home later than they normally do.

-Add to this the fact that the Cavs are currently in New Jersey, and it’s a good bet that some of them made the trip over to New York, still feeling on top of the world.

-Add to this the fact that Jay-Z was at LeBron’s birthday, and there’s a good chance him and LeBron will see each other before LeBron plays the Nets.

-Add to this that Ohio State just won their bowl game, and Ohio State football happens to be one of LeBron’s favorite teams on the planet. In Ryan Jones’ LeBron biography, there’s a scene with LeBron and his SVSM teammates running through the halls of a hotel and screaming at the top of the lungs to celebrate OSU’s 2002 championship. LeBron was likely very pleased that OSU won their game.

-And remember, this is an early game, a 1 PM tip.

So on the court, this should be one of the biggest blowouts of the year for the Cavs. But in terms of everything else, this could be the perfect storm of trap games. Now, the Cavs will hopefully dominate from the opening tip and put my worried mind at ease, and there’s a chance the Cavs have been in bed at 9 PM each of the last few nights, dreams of corner dive plays and helping the helper the only thing dancing through their heads.

But for a Cavalier team that’s seen its focus seemingly come and go at different points of the year, it’ll be interesting to see if they play this one like a gimme game or come out with a purpose against a team who can’t hope to match the Cavs talent-wise. If the Cavs don’t get caught up in distractions or their own freshly pressed hype and take care of business, it’ll make me feel better about more things than a win against the league’s worst team should. At least for another game. Alright folks, until tomorrow.