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NBA: Brooklyn Nets @ Cleveland Cavaliers preview

The Brooklyn Nets have surged into the top four of the Eastern Conference after a great run, but they return to action after Christmas with a difficult visit to Cleveland.

Both the Nets and Cavaliers were hard done by to miss out on a Christmas game given the talent between the two rosters and their performances this term.

This would have made for a brilliant Christmas clash, although it was hard to predict the pair would have been this high in the standings in preseason.

The pair are both chasing down the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks and a win in this headline clash would be proof they're the real deal.

What: BKN Nets @ CLE Cavaliers
Where: Rocket Mortgage Field House, Cleveland, Ohio
When:  19.00, Tuesday, 27th December 2022
How to watch: NBA Pass
Odds: BKN Nets +115, CLE Cavaliers -135

Title hopes put to the test

Plenty has changed for these two since they met in the Play-in tournament back in April. The Nets squeezed through in that game only to be swept in the first round of the Play-offs, while the Cavs fell apart and missed the postseason after a strong campaign.

The Brooklyn Nets have always been a title hopeful given the strength of their roster, but the fact they've put off-court issues aside of late has made them clear contenders. The Nets head into this game as a +1000 chance for the championship this term, with a big gulf between them and the +2000 Cavs.

However, Cleveland have built on last season's impressive core with the addition of Donovan Mitchell. They've kept pace with both the Celtics and Bucks so far this term, so they can't be ruled out once the postseason kicks off.

The Cavs will likely be a bigger factor in the postseason this time around, while the Nets only look to have one final year to make an impact with this team. That adds some spice to Monday night's encounter, while the betting odds suggest this clash in Ohio will be close.

Can Cavs stop the Nets?

The Nets head into this game looking like the super team promised when Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant teamed up in Brooklyn. James Harden has arrived and departed since then, but finally, the Nets look like a real team.

They've won 11 of their last 12 games and they've become one of the league's most fearsome attacks while slowly making defensive improvements. The Nets have averaged over 128 points per game across their last three, with Durant and Irving on song.

The Cavs are among the best teams in the league defensively, but their inability to shut down the Toronto Raptors at home doesn't bode well for them going into this game. While the Raptors are back on the up, they're a much more limited side offensively compared to this rampant Nets outfit.

If the Nets maintain that form in this one, then they could blow the Cavs away. The home side rank 24th in the league for per game this season, boosted by the fact that they have the best defensive record in the NBA. 

With that in mind, even the red-hot Nets could end up in a low-scoring clash. Under 220.5 points is priced at -105 and that’s worth considering as Brooklyn could find things tricky in Cleveland.

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Another home loss for Cavs

The Cavs have only suffered three home defeats this season, but the Nets visit in brilliant form and their scoring record could see them return from Cleveland with the win. 

While the Cavs have impressed this term they haven't convinced against the very best in the league, a bracket which the Nets are in when they play this well.

Brooklyn's incredible form makes them worth backing here, as they go in search of a ninth-straight win. They've made real gains by being one of the league’s strongest defences within the paint, so back them to get the best of a Cleveland side that ranks 18th for made three-pointers this term. The hosts may struggle to maintain their usual attacking standards against the league's form team.

The hosts have been favoured going into this one and they can be backed with a -2 handicap at -105 

While the Nets look like a good bet with a slight advantage, their brilliant recent form suggests they can return from Cleveland with a victory. At +110 on the Moneyline, the visitors appear good value for yet another win.

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