The Cleveland Cavaliers are on the road to open the 2023-24 season, as they’ll take on the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on Wednesday night.
Brooklyn is hoping that a full season of Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson and hopefully Ben Simmons will put it in a position to compete for a playoff spot in the East.
As for Cleveland, expectations are much higher after the team earned the No. 4 seed in the East last season. That’s shown in the spread for this game, as Cleveland is a road favorite on opening night.
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- Date: Wednesday, Oct. 25
- Game Time: 7:30 p.m. EST
- Venue: Barclays Center
- How to Watch (TV): Bally Sports Ohio, NBA League Pass
- Cleveland Cavaliers Record: 0-0
- Brooklyn Nets Record: 0-0
Cleveland Cavaliers injury report
- Ricky Rubio (out)
- Jarrett Allen (questionable)
Brooklyn Nets injury report
- Dennis Smith Jr. (day-to-day)
- Dariq Whitehead (day-to-day)
Max Strus: The big splash for the Cavs this offseason was agreeing to a sign-and-trade deal for Strus with the Miami Heat. An elite shooter, Strus should help space the floor for Cleveland alongside Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland.
Evan Mobley: Is this the season that Mobley makes a quantum leap? The young forward has shown signs of being a DPOY candidate, but he needs to grow his offensive game to truly become a star.
Ben Simmons: The former All-Star appears to have a renewed energy entering this season, and he could be the ultimate table setter for this Nets team. Injuries have hampered Simmons in the past, but the talent as a defender and passer is still there.
Mikal Bridges: After being traded to Brooklyn from the Phoenix Suns, Bridges averaged 26.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 27 games for the Nets last season. Listen, if Mikal can put together a full season of those numbers, he’s a great bet to win the league’s Most Improved Player award.
This should be one of the better matchups on Wednesday night, but I’m not sold on this Brooklyn core yet this season.
The Nets were 19-24 without Kevin Durant last season, and they were under .500 following his trade to the Suns.
Even though Bridges was a promising piece, this team lacks a No. 1 scoring option to truly compete on a night-to-night basis with some of the best teams in the East.
Still, I’m not willing to lay the points with the Cavs on the road, as the team was just 18-22-3 against the spread as a road team last season.
The team should have some more outside shooting with the additions of Strus and Niang, but they’ll need Donovan Mitchell to return to his All-NBA form after a career year in the 2022-23 campaign.
Until we know more about Brooklyn’s offense, I’m comfortable taking the Cavs to win on opening night.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.