Game info and what to watch for in Cavaliers 2023-24 opener at Nets

Dorian Finney-Smith, Brooklyn Nets. (Photo by Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports)
Dorian Finney-Smith, Brooklyn Nets. (Photo by Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Cleveland Cavaliers kick off their much-anticipated 2023-24 campaign today as they make the trip up to New York to take on the Brooklyn Nets, before returning to The Land for their home opener. The Cavaliers, coming off of their winningest season in the post-LeBron James era, are looking to build on that success with another strong regular season and ideally, a deep playoff run.

The Nets, having undergone a massive transformation over the course of last season as they traded away both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, have their sights set on a playoff berth as well. While somewhat lacking in the star department, the Nets boast a balanced roster full of talented role players, all led by budding star, Mikal Bridges.

Both squads will want to start the season out on the right foot in what figures to be a competitive Eastern Conference.

Cavaliers vs. Nets game info:

When: Wednesday, October 25, 2023 at 7:30 PM ET

Where: Barclays Center – Brooklyn, New York

TV: Bally Sports Ohio and YES Network

Injury report

Cavaliers: Darius Garland (hamstring, questionable); Dean Wade (illness, questionable); Jarrett Allen (ankle, out); Ricky Rubio (personal, out)

Nets: Dariq Whitehead (foot, out)

Things to watch:

Big man depth: The Cavaliers will be without starting center Jarrett Allen (bone bruise, ankle) and likely Dean Wade, who didn’t make the trip with the team due to an illness. How the Cavaliers manage the lack of big man depth will be something to keep an eye on. Damian Jones seems like the obvious option to replace Allen in the starting lineup, but behind him, who will play an increased role? Is Tristan Thompson counted on to play real minutes, or does two-way player Isaiah Mobley get a chance?

Maybe the Cavs pivot in the other direction and start Evan Mobley at center, instead relying on their added wing depth to soak up the available minutes. Downsizing could suit the Cavs well versus the Nets, who lack elite rim attackers on the offensive end.

Ben Simmons: One of the biggest enigmas in the NBA, Ben Simmons figures to be a major swing piece for the Nets this season. He appeared in just 42 games last season and his role was continuously minimized as his struggles worsened. This season is a pivotal one for Simmons, potentially his last chance to show that he can regain the form of his early Philadelphia days. While his preseason performance has been promising, the real test begins now.

Development: As the Cavaliers start their season, perhaps the most exciting thing to watch for is the ways in which the Cavs’ young players have continued to grow. Which skills have been sharpened and what entirely new things have been added to their arsenals? Evan Mobley’s offensive repertoire, from his jump shot to his overall aggression, bears watching as his individual development is a major key to the Cavs taking the next step.

For Darius Garland, the improvements may be more subtle; things like added craft around the rim or improved strength to better hold up on defense. As always, the progress Isaac Okoro has made on his three-ball will be something to monitor, and likely a key determinant of his place in the rotation this season.

In what looks to be a season full of exciting basketball for the Cavaliers, a win in New York would be a quality start to 2023-24.

Prediction: Cavaliers 109, Nets 102

Upcoming schedule:

Fri, Oct 27 – vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

Sat, Oct 28 – vs. Indiana Pacers

Tue, Oct 31 – vs. New York Knicks

Next. 3 reasons why the Cavaliers will improve offensively this season. dark

Finally, the new season for the Wine and Gold is here, and this opening game figures to be an entertaining one.