There’s a lot of Royalty on show in Brooklyn tonight. LeBron James, the reigning King of the NBA. And Wills and Kate, who’ll be adding a regal touch to the Barclays Center as the heir to the British throne pays a visit.
Even by New York standards, it threatens to generate a media whirlwind. But then the Cleveland Cavaliers are getting accustomed to becoming the league’s aristocrats with their own claims on the title now strengthened with six successive wins.
It was never in doubt that James would step up upon his return home, even amid the sub-par start that has seen the Cavs drop from outright favourites for the championship to join the Spurs at 4.50.
But the rest of his team-mates are now making a compelling case that Cleveland will be the team to beat come the summer with their record 11-7 and rising heading into their trip to the Nets.
Since their current streak started, James & Co have been giving up an average of just 90.7 points per game – a figure that would put them top of the NBA’s defensive charts.
And they’ve also risen to fifth in offensive efficiency with 107.0 points per 100 possessions. Much of the credit for that should go to Kyrie Irving, who is notching 26.7 points over his last three games on a blistering 59% shooting.
That promises seems destined to continue against a Brooklyn side which is a lowly 1-7 against opponents with .500-plus records and with the Nets attack flailing, look under a total points line of around 195.5 for best value in this battle royale.
Best bet: Take Cleveland on the handicap of -12.5 against Brooklyn at 2.95