The NBA’s point guard of the future goes head to head with one increasingly of the past as the Cleveland Cavaliers travel to Brooklyn. While Nets playmaker Deron Williams is under fire for his poor form this season, the Cavs young pup Kyrie Irving has been quick to build on his Rookie of the Year showing when injuries have not leapt in his way.
Cleveland won’t make the play-offs this season but they’re maybe just one or two good signings away from being a contender in the East for the first time since LeBron James took his talents elsewhere.
Brooklyn presumed such small tinkering would get them over the top when they signed Joe Johnson for big money last summer but with Williams claiming the Nets system doesn’t maximise his talents, they’ve been overshadowed by their city rivals. And on Thursday, they’ve pulled the plug on coach Avery Johnson in order to produce a long-term change. Short-term, back the Cavs on the handicap to come up trumps and take advantage of their disarray.
The current Hornets meet the possible future Hornets when New Orleans heads back to their former home in Charlotte. And with the team from the Big Easy pondering a name change to the Pelicans, fans of retro NBA would dearly love to see the Buzz back in North Carolina where it belongs.
On the court, both would settle for a fresh start, with little to look forward to except the potential of next summer’s Draft lottery. The Bobcats have been wretched since a promising start and their Friday loss to the Nets was their 17th reverse in a row. At least in New Orleans, Anthony Davis’ return has hinted at a possible mini-revival so take the Hornets on the handicap of -2.5 at 1.91.
Amid a flurry of Friday shocks, Miami’s loss to lowly Detroit stood out after the Pistons erased an early 15-point deficit. Dwyane Wade sat out through suspension but with the All Star returning against Milwaukee on Saturday, take the Heat over the Bucks on the handicap of -4.5 and expect the total points to leap over 198.0, available at 1.91.
Bet of the day: Take New Orleans on the handicap over Charlotte.