The Cleveland Cavaliers begin their season against the high octane Brooklyn Nets team that looks to be aged to perfection. The Cavs are the polar opposite with plenty of youth and athleticism. The young and promising team was built primarily through the last three years with the Cavs adding players such as Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters, Tyler Zeller, Sergey Karasev and Anthony Bennett.
There is one question regarding the starting lineup: Will Andrew Bynum or Anderson Varejao start at Center. Bynum is the major acquisition of the offseason as the Cavs pulled a stunning move to sign him. He played for the Los Angeles Lakers from 2005-2012. He was listed as inactive on Tuesday but he could still start tonight. Bynum participated in full court drills so it is possible he will play tonight. Bynum provides size (7 feet tall, 285 pounds) for the Cavs at Center.
Some experts question the move since Bynum was out of all of last year with a variety of knee injuries. His recent injury history has fans and reporters skeptical about his future in the N.B.A. However, if Bynum is healthy and remains that way the whole season, then he is going to a major scoring threat and the Cavs will look to have a high octane offense this year if Bynum returns to form. He averaged 18.7 games during the 2011-2012 season.
Cavs key to victory: Use age against the Nets
Older teams typically have one major weakness that can be exploited by young teams: endurance. The Cavs must create a lot of turnovers and create fast break opportunities on offense. The fast break will likely wear the Nets down as the second half goes on. Mike Brown is a defensive minded head Coach and it should be easy for him to preach this message loud and clear. If the players respond to that message, the Cavs are very likely going to win this game.
The Cavs must not be overconfident in any part of this game. The Nets have so many veterans can make a comeback even if Cleveland has a 20 point lead. The Cavs must remember that until the game clock reads “0” in the 4th quarter, the Nets are not finished. Cleveland must be relentless in pursuit of a win.
Cleveland must let Irving have opportunities to nail three pointers and slash into the post to score. If Irving can get Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez in early foul trouble, that will help a great deal. Garnett, 37, enters his 19th year in the N.B.A.
Bennett must have some game time here as well. He has the opportunity to have a huge rookie year due to his scoring ability. It is crucial to give the Cavs a huge momentum boost and give Thompson or Earl Clark the opportunity to rest when needed. It feels great to have a strong presence off the bench.
Nets key to victory: Slow the game down; use your experience to win
A slow paced game favors the Nets. The last thing Brooklyn wants to do is shoot themselves in the foot and run a fast paced game all the way and wear themselves. Down.
If Brooklyn falls behind, that is when veteran leadership will be a key for them. They will not be like a bunch of rival wolves vying for leadership. The Nets look to be a cohesive unit that will not be intimidated so easily.
This game will likely be a high scoring game. The Nets look to be the heavy favorite but the Cavs have an arsenal of big time scorers this season. This game looks to be a toss-up.