Nets in Cleveland on Thursday:
By Matt McQueeny, NJNets.com
After winning two straight games – New Jersey beat the Wizards twice in a home-and-home set - the Nets head to Cleveland for a primetime showcase against the Cavaliers on Thursday night. Overall, The Nets have won six-of-their-last-eight games. Thursday’s contest will be a good barometer to where the Nets stand, as well as a sneak peak at a potential first round playoff matchup.
New Jersey (37-40) is currently the 7th seed in the East, two games behind the 6th seeded Wizards; the Cavaliers are currently the 5th seed, but only a half game behind the 2nd seeded Bulls.
The Cavs have meandered of late, losing seven-of-their-last-12. In their most recent game on Sunday, they lost to the Pistons in Auburn Hills, 87-82.
Lebron James led all Cavaliers in scoring in that game with 20, which should come as no surprise. James leads the club, at 27.5 points per game, but has taken it to another level since February 15th. In that period of 24 games, he has averaged 30.3 points on .483 shooting and has gone for 30+ in 12 of the games. James is also averaging 6.8 rebounds and 6 assists for the season.
Larry Hughes has been a considerable complement to King James this season. Hughes has averaged 14.8 points per game, and 15.2 points, 4.4 assists, and 4.2 rebounds in five games in April. On three days rest (three games), Hughes is averaging 21 points.
Cleveland’s other two double-digit scorers are Zydrunas Ilgauskas (11.9 ppg) and Drew Gooden (11.2 ppg); the duo is also the team’s leading rebounders, with 7.6 and 8.6 per game, respectively.
The Nets have really started to pick up their play and you need look no further than the play of the “big three” to see why. In the last two games - both against the Wizards - Kidd, Carter, and Jefferson averaged 76.5 points, 27.5 rebounds, and 25 assists per game. Jefferson, especially, has jumped back into the scoring fray, going for 27 on Saturday and 35 on Tuesday.
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