This article is part of our Handicapping the NBA series.
Alex Barutha: Kyrie Irving to get 32+ points and James Harden to get 25+ points vs CLE (+250) – PointsBet 12:30 PM CT
Kevin Durant is out for Achilles injury recovery (aka: rest), so Irving and Harden are now the only reliable sources of playmaking on the Nets. Since Harden joined the team, he's averaging 30.8 points per 36 minutes with Durant off the court. On the season as a whole, with Durant, Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert off the court, Irving is averaging 52 points per 36 minutes (in a good-enough 25-minute sample). So, I feel relatively confident both of them will hit this mark Friday. The smarter bet might just be taking the over on Irving's points, which is 26.5 (-115) at PointsBet.
Nick Whalen: Brooklyn Nets -7.5 (-110) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (DraftKings Sportsbook, 10:30AM CT)
The Cavs may no longer be the doormat in the Eastern Conference, but they're not knocking off the Nets two times in three days. Seven-and-a-half points is a decent cushion, but I expect Brooklyn to be significantly more focused defensively and cut down on turnovers in Kyrie Irving's second game alongside James Harden. This version of the Nets will never be a defensive juggernaut, but they can do a better job containing Collin Sexton, who won't consistently hit the kind of shots he was knocking down Wednesday night. Chances are, the Cavs also won't go 20-of-40 from three, with Damyean Dotson, Cedi Osman and Taurean Prince accounting for 10 of those makes.