NBA Basketball - New Jersey Nets at Cleveland Cavaliers (-6.5) 8:00 PM ET
Cleveland has a stake in this influential East Conference conflict. The Cavaliers are just 5-5 in last ten tilts in alternating wins and losses. With Chicago on typical late season rush (8-2), they have tied Cleveland and hold the all important tiebreaker. Any loss effectively places the Cavs two games behind and further distances them from coveted number two seed in the East.
When asked about playoff positioning, LeBron James gave a rather surprising answer, "It doesn't matter. We're not the kind of team that wants to win games or lose games to meet a certain team in the first round.
We want whoever. Me being a leader, it doesn't matter who we play. I think we can beat any team in the East. I'm sure any team in the East will feel the same way about us. It doesn't matter who we play in the first round. We'll be ready." Despite being the team leader, having the second seed and home court advantage means more then King James want to let on.
Cleveland is 2-1 this season against New Jersey and is a 6.5-point favorite at sportsbook.com with a total of 186. The Cavaliers are 12-4 ATS when playing against a team with a losing record in the second half of this season winning by an average of 10 points a game.
New Jersey has won six of nine (3-6 ATS) and has the "Big Three" back in action and contributing. Over the last two seasons Jason Kidd, Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson have spear-headed the Nets to 2 strong trends. New Jersey is 12-3 ATS as a road underdog of 6.5 to 9 points and a matching 12-3 against the spread in road games after a win by 6 points or less.
With the stakes this high, playing New Jersey has bountiful value, as they have covered five in a row in Cleveland and are 12-1 ATS overall. The Nets are the underdog and the pooch in this series is 8-3 against the number.
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