Two teams that entered the 2013-14 NBA season with high expectations enter their Saturday night showdown in the middle of disappointing seasons.
The Brooklyn Nets (11-21) and Cleveland Cavaliers (11-21) have identical records, but for very different reasons. The Nets have dealt with various injuries and have not gelled as a team due to lack of on-court playing time. Leading the way is a rookie head coach who is still trying to find his footing in a league that he once ruled. The players have fought through everything that has been thrown their way and now look ready for a major breakthrough.
The Cavaliers are facing different obstacles as their season has gone from promising to down-right disastrous. The signing of Andrew Bynum was supposed to bring the Cavaliers stability in the middle, but he has shown the same immaturity that made the Los Angeles Lakers ship their young but talented center to the Philadelphia 76ers last year. Now he is suspended from the team for undisclosed reasons. The Cavaliers used the No. 1 pick in the draft on Anthony Bennett, who is now considered one of the worst picks ever in NBA history. To make matters worse, there are reports of in-house fighting, dislike between players and the on-again off-again trade rumors of Dion Waiters and Bynum.
The Nets have a chance to start the new year on a two-game winning streak as the basketball gods have smiled down on them. Kyrie Irving is out for the game Saturday as he nurses a knee injury. No Irving or Bynum should spell disaster for the Cavaliers and another win for the now healthy Nets. But the way the season has gone for both teams, rarely do things go as expected.