It’s a stud showdown in Cleveland between LeBron and LeBrow …
Bad puns aside, it is indeed a stud showdown. Meanwhile, Matty Moore’s Nuggets continue to battle for a playoff spot in the highly contested Western Conference. They’ve dropped two straight and opened the door for the Clippers, who have won three straight.
Here’s what you need to know for tonight’s slate. — Mark Gallant
All info as of Friday morning. Check back during the day and keep an eye on our Twitter handle for any updates.
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NEW ORLEANS PELICANS AT CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (-4) | O/U: 229.5
8 p.m. ET | ESPN
What the metrics say: These teams first met in the opening week of the season, and the Pels ran away with it at home 117-92. These are drastically different squads now, however, as the Cavs rehauled their roster at the trade deadline and the Pels lost DeMarcus Cousins for the year. New Orleans really barred off the rim in the first meeting, with the Cavs taking only 11 shots in the restricted area. That won’t be the case in this one, as the main lineup with Nikola Mirotic and Anthony Davis at the 4-5 has allowed a 37.6% shot frequency at the rim this year. Further, the Cavs’ new-look offense has been very impressive: Since trading away Dwyane Wade and Isaiah Thomas, all lineups with LeBron James and Kevin Love have posted a +9.5 net rating and scored a ridiculous 119.1 points per 100 possessions. If the Cavs can shore up their defense even further, they’ll be back atop the perch in the East come playoff time. — Bryan Mears