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It’s January and we have a highly-anticipated moment in the NBA: the season debut of Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving. There’s literally no need to rehash anything about his decision, the team’s choices and everyone’s reasons for everything. The time is nigh to see what this means on the court now and how it’s going to affect us, the important folks, the betting public.
Brooklyn is on the road for a one-game road pass against the Pacers and things may not have worked out better for the All-Star’s return. Of course Irving can only play on the road but that’s good news for the Nets in the immediate future because they play him in 12 of their next 18 games. But what do we expect from the returner?
Limited play. That’s got to be the real expectation. He’s averaged 34 minutes a game in his career and he probably won’t be there until after the All-Star Break, but it’s reasonable to expect 10-12 minutes early. More importantly than his presence will be the relief a lot of the Nets can feel knowing relief is in sight. James Harden and Kevin Durant have been going to the wall every single night and it’s exhausting. That’s why you can understand Harden calling Irving’s return a much-needed “spark”. You’ve been there even in work. Something just feels different when you don’t have to carry the entire workload. That’s what’s great about our matchup tonight.
Indiana has dropped five straight games and 8 out of their last 10. They are more than limping. This roster has had it’s struggles too and they are severely limited with the continued lack of Caris LeVert, Malcolm Brogdon and Chris Duarte (50.6ppg). The Nets, despite all of that workload talk, are still crushing it on the road. They are 13-3 overall on the road and 10-6 ATS and that’s vastly superior to their home spread record. This is why it’s such a good spot for us tonight. Everything points for a much needed rebound game for the Nets. I’ll take Kyrie’s crew -6.5.