For the Nets, the rest of the season will be all about developing players such as Donald Sloan. “The opportunity is there. I want to try to make the most of it every night,” he said recently, during a stretch in which he has become the starting point guard and has risen to the new occasion.

The knowledge that he is going to play regularly, and a lot, has been reassuring and has kept him away from the temptation to do too much. The downside of being the replacement for injured veteran point guard Jarrett Jack, though, is facing a star or budding star just about every night. The Nets lately have been burned by Damian Lillard and DeMar DeRozan and last night had to face the Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving.

“Obviously those guys present problems with penetration, they present problems with shot-making ability, especially from deep,” interim coach Tony Brown said. “It’s kind of been our Achilles heel throughout the season. It’s a dilemma for us.”

J.R. drama for Cavs

A subplot to the Cavaliers’ humiliating 132-98 home loss to the Warriors Monday was the drama surrounding J.R. Smith. The former Knick arrived less than an hour before the opening tip, which called into question his commitment. “It’s been addressed internally,” coach David Blatt said Wednesday.

Smith actually played well, while he was in there. But he was ejected after a flagrant foul. “I’m not sure that if that was someone else, that [would have been called] a flagrant foul, in all honesty. But that’s not my decision,” Blatt said. “Nonetheless, we did talk about it.”

Fans get to let finger do talking

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Each fan was given a “Whammy” foam finger, inspired by “Mr. Whammy,” the fan who conspicuously wiggles his fingers in an attempt to hex opposing free throw shooters. Last season, LeBron James reportedly asked that the fan be removed from his spot behind the basket.