In an ugly game that featured up and down effort from the Cavaliers, the Brooklyn Nets pulled away in the fourth quarter behind 21 points on 7-10 shooting from Deron Williams. Playing with very little energy on either side of the ball, the Cavaliers finished the first half down 13 and looked like they might end up being blown out by the Nets in the Barclays Center. But an aggressive third quarter led by C.J. Miles in which the Cavaliers pushed the pace throughout allowed them to come back and even take a 63-60 lead. Unfortunately the Cavaliers trend of weak fourth quarters continued as they only scored 17 points in the final 12 minutes and the Nets were able to pull away just enough for the win. Williams’s 21 points led the Nets while Dion Waiters paced the Cavaliers with 26 points off the bench. There was no doubt that the Cavaliers missed Kyrie Irving as Jarrett Jack made just 1-8 shots and had trouble on the defense end, although he did have 7 assists versus 0 turnovers.
Key Play of the Game
While one could point to the Nets having a conga line to the rim in the first half or Waiters picking up a technical foul late in the game, the Cavaliers’ poor shooting from the line really hurt them. The Cavaliers shot 14-20 from the line, making just 70% of their free throws. Meanwhile, the Nets were 19-22 from the charity stripe, making 86% of their freebees. This accounts for five points of the Nets seven point margin of victory.
Wine & Gold MVP
While Miles did a great job energizing the Cavaliers in the third quarter, Waiters was the only Cavalier to have consistent success against the Nets. Shooting 9-18 and 3-5 from three, Waiters could score at will, although his 0 assists and technical foul late in the game tarnish his effort somewhat.