Game 74: Cavs at Nets
Radio: WTAM-AM 1100, WMMS-FM 100.7, La Mega-FM 97.7
TV: Fox Sports Ohio
1. The Cavaliers had been playing their best basketball of the season. They came up woefully short against the Nets tonight. They were outplayed by Brooklyn, which got separation by outscoring the Cavaliers in the fourth quarter, 27-19. The Cavaliers seemed to have a major letdown after their impressive win in Memphis on Wednesday.
2. The Nets snapped a four-game losing streak to the Cavaliers. They had lost the first three games in the season series to Cleveland.
3. The Cavaliers played "small" in the fourth quarter, leaving the 6-10 Tristan Thompson to defend the 7-0, 275-pound Brook Lopez. Cavaliers coach David Blatt said after the game he didn't think Lopez hurt them. He ended with 20 points and nine rebounds. However, he had just four points and one rebound in the fourth. Maybe Blatt was right, but that puts a lot of strain on the Cavs' defense. They gave up two first-round picks in order to acquire Timofey Mozgov. I just don't get why they don't play him, especially when the other team goes "big."
4. They are now 21-18 on the road this season. They are 5-2 in their last seven road games. They are assured of at least a .500 record away from The Q. They've only finished above .500 four times in their 45-year history: 27-14 in 2008-09, 26-15 in 2009-10, 22-19 in 1991-92 and 21-20 in 1995-96. I'm guessing they'll finish with the third-best road record in franchise history.
5. I loved the way Jarrett Jack ran the Nets offense. He played with such efficiency. His plus-minus was +10. Jack finished with 16 points, seven in the fourth quarter. The former Cavs guard added four rebounds, five assists and two steals.
6. The Cavs had their four-game winning streak snapped. It can be traced to them not sharing the basketball. They had just 17 assists, nine by LeBron James. They spent most of the game playing one-on-one. That's not going to work.
7. The Nets were desperate for a victory. They need wins, and plenty of them. They are currently ninth in the Eastern Conference playoff race. They are fighting with Boston, Charlotte and Indiana for that No. 8 spot. I'm conceding the seventh seed to Miami.
8. Brooklyn were missing three rotational players in forward Thaddeus Young (left knee strain), swingman Sergey Karasev (right knee surgery) and forward Mirza Teletovic (blood clot). Young had been starting at the "4" spot. They shifted Mason Plumlee into the starting lineup.
9. LeBron James (24,794) is 22 points shy of passing former Knicks center Patrick Ewing (24,815) for No. 20 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
10. J.R. Smith's eight points pushed him past 10,000 for his career. He became the fourth player on the Cavs’ roster to reach that mark (James, Shawn Marion and Mike Miller are already there).
UP NEXT: vs. Philadelphia, Quicken Loans Arena, 4:30 p.m. Sunday.
SF LeBron James (6-8, 250) vs. Joe Johnson (6-7, 240)
C Timofey Mozgov (7-1, 250) vs. Brook Lopez (7-0, 275)
SG J.R. Smith (6-6, 220) vs. Markel Brown (6-3, 190)
Nets - G/F Sergey Karasev, F Mirza Teletovic
Joe Crawford, Pat Fraher, Marat Kogut