The Cleveland Cavaliers did something that no team has done to the Brooklyn Nets, and that’s lead by double-digits at halftime.
However, they play two halves in the NBA, and in the second half, Brooklyn(13-5) outscored Cleveland 65-49 and defeated the Cavs 117-112 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Monday night.
The Cavaliers(9-9) have now lost four straight.
Here is the Great, Not so Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to the Nets:
The Great for the Cavaliers:
-After missing three games due to illness, Cavs C Jarrett Allen had 20 points and a game-high 15 rebounds. Allen played well against his former team and was active on both ends of the court.
-Darius Garland had 16 of his 24 points in the first half, 11 assists, and five rebounds against the Nets, but he did not shoot that great from the field(9/27). However, he made everything go for the Cavs last night. For example, Cleveland was leading 73-64 with just under seven minutes left in the third when Garland, after taking a blow to the face from DeAndre’ Bembry, left the game. The Cavs were outscored 16-7 with Garland off the court, and ultimately, Brooklyn would have the momentum and take a two-point lead into the fourth.
-Lauri Markkanen made his return after missing nine games due to COVID. In his return, Markkanen scored 22 points and added eight rebounds.
-Second Quarter: Cleveland got out fast against Brooklyn and played exceptionally well in the second quarter as they outscored Brooklyn 36-26. The Cavs shot 53% from the floor in the quarter and took an 11-point lead into halftime.
The Not So Great for the Cavaliers:
-Third Quarter: See Garland at the top, but Cleveland was outscored 32-19 in the third. The Cavs shot 24% from the field, including 20% from three-point range. Furthermore, Brooklyn got hot in third and shot 57% from the floor.
Fourth Quarter Garland: The third-year guard shot 1/10 from the floor in the fourth, including 0/3 from downtown.
Referees?: After the game, Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff made it clear that he was not happy with the officiating on Monday night. With Cleveland trailing 106-105 late in the fourth, Ricky Rubio shot a three in the corner but was called for an offensive foul. It was a close call and one that the Cavs tried to challenge, but to no avail, as the referee did not see Bickerstaff calling for a timeout.
Patty Mills would hit a three for Brooklyn on the following possession to put the Nets up 109-105.
According to Cleveland.com, the Cavs were angry about a few calls, including two “phantom” calls on Kevin Durant jumpers — one early and one late. Constant uncalled contact on Darius Garland drives that led to just four free throws and Allen getting mugged in the paint.
“What’s right is right, and I thought there were definitely some calls that were missed, and that is wrong,” Bickerstaff said after the game.
Brooklyn has called for seven more fouls than Cleveland on Monday night.
The biggest stretch in this one is when Garland had to leave the game in the third. Cleveland lost their rhythm with him off the court. However, Brooklyn is an excellent team, and you’re going to have to be at your best to beat them. The Cavs are a work in progress, and obviously, this is a game they would have liked to have gotten, but learning how to win these close games consistently takes time.
Back to Bickerstaff’s rant about the refs, he did the right thing, and every so often, even if it cost you money, you have to protect your players, and that is what he did on Monday night.
Watch Bickerstaff’s rant below:
Best of the Rest:
-Cleveland had five guys in double figures, and all five players scored at least 15 points or more for the second time this season. Rubio had 16 points, seven rebounds, and five assists off the bench.
-Kevin Durant led Brooklyn with 27 points; LaMarcus Aldridge added 21 points off the bench, Patty Mills had 17 points, including a game-high five threes, and James Harden had 14 points and a game-high 14 assists. Brooklyn also had five players in double figures.