Kyrie Irving’s time in Brooklyn needed to end

Kyrie Irving’s time with the Brooklyn Nets has reportedly come to an end. 

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Mavericks are sending Dorian Finney-Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie, an unprotected 2029 first-round pick, and second-round picks in 2027 and 2029 to the Nets in exchange for Irving and Markieff Morris.

The 30-year-old Irving, who can become a free agent at the end of the season, reportedly requested a trade from the Nets on Friday, and two days later, he’s on the move. Irving reportedly requested a trade after he and the Nets could not come together on a contract extension.

Now, Irving will team with Luka Doncic. Dallas(28-26) needed another star to team with Doncic, and for at least the rest of the season, they will have that, and if Irving can be a good solider for the next few months, maybe he could have a home in Dallas, but history tells us, that could be a problem.

According to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, Irving’s extension talks are expected to be put off until this summer. He is eligible for a two-year extension now and a four-year deal in the summer.

Irving, who is averaging 27.1 ppg in 40 games this season, is worth the risk for the Mavericks. Dallas was treading water and needed to do something. Here’s another reality, if things don’t work out for Dallas, they will have cap space.

According to MacMahon, if they don’t re-sign the eight-time All-Star, the Mavs will have close to max salary cap space this summer. 

Regarding the Nets(32-20), they get Dinwiddie(17.3 PPG), a decent scorer, and Finney-Smith is a solid 3-and-D wing player, so when Kevin Durant gets healthy, the Nets can still compete. According to Wojnarowski, the Nets will continue to try to improve their roster before the trade deadline.

Irving spent four seasons with the Nets, and injuries were an issue throughout his time with Brooklyn; not receiving the COVID vaccine caused him to miss time, and retweeting a film that some have called antisemitic was an issue, and in the end, both parties needed a divorce.

NBA announces All-Star starters

LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo were named captains in the 2023 All-Star Game at Vivint Arena in Utah, the league announced Thursday.

In the East, Jayson Tatum, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Donovan Mitchell were named starters, while in the West, James will be joined by Nikola Jokic, Zion Williamson, Luka Doncic, and Stephen Curry in the starting lineup.

James(7,418,116), who made his NBA-record-tying 19th All-Star appearance, was the leading vote-getter overall, and Antetokounmpo(6,761,032) was the leading vote-getter in the East.

Fans, current NBA players, and a media panel selected starters for the 2023 NBA All-Star Game. Fans accounted for 50 percent of the vote to determine the starters, while players and media accounted for 25 percent each.

Each player’s score was calculated by averaging his weighted rank from the fan votes, the player votes and the media votes. The two guards and three frontcourt players with the best score in each conference were named NBA All-Star Game starters.

The All-Star reserves will be named on February 2, and the NBA All-Star game will take place on February 19.  On that night, James and Antetokounmpo will select their teammates.

Notes:

-At 23, Doncic joins Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal, Isiah Thomas, and Anthony Davis as the only players to earn four All-Star nods before their 24th birthday.

-This is Mitchell’s fourth NBA All-Star selection and his first time being selected as a starter.

-Williamson, who is also an All-Star starter for the first time his career, becomes the fourth New Orleans player to be voted a starter, joining Chris Paul (twice), Anthony Davis (x3), and DeMarcus Cousins.

The Great, Not So Great, & Bottom Line of Cavs’ loss to Nets

The Cavs(22-13) finished their six-game homestand on Monday against the Nets(22-12) and trailed by as many as 19 points before rallying late, but they would fall to the Nets 125-117 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

The Nets have won nine straight, while the Cavs, who ended their homestand 4-2, have lost two straight.

Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to the Nets:

Great:

Darius Garland had a game-high 46 points(14/20 FG), including five threes and eight assists; he had 18 points in the fourth; Garland cut Brooklyn’s 19-point fourth-quarter lead to four with just under a minute to go. However, just like what happened against Minnesota, where he scored 27 points in the fourth, it wasn’t enough.

Not So Great:

Defense: Cleveland allowed the Nets to shoot 57% from the floor, including 60% from deep. The Cavs are one the better defensive teams in the NBA, but they had no answers for the Nets. Specifically, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, who combined for 12 threes and had 32 points apiece.

The final 3:54 seconds of the first half: Cavs trailed for most of the game, and in the first half, they cut the lead to 44-43, but Brooklyn closed the half on a 21-6 run, and the Nets took a 16-point lead at halftime.

Donovan Mitchell struggled again with his shot as he finished 5-16 from the field and ended the night with 15 points. Brooklyn did a great job of keeping him under control.

In the last two games, Mitchell is 9-32 from the field.

Bottom Line:

After starting this homestand 4-0, the Cavs got humbled by the Raptors and Nets.

Cleveland needed more of an answer for Brooklyn’s firepower and could not limit Durant and Irving.

The Cavs are a very good team, but not surprisingly, they have more to do to be a championship team. Again, Cleveland’s very good, but something could be missing. They may need another piece.

What’s Next:

Cleveland goes on the road to battle the Pacers on Thursday night.

Best of the Rest:

The Nets had six players in double figures. T.J. Warren had 23 points and eight rebounds off the bench, and Ben Simmons added four points, nine rebounds, and eight assists.

Jarrett Allen had 10 points and 11 rebounds. Cleveland had five players in double figures.

Robin Lopez(illness) was out against Brooklyn.

Simmons: ‘I feel like I’m in a good place’

Ben Simmons returned to Philadelphia for the first time as an active player on Tuesday night, and it appeared it would be an easy night for the Nets as the 76ers were without Joel Embiid, James Harden, and Tyrese Maxey, who were all out due to injuries.

However, Tobias Harris had a game and season-high 24 points, De’Anthony Melton added 22 points, including a career-high tying six threes, and Paul Reed chipped in with season-highs of 19 points and 10 rebounds off the bench as the 76ers defeated the Nets 115-106 at Wells Fargo Center.

Back to Simmons, who had a tremendous all-around game with 11 points, seven rebounds, 11 assists, three steals, and three blocks, he was booed during introductions, and he was booed every time he touched the ball. Last season, he came to Philly as a member of the Nets as he was dealt to Brooklyn before last season’s trade deadline, but he was a spectator due to injury. Throughout that game, he was booed heavily. However, it was not as bad this time.

“I thought it was going to be louder,” Simmons said after the loss.

We all expected more from the Philly faithful, but with Embiid, Harden, and Maxey out, the fans probably did not think Philadelphia had much chance, which may have impacted the crowd’s energy.

The number one overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft has played well in the last three games as he’s averaging 16 points, 7.6 assists, and 9.3 rebounds per contest, and according to him, he’s in a good place.

“I feel like I’m in a good place to come in here and just play basketball,” Simmons said. “I’m happy. I’m doing what I love, so being able to be out there and experience it was amazing. Obviously, we did not get the result that we wanted. It’s frustrating to lose a game like that, but I think it’s a great step forward.”

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving liked how Simmons handled his return to Philadelphia.

He [Ben Simmons] did pretty good to me,” Durant, who had 20 points, said. “You never know how he really feels about it; you know what I’m saying? Unless you ask him, but he looked solid to me.”

Irving, who had a team-high 23 points, added: “I think he (Ben Simmons) did well. Obviously, we wanted to focus on our team win, but the crowd is not going anywhere, so it’s good to hear their loud voices, hear their boos, and next time hopefully, that motivates us to go out there and get that win a little bit more. We had the lead earlier in the first half, and then we gave it up, so think he did well.”

It appears Simmons is in a better place mentally and physically, and maybe the time away has humbled him, which is always a good thing. In the end, he’s cleared another hurdle. 

Kevin Durant is where he needs to be in Brooklyn

Kevin Durant has decided to stay in Brooklyn after all. The 14-year veteran requested a trade in June and reportedly wanted the team to fire GM Sean Marks and coach Steve Nash. However, on Tuesday, Durant made the decision to stay with the Nets.

According to a statement from the team, Durant and his business partner Rich Kleiman met with Nets’ ownership, Marks, and Nash. Ultimately, they came to a resolution.

“Steve Nash and I, together with Joe Tsai and Clara Wu Tsai, met with Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman in Los Angeles yesterday,” Marks said in the statement. “We have agreed to move forward with our partnership. We are focusing on basketball, with one collective goal in mind: build lasting franchise to bring a championship to Brooklyn.”

The 33-year-old signed a four-year, $198 contract extension last summer, and that deal begins this season.

Here’s the reality, the Nets have a championship-caliber team. Kyrie Irving, who opted into the final your of his contract after playing in only 29 regular season games due to his refusal to take any COVID vaccines, has a lot to prove this season because he wants to get a big contract in the offseason, so he should be very committed to staying on the court and proving that he’s an elite player that can be trusted. 

Additionally, Ben Simmons is on track to be ready for training camp after offseason surgery. We can say many things about Simmons, but he’s a three-time All-Star, an elite defender(two-time NBA All-Defensive First Team), and has a winning skillset. There was pressure on him to score in Philly, but that will not be the case in Brooklyn as Durant, Irving, and others will handle the scoring load.  

Furthermore, they have shooting with Seth Curry, Patty Mills, and Joe Harris and acquired a solid player in Royce O’Neal from Utah. Also, they added more scoring with T.J. Warren. They could still use some size, but this roster has a decent amount of depth. On paper, it may be the most talented roster in the NBA. Any place Durant would have gone, that team would have had to deplete their roster and draft assets to get him, so again, staying put makes the most sense and gives him the best chance to win another NBA title.

Cavs start slow, finish strong but fall in Brooklyn

The Cleveland Cavaliers were hoping to punch their ticket to the NBA Playoffs when they battled the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center Tuesday night in the Play-In Tournament.

Cleveland never led and trailed by 20 points after the first quarter and was down by as many as 22. The Cavs battled back and cut the lead to five late in the game; however, they could not get any closer as the Nets defeated Cleveland 115-108. 

Kyrie Irving had 34 points(12/15 FG, 3/6 3-PT FG) and 12 assists; Irving made his first 12 shots; Kevin Durant added 25 points, five rebounds, 11 assists, and three blocks.

The Nets get the seventh seed in the East and will battle the second seed, the Boston Celtics. The Cavs will try to get the eighth seed Friday night against the winner of Hornets/Hawks.

Here is the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to the Nets:

The Great for the Cavs:

Darius Garland scored 16 of his 34 points in the fourth. Garland scored the first nine points for Cleveland in the final quarter, and he tried to rescue the Cavs. 

The moment was not too big for him, and the moment has not been too big for him all season long. This is what you want from your best player in a big spot. The All-Star also added five assists and two steals. 

-The moment wasn’t too big for rookie Evan Mobley as well. He had 14 of his 19 points in the second half to go along with seven rebounds and two blocks. Mobley has been steady all season long, and he was steady Tuesday night in Brooklyn.

-Rajon Rondo morphed into “Playoff Rondo” against the Nets. He made the right play time after time. The stat line wasn’t super impressive as Rondo had seven points and nine assists in 26 minutes of action, but he got it done for the Cavs. Rondo and Caris LeVert were the only two Cavs with a positive rating(+2), and Rondo had the best rating in the second half for Cleveland at +9. 

Any Quarter but the First: Cleveland trailed by 20 after the first quarter, but they outscored Brooklyn by 13 points in the final three quarters. They held Brooklyn to 17 points in the second quarter. After shooting 35% in the first half, Cleveland shot 55% from the field, including 50% from deep in the second half. They scored 35 points in the fourth quarter on 55% shooting, but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough.

The Not So Great for the Cavs:

First Quarter: Last Friday, the Cavaliers trailed Brooklyn 34-19 after one quarter, and Tuesday night, the Nets got off to another great start. Brooklyn shot 71% from the floor, including 67% from downtown. Kyrie Irving was 5/5 from the field and scored 11 points in the first quarter; he finished with 20 points in the first half on 9/9 shooting.

The Nets led 40-20 after one quarter and 57-43 at halftime.

Turnovers: Cleveland had 15 turnovers, which led to 24 points for Brooklyn. 

-Isaac Okoro: The second-year guard struggled with his shot Tuesday night. He was 0/3 from the field, all threes, and finished with zero points in 13 minutes. No one expects Okoro to score a bunch, but he had open looks, and he has to make some of those open shots.

Bottom Line:

You can’t spot Brooklyn 20 points and expect to win. Cleveland played well after the first quarter, but they were swimming upstream just like last Friday’s game.

Brooklyn could win a championship, so there is no shame in losing this game. Cleveland has two games to win one. Hopefully, they can get back their All-Star center Jarrett Allen. Cleveland is 35-21 with Allen this season and 9-17 without him, so getting him back would help.

Getting to the playoffs won’t be easy; it should be fun to see the excitement at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse Friday night.

What’s Next:

The Cavs return home to battle the winner of Hornets/Hawks in the Play-In Game.

Best of the Rest:

-Kevin Love had a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds; Lauri Markkanen chipped in with 13 points, and LeVert had 12 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, and three steals.  

-Bruce Brown had 18 points, nine rebounds, eight assists, and three steals; Andre Drummond chipped in with 16 points and eight rebounds, and Nic Claxton had 13 points and nine rebounds.

Listen below as Garland and Love discuss the team’s loss to Brooklyn:

Cavs fight but fall short in Brooklyn

The Cleveland Cavaliers had a big one Friday night in Brooklyn against the Nets. The winner of this game would have possession of the seventh seed in the East.

Brooklyn led by as many as 17 points, but Cleveland did take their first lead in the third. However, Brooklyn dominated the fourth and defeated the Cavs 118-107 at Barclays Center.

Kevin Durant had a game-high 36 points; Kyrie Irving and Bruce Brown added 18 points apiece; Brown also added 10 rebounds. All five of Brooklyn’s starters scored in double figures.

Cleveland(43-38) has now lost three straight and dropped to eighth in the East, while the Nets(43-38) have won three straight. Brooklyn won the season series(3-1) over the Cavs, which means they are the seventh seed.

Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to the Nets:

The Great for the Cavs:

-Darius Garland played like a superstar against Brooklyn. He shot 12/24 from the field, including three threes, and finished with 31 points in 41 minutes of action. The All-Star scored 21 of those 31 points in the second and third quarters. He probably should have played the whole second half, but we’ll get to that later.

-Evan Mobley was back after missing five games with a sprained ankle, and he picked up where he left off. The rookie had 17 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks. He also became the eighth Cavs rookie to go over 1000 points in a season. Mobley plays winning basketball, and everything he does contributes to winning.

-Lamar Stevens did not fill up the box score as he only had two points on 1/5 shooting from the field to go along with two rebounds, but he did defend his butt off in the third quarter when the Cavs were making their run. Kevin Durant still got his points; however, late in the third, he forced two Durant turnovers. It wasn’t enough, but give Stevens credit.

Second and Third Quarters: Cleveland trailed 34-19 after the first quarter and looked dead in the water. However, in the second quarter, things got better. Garland had 10 points in the quarter; Cleveland outscored Brooklyn 35-28 and trailed 62-54 at the break.

In the third, things got even better for the Cavs. Brooklyn led 70-60 with just under ten minutes left in the quarter, but Cleveland outscored Brooklyn 28-13 the rest of the third and led by as many as seven. Garland again was big time as he had 11 points in the quarter. The Cavs outscored Brooklyn 34-21 in the third and took an 88-83 lead into the fourth.

Cleveland outscored Brooklyn 69-49 in the second and third quarters.

The Not So Great for the Cavs:

First Quarter: Cleveland did not get the start they wanted. Brooklyn shot 57% from the field, including 4/8 from deep. On the other hand, Cleveland shot 40% from the floor, including 0/7 from downtown. The Cavs had issues stopping Durant, who had 16 points in the quarter. Brooklyn took their largest lead of the game at 34-17 and led 34-19 after one. 

Second Chance Points: Brooklyn is a great offensive team. They are tough to stop, but they become even harder to control when you give them second and third chances. The Nets outrebounded the Cavs 45-31, and Brooklyn had 25-second chance points Friday night, which is a lot. Rebounding is a big part of defense, and Cleveland had difficulty closing the possessions with a rebound. 

Fourth Quarter: Cleveland had all the momentum going into the fourth, but the Nets have firepower for days, and it’s hard to keep them from scoring. Brooklyn went on a 10-4 run to start the fourth to take the lead for good. The Nets led by as many as 15 points in the fourth. The Cavs appeared to run out of gas in the fourth as the Nets outscored them 35-19 in the quarter.

The first 3:09 of the Fourth: You hate to be critical of anybody in this one, but Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff may have made a mistake by resting Garland early in the fourth. Garland was rolling, and so was the team while he was on the court. He did play the whole second and third quarters; however, Garland did get rest at halftime and before the start of the fourth. The Cavs should have ridden its young star to the end. Brooklyn took the lead back while Garland was on the bench and never relinquished it.

Bottom Line:

Cleveland battled in this one, and they played their hearts out, but Brooklyn is Brooklyn, so winning this game would be tough. The Cavs have to start better to beat a team of Brooklyn’s caliber.

Fortunately, the eighth-seeded Cavs got a little help as the Hawks fell to the Heat, which allowed Cleveland to hold the eighth seed and keep the eighth seed if they beat the Bucks in the season finale. The Cavs can still get the seventh seed, but they need to win and Brooklyn to lose to the Pacers at home, which is highly unlikely.

So, Cleveland could be returning to Brooklyn next Tuesday for the 7-8 game in the Play-In Tournament. 

However, unfortunately, Cleveland could fall to the 10th seed if they lose to the Bucks, and Charlotte(Wizards), Atlanta(@Rockets), and Brooklyn(Pacers) win their final game, which would be disastrous.

Getting the eighth seed won’t be easy for Cleveland as the Bucks are still fighting for the second seed in the East, so Sunday’s game should be very interesting.

Remember, the seventh and eighth seeds have two games to win one, while the ninth and tenth seeded teams have to win twice to make the playoffs.

Quotes:

“I’m proud of the way they played and proud of the effort that they played with, the way they kept coming back and staying in the game,” Bickerstaff said after the game.

What’s Next:

The Cavs return home to battle the Bucks in the regular-season finale.

 Best of the Rest:

-Lauri Markkanen had 17 points; Caris LeVert added 16, and Kevin Love had 10 points and nine rebounds off the bench.

-Andre Drummond had a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds for Brooklyn.

-Cavs shot 8/27 from three-point range.

Listen below as the Garland and Drummond react to loss to Brooklyn:

76ers’ Harden on loss to Nets: ‘We got our a** kicked’

With Ben Simmons getting booed as he watched in street clothes, the Brooklyn Nets went into Philly Thursday night and beat up and beat down the 76ers 129-100 at Wells Fargo Center.

This was Philly’s(40-25) most lopsided loss of the season.

Brooklyn(34-33) led from start to finish and led by as many as 36 points. Kevin Durant paced the Nets with 25 points, 14 rebounds, and seven assists, former Sixer Seth Curry had 24 points, and Kyrie Irving added 22.

The Nets shot 56% from the floor and made 18 threes.

There was a playoff environment in Philly with Simmons, who was traded to Brooklyn along with Andre Drummond, and Curry for James Harden, in town for the first time since the trade. 

However, the Nets took the fans out of the game early with their dominant play as they led by 17 points after one quarter and 21 points at the break.

“It was a good environment to start, but it didn’t finish that way,” Durant said after the game. “So, it didn’t feel like that when we left off the court, it felt like a regular game like I’ve been saying, but I like how we approached the game. I like how we played with physicality and didn’t let any of that stuff affect what we wanted to do; we just stayed focused on us so the crowd, no matter who we played tonight, I felt like we were locked in.”

Irving added: “It was lovely. I enjoyed it. I hope everybody at home enjoyed it – people here. Like I said, it’s great for our league when you can build up that many emotions before a night like tonight. You know there’s going to be one victor, and you want to be on that other end, so I feel like we committed ourselves to playing aggressive defense and just making it tough on them.

On the other side, Philly struggled with making shots(32% FG). Joel Embiid(5/17 FG, 27 points, and 12 rebounds) and James Harden(3/17 FG, 11 points) combined for 8/34 from the field.

“Just missed shots,” Harden said. “I think I just missed shots. There’s no excuses. I’ve gotta be better individually. Some turnovers were just careless. Individually, I’ve gotta be better. As a team, we watch film to see where can we be better. And we just try to continue to improve. This is only our sixth game together as a unit. I’m still trying to figure things out. But, tonight was good for us; we got our a** kicked.”

According to 76ers head coach Doc Rivers, the Nets just played harder.

“I just thought they played harder. They were more aggressive,” Rivers said. “They played in our airspace all night. I thought they were the more physical team all night. I didn’t think we played together tonight. I thought it was one of those games…a great example of a team that hasn’t been together.”

This was a statement game for the Nets, but it might have just been one of them games for Philadelphia. 

Simmons and the Nets get to laugh tonight; however, there’s still a lot of basketball left to be played.

Cavs’ Bickerstaff on win over Nets: ‘It’s a signature win for us against a high-level team’

The Cleveland Cavaliers returned home Monday to face the Brooklyn Nets on MLK Day after an impressive 5-1 road trip. The Cavs came into this game on a four-game winning streak and playing maybe their best ball of the season.

Brooklyn was without the league’s leader scorer, Kevin Durant(knee), who they could have used down the stretch.  Behind Darius Garland’s 22 points and 12 assists, Cleveland held on to defeat Brooklyn 114-107 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

With the win, Cleveland(27-18) has won five straight and six out of their last seven, while Brooklyn(27-16) has lost two of their last three. 

Here is the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ big win over Brooklyn.

The Great for the Cavaliers:

-During the game, it was announced that Darius Garland was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week, and on Monday, he started this week the right way. Garland had 22 points, six rebounds, and 12 assists. With just over three minutes left in the fourth and the game tied at 105, Garland assisted on a Lauri Markkanen three, and later, an Evan Mobley dunk that gave Cleveland a 110-105 lead with just over a minute left to go. He made all the right moves for the Cavaliers against Brooklyn.

-Jarrett Allen had his third consecutive double-double with 14 points(6/6 FG) and 10 rebounds. He also had two big blocks. This was Allen’s fourth double-double in five games.

-Isaac Okoro returned to the starting lineup and was good on both ends of the court. Okoro had 15 points and two steals. In the fourth, the second-year guard did a great job on Kyrie Irving and helped limit the former Cavalier to four points on 2/7 shooting from the field. In addition, he put an exclamation point on the game when he stole an errant James Harden pass and finished it off with a jam to give Cleveland a 112-107 lead with 15.8 seconds to go.

-Lauri Markkanen had 14 points, including 4/9 from deep and six rebounds. Markkanen had made some big shots on the Cavs’ six-game road trip, and that continued Monday when he made a big three to give the Cavs the lead for good in the fourth.

-Fourth Quarter: Cleveland trailed 88-87 after three quarters. However, in the fourth, the Cavaliers took control of the game. Cleveland stepped up defensively as they held Brooklyn to 30% shooting, including 0/4 from downtown. 

In addition, the Cavs shot 57% from the floor and made play after play down the stretch to get the win. Cleveland outscored Brooklyn 27-19 in the fourth.

The Not So Great for the Cavaliers:

Great win for the Cavs. We could find some bad, but not on this day.

Bottom Line:

Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff called this victory a “signature win” for Cleveland, and while this was a big win, a signature win might be a stretch because Brooklyn was without their best player in Kevin Durant. However, again, this was a big win.

If we look at the Eastern Conference standings, we see the Cavs slowly working their way up. At this point, Cleveland(fourth seed) is 1.5 games behind the Bulls(27-15) for the best record in the East, and they play the Bulls on Wednesday, so they could get even closer with a win. 

“It’s a signature win for us against a high-level team,” Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said postgame. “Obviously with reasons why and excuses coming back off that long road trip and all those things, playing against two of the most elite players in our league, and our guys figuring out a way.”

What’s Next:

Cleveland heads back on the road to battle the Bulls in Chicago Wednesday night.

Best of the Rest:

-Kyrie Irving led the Nets with 27 points to go along with seven rebounds and nine assists. James Harden had 22 points, seven rebounds, and 10 assists. Brooklyn had six players in double figures, including all five starters.

-Kevin Love had 14 points, five rebounds, and five assists off the bench, and rookie Evan Mobley had 12 points and six rebounds. It was the 12th straight game in double figures for Mobley.

Cleveland also had six players in double figures, and like Brooklyn, all five starters scored in double figures.

Lamar Stevens(knee) and Rajon Rondo(hamstring) missed Monday’s action.

Watch below as Garland and Okoro react to big win over Nets:

 

The Nets could be in trouble against Milwaukee

In Game 3, the Brooklyn Nets, who were up 2-0 in their best-of-seven second-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks, had an 83-80 lead with under two minutes to go. However, Milwaukee outscored the Nets 6-0 to finish the game, including a Jrue Holiday layup to put them up for good as they defeated the Nets 86-83. 

Brooklyn was so close to taking a commanding 3-0 lead, and that’s why it’s so important to close teams out when you have a chance.

On Sunday at Fiserv Forum, the Bucks defeated the Nets 107-96 in Game 4. The series is now tied at 2. The pivotal Game 5 is Tuesday night in Brooklyn.

Unfortunately for the Nets, they might be without James Harden(hamstring) and Kyrie Irving(ankle). Harden has not been active since injuring his right hamstring in Game 1 of this series, which was the same hamstring that forced him to miss time in the regular season, and Irving left Game 4 in the second quarter and did not return after turning his ankle on a layup attempt. Irving reportedly left the arena in a walking boot and crutches.

“It was a big adjustment tonight to play without him(Irving) and James(Harden), but we’ve had that type of year,” Nets head coach Steve Nash said after Game 4. “So, we have to find a way to figure it out, to look at the tape and get better.”

With Irving and Durant, the Nets were able to take a 2-0 series lead. Without Harden and Irving, the pressure is on Durant to be at his best, and Durant is good enough to carry this team to victory in one game, but he’s not good enough to do it over the final three games of this series, and while Durant did score 28 points in Game 4, he did shoot 9-25 from the field and seemed bothered by the defense of Milwaukee’s P.J. Tucker, but again, this is Durant, so we know he can bounce back.

The momentum is clearly on the side of the Bucks. Without Harden and Irving, the Bucks are the more talented team, but this is why home-court advantage is vital because role players tend to be better at home, so that means guys like Joe Harris, Bruce Brown, and Landry Shamet could step up for Brooklyn.

But in the end, no Harden, no Irving, could mean the Nets’ season could end in the second- round of the playoffs, which would be a huge disappointment.