Brooklyn Nets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Game Recap

The Brooklyn Nets finally got to show off their big-three of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving on Wednesday night. They combined for 96 points in Wednesday’s game against the Cavaliers.

Colin Sexton led the Cleveland Cavaliers to force two overtimes and score 22 of his 40 points between both overtime periods. The Cavs had seven of their eight-man rotation score in double figures last night.

The Nets are now 9-7 and the Cavs are 7-7 after the Cavs beat the Nets 147-135 on Wednesday night.

Check out what went down in the Nets and Cavaliers game recap.

Brooklyn Nets

The big-three had a successful offensive game between them. Durant shot 48% from the field to end with 38 points, eight assists, and 12 rebounds. Irving shot 53.6% from the field for 37 points, two rebounds, and three assists. Harden shot 42.8% off of the second-lowest amount of shots taken in a game for him this season. He ended with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists. Durant came out of this game with the highest box plus/minus of +2.

The Nets’ bench struggled heavily, shooting 16.6% from the field and 18.2% from three. Reggie Perry and Joe Harris were the only two to score from the bench, combining for 10 points total.

The Brooklyn Nets are one of the most efficient shooting teams in the NBA. This season, the Nets rank second in effective field goal percentage (57.7%), first in field goal percentage (49.1%), and fourth in three-point percentage (40%). Against the Cavs, the Nets shot 45.3% from the field and 36.6% from behind the arc. While their percentages dropped from those marks, they did shoot 88.9% from the charity stripe.

Not surprising to NBA fans, the Nets nearly had fewer assists than the Cavs. The Nets won 30-29 in team assists, even though they rank seventh in the NBA in team assists per game and the Cavs rank 24th in that category. The James Harden effect is proving possibly fatal in the Nets backcourt, even though he has put up double-digit assists in his first two games.

The Nets had seven turnovers in the first quarter of the game, a brutal mark for any team. They ended up with 16 in the game, one more than Cleveland. Typical of a team with three major ball-handlers, but they still average the sixth most turnovers per game in the NBA this season. Harden led the way for the Nets with five total turnovers.

This season, the Brooklyn Nets have given up the fourth-most points in the paint per game (50.2). Now, without Jarrett Allen, their best interior defender, the Nets have shown their struggles to protect the rim. Last night, they gave up 64 points in the paint to the Cavs.

Kyrie Irving hardly wanted to talk to the media on Tuesday about his return to the Nets. However, he seemed pretty happy after putting up 37 points in the Nets’ loss to the Cavs on Wednesday night.

Irving said after the game, “You gotta love NBA ball, though. I was smiling when Collin Sexton was making those shots” (ESPN).

Considering that Sexton was Irving’s assignment, I would not be too happy if I were head coach Steve Nash. Looks like Irving is happy to be stat-padding after missing significant time.

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavaliers saw outstanding performances from Collin Sexton, who shot 55% from the field for 42 points, five rebounds, and five assists. Cedi Osman came up big with 25 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists. Both former Nets’ players as of last week, Taurean Prince and Jarrett Allen, combined for 29 points, 18 rebounds, and six assists off the bench.

Collin Sexton came up big for the Cavaliers in this one. After the Cavs blew a 14-point lead early in the fourth quarter, they kept themselves alive in the first overtime. That’s when Sexton hit a game-tying three-point shot over Kyrie Irving to force the second overtime. Sexton then put up 15-points off of four three-point shots to beat the Nets by 12 points.

The Cavs shot extremely well against the Nets’ atrocious defense. As a team that has shot 44.9% from the field this season, they took advantage of the poor defense to shoot 51.4% from the field and 50% from distance. They tacked on a 71.4% shooting from the free-throw line as well.

The Cavs outrebounded the Nets 63-57 in this one. While many came from team rebounds, the Cavs still saw 20 rebounds off the bench and 5+ from four of their starters. Cleveland is a below-average rebounding team this season, averaging just 52.6 rebounds per game this year (19th in NBA).

The Cavaliers got excellent games out of all of their players in this one without the help of Darius Garland due to injury. They took advantage of the Nets’ defense and consistently scored throughout to keep the pressure on the Nets. Forcing this Nets team to shoot 45% from the field and 36.6% from distance is quite impressive too.

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