The Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Brooklyn Nets in both their games Wednesday night and Friday night.
Brooklyn Nets vs Cleveland Cavaliers Game One: 147-135
Sexton scored 20 straight points across the two periods of overtime hitting big shots beyond the arc over Harden, Irving, and Durant. He also tied the game with a big 3-pointer to force double overtime, where he would go on to score 15 points.
Irving played his first game since January 6th and had 37 points. Kevin Durant had 38 points, whilst Harden had 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists.
The formers Nets players that were traded to Cleveland, following the four-team trade for James Harden, played a big part in the win.
Taurean Prince came off the bench to give 17 points whilst Jarrett Allen gave 12 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 blocks also coming off the bench. The bench played a big part by outscoring the Nets’ 44-10.
The game did have some positives for the Nets who showed their strong offense to overcome a 13 point deficit in the fourth quarter. The main weakness the Nets have been critiqued on is their bench. Their second unit showed these criticisms to be fair and in Steve Nash’s words they “got beat up pretty good in the second quarter.”
After the game Nets’ head coach Steve Nash said: ”Look, this is the first night that we’ve had everyone on the floor together.
“We seemed a little lost at times which is natural because we haven’t played together.”
Cavaliers Beat The Brooklyn Nets in Game Two: 113-125
The Cavaliers beat the Brooklyn Nets again who were without Kevin Durant tonight who missed the game to rehab his Achilles.
Kyrie Irving would continue to look good on his return to the Nets dropping 38 points. Harden had 19 points and 11 assists in what was a disappointing game for the new addition.
The Cavaliers saw the return of Darius Garland to the team come off the bench who was returning from a shoulder injury.
Just like the first game, the Cavs’ bench outscored the Nets bench (53-31) highlighting one of their key weaknesses yet again.
The third quarter was where the Cavaliers beat the Brooklyn Nets outscoring them 37-24, taking over the game that was close before.
Collin Sexton led the Cavs in scoring with 25 points. Andre Drummond contributed 19 points and 16 rebounds. Larry Nance Jr also finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds, he played a big part in the Cavs dominating the third quarter.
Prince and Allen had another good game coming off the bench against their former team. Prince gave 14 points and Allen 19 points with 6 rebounds. Isaac Okoro also once again showed his impressive defense in the game playing a big role in the team’s win.
The Nets Defensive Woes
When the Cavaliers beat the Brooklyn Nets twice, it highlighted their major problem. James Harden said quite clearly after the game that “right now our problem is defense.”
After the James Harden trade, they lost their more capable defenders, most significantly Allen.
Allen dominated the paint for a period in the second quarter, finished with 19 points as the Cavaliers beat the Brooklyn Nets again.
On this loss, Nash said: “We just got to find a way to play harder, dig deeper. We’re not a defensive roster.
“We have to take more pride in it and we have to win more 50-50s, contest more shots, fight, scrap, claw.”
In the first game against the Cavs, the Nets were outscored 64-48 in the paint, and in the second game 70-46.
Harden also spoke on the problems with their defense, he said: “Our positioning, we haven’t really had a lot of practice time so we’re kinda running on the fly.
“But I think communication is going to help a lot of that out. Just constant effort.”
With the schedule being a lot tighter there isn’t as much time as the Nets would want to work on their communication and defense in practice.
Irving said: “We just want to be the team that is consistently dominating and we will get there.”
The Nets face the Miami Heat in the next two games and look to bounce back from their two losses.
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