Final Dime: Cavaliers 111, Nets 92
J.J. Hickson throws down two of his 20 points in Wednesday night's win.
Nathaniel S. Butler
In a matchup of the league’s best team and the league’s worst, there wasn’t much suspense as the Cavaliers completely dismantled the Nets – 111-92 – on Wednesday night in New Jersey.
Cleveland ran its lead to as many as 22 in each half, fending off sporadic Net runs to win their fifth straight. The Wine and Gold throttled New Jersey’s cross-Hudson cousins by 31 points on Monday night at The Q.
"Our guys played a solid ball game," said Coach Mike Brown. "Every time New Jersey tried to make a run, you start to get on your guys because you want them to be perfect all the time. For most of the night we were pretty good."
LeBron James led everyone with a workmanlike 26 points – going 10-for-18 from the floor with seven boards and a game-high 14 assists. The young King wowed the Garden State crowd with chase-down blocks and alley-oop dunks but never seemed to use his extra gear. If there was a downside to James’ evening, it’s that he played 40 minutes.
"Guys knocked down shots," said James. "Our offense puts guys in the right position. I attract a lot of attention and that allows me to create for my teammates."
Joining James, the other two-thirds of Cleveland’s starting frontcourt added 29 points and 22 boards.
J.J. Hickson got off to a big start in his second game as starting center and finished up with a strong 20-point, 13-rebound effort. Hickson was active around the rim, using his quickness advantage against the Nets’ Brook Lopez.
Antawn Jamison pitched in with an efficient 19-point, nine-board performance despite going just 9-for-23 from the floor.
Mo Williams rounded out the Cavaliers’ starters in double-figures, canning a trio of three-pointers to go with six assists.
Anderson Varejao came off Mike Brown’s bench and didn’t miss a shot on the evening, going 5-for-5 from the field to go with six boards in 25 ultra-productive minutes.
Cleveland shot 52 percent as a team and topped the hapless Nets in every statistical category. The Cavaliers starting frontcourt, plus Anderson Varejao, scored 77 of the Cavaliers’ 111 points.
The Wine and Gold return home for a day off before a divisional back-to-back on the weekend – beginning with Detroit at The Q on Friday night before a road matchup on Saturday night in Milwaukee.
2. The Cavaliers have now won eight straight over New Jersey – including the last four contests they’ll ever play in the Meadowlands.
3. Cleveland has been known for their defense since Mike Brown arrived, but actually lead the league in scoring since January 31 at 109.3 ppg. The Nuggets are behind at 107.1
4. Earlier on Wednesday, the Cavaliers got news of the newest and smallest member of the Wine and Gold family as Daniel Gibson and fiancée Keyshia Cole welcomed 7-pound, 3-ounce Daniel Jr. into the world.
5. With Wednesday’s win, the Cavaliers are now 12-2 against the Atlantic Division this season.
6. Since 2005-06, LeBron James has mauled the Nets, averaging 33.1 points, 7.6 boards and 7.1 rebounds against New Jersey.
7. The two consecutive blowouts will do nothing to harm the Cavaliers’ league-leading point differential. During their four-game win streak at the Izod Center, the Cavaliers have beaten the Nets by an average of 14.8 points per contest.
8. Reserve guard Delonte West was inactive on Wednesday night.
9. Apparently, as J.J. Hickson goes, so go the Cavaliers. Getting his second straight start in place of the injured Shaquille O’Neal, the sophomore from N.C. State is averaging 18.5 ppg over his last two outings. The Cavaliers record when J.J. tops his scoring average is 26-1.
"Our team has dealt well with injuries," said Hickson. "This will help us come playoff time. You never know what match-ups will come in the playoffs. So I think this really helps us."
10. The Cavaliers have now won 13 of their last 17 road games and are a league-best 22-10 away from The Q.