Final Dime: Nets 103, Cavaliers 101


Antawn Jamison led the Wine and Gold with 26 on Monday night in New Jersey.
Paul Bereswill
NBAE/Getty Images
1. Moral victories are great, but tell that to Boobie Gibson, who sat dejectedly on the baseline for several seconds after missing what would have been a game-winning three-pointer.

When Gibson’s attempt drew back iron, it marked the Cavaliers 17th straight loss – a 103-101 thriller and one made doubly painful by the fact that Cleveland had the lead throughout the night and for the better part of the fourth quarter.

“It hurts – it hurts a lot, because we tied it,” said Gibson. “We played the right type of basketball. We put ourselves in the position to win and we didn’t finish it.”

The final few minutes of Monday night’s affair were frenetic – with Anthony Morrow putting New Jersey up four, 97-93, with 2:06 to play. On the Cavs next possession, Gibson drilled a three-pointer to get Cleveland back to within a point.

Ramon Sessions monster jam gave the Wine and Gold a single-point lead, but back-to-back buckets by Kris Humphries and Morrow put the Nets back up by three with 13.2 to play. But after a timeout, sessions found Joey Graham open in the left corner, and the Cavs forward drilled the trey to tie the affair at 101-apiece.

But on what turned out to be the Nets final possession, Brook Lopez wheeled on Ryan Hollins in the post and, with Hollins attempting to foul him, hit a turnaround jumper with 1.4 to play to give New Jersey the two-point victory.

“We have to know that it’s going to work out for us, we’re going to have a breakout game,” said Coach Byron Scott. “Right now we’re losing some of these battles, in the long run hopefully we’ll win the war.”

The Cavaliers were led once again by Antawn Jamison, who finished with 26 points – going 7-for-16 from the floor and 10-for-10 from the stripe. Jamison was 2-of-5 from long distance and grabbed eight boards.

Daniel Gibson, in his second start after returning from an ankle injury, finished with 19 points on 6-for-10 shooting, handing out five assists and committing just a single turnover in 39 minutes of action.

Ramon Sessions followed up with 16 points and a team-high six assists – going 8-for-14 from the floor, including his game-changing dunk late in the affair. J.J. Hickson rounded out the starters in double-figures, finishing with 12 points and eight boards despite battle foul trouble in the second stanza.

Joey Graham came off the bench to tally 14 points on 5-for-11 shooting.

The Wine and Gold don’t have much time to dwell on Monday’s heartbreaker, with the mini-road trip wrapping up against the heavyweight Celtics on Tuesday night in Beantown.

2. The Graham twins – Stephen and Joey – faced off on Monday night in Jersey, with the siblings guarding each other for several stretches. Joey got the better of the individual matchup, outdoing his brother in minutes (29-17) and points (14-3). Joey had the heroics, canning the game-tying trey. But Stephen, who played with the Cavs in 2005-06, went home with the win.

3. The Cavalier last road win was against the Nets on November 9. The Cavaliers starting five that night was J.J. Hickson, Anderson Varejao, Jamario Moon, Anthony Parker and Mo Williams. Only J.J. remains a starter, albeit in a different position and after a stint off the bench.

4. Ramon Sessions, who missed most of Saturday’s matchup in Chicago with a strained right abdominal, was a surprise start on Monday, responding with a 16-point, six-assist effort. Excluding the Chicago game, Sessions is averaging 19.5 ppg over his last four.

5. Antawn Jamison continues to the Cavs most consistent player, having scored double-figures in 19 of his last 20 games – averaging 21.7 ppg during that span.

6. Cavaliers rookie forward, Samardo Samuels, attended high school at Benedict Prep – about five minutes away from the Prudential Center in Newark.

7. The Cavaliers have played the most road games in the Eastern Conference and are tied with Memphis at 25 games away from home.

8. On the season, the Cavaliers rank 1st in the NBA in opponent offensive rebounds per contest, at just 9.4 per game. New Jersey grabbed 11 on Monday night.

9. With J.J. Hickson battling foul trouble, Ryan Hollins got his second-longest run of the season – 21 minutes – finishing with three points and four boards while taking on Brook Lopez.

10. .In 25 games at the end of the regular season last year, Antawn Jamison – a career .727 free throw shooter – shot just 506 from the stripe. This year with Cleveland, Jamison is back to .714.