Joe G's Running Game Blog

March 28, 2014
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Joe G

FINAL - BKN 108, CLE 97 ... The Cavaliers fell behind early and couldn't find their fourth-quarter magic on Friday night in Brooklyn as the Nets snapped Cleveland's three-game run with the 108-97 win. Dion Waiters and Luol Deng notched 20 points apiece; Spencer Hawes tallied 16 points and Tristan Thompson pitched in with 14 on 7-for-10 shooting. Anderson Varejao led both clubs with 13 boards in the loss.

2:55, 4Q - BKN 104, CLE 87 ... Cavs kept it close throughout most of 4Q, cut it to eight, but couldn't put together a steady run; Nets have shot the ball very well tonight, 55 pct, Cavs 40 pct; Deng, 18 pts, 6 asst, 4 reb; Waiters, 17 pts, 5 asst; Andy, 8 pts, game-high 13 reb.

End 3Q - BKN 85, CLE 77 ... based on the past week, you could Cavs have Nets right where they want them -- cut into lead that was once 17 pts, well within striking distance headed to 4Q, especially with Waiters (15 pts) beginning to heat up; Andy leads both teams w/10 reb; Deng, team-high 16 pts, 6 asst; shooting starting to even out -- CLE 45 pct FG; BKN, 55 pct; after 17 pts in 1Q and 22 at H, Pierce hasn't scored after intermission.

2:35, 3Q - BKN 78, CLE 69 ... Cavs still trying to find their rhythm, haven't got anything going consistently since end of 1Q -- shooting 43 pct to BKN's 54 pct FG; four Cavs in double-figures -- Hawes, 6-12 FG, 15 pts; Deng, 15 pts, 4 asst; Tristan, 12 pts, 5 reb; Dion, 3-10 FG, 13 pts, team-high 5 asst; CLE, just 7 bench points so far, although Andy leads everyone w/8 reb.

End 1H - BKN 61, CLE 50 ... spotting Nets nine points to start game hurts, but Cavs tied game after 1Q, slow start in 2Q compounded issues a bit, but CLE still right there -- especially considering recent 4Q dramatics; Hawes leads Cavs w/15 pts; Deng, 13 pts, Tristan, 10 pts, 4 reb; Dion struggled from the floor but still dished out 5 asst in 1H; Nets outscore Cavs, 32-21 in 2Q; Pierce leads everyone w/22 pts.

2:19, 2Q - BKN 53, CLE 39 ... hopefully, Cavs aren't just saving up for another dramatic fourth quarter, but haven't looked sharp after evening the score at end of 1Q, shooting 39 pct to BKN's 58 pct; Pierce w/17 pts, Anderson w/9 for Nets; Deng leads CLE w/11; Tristan, 10 pts, 4 reb; Hawes, 9 pts, 3 reb; Dion struggling from the floor -- 0-7 FG, 2 pts.

7:14, 2Q - BKN 43, CLE 35... Cavs second unit ineffective in first run, CLE goes first 3 min of 2Q without scoring, but starters resume some order -- Thompson just scores on FB to close gap; Hawes, Deng, still lead CLE w/9 pts; Tristan now 4-5 FG, 8 pts; Andy leads CLE w/5 boards off bench.

End 1Q - CLE 29, BKN 29 ... Game going according to recent script for Cavs -- fell behind big early and bounced back; tonight, Hawes has been the 1Q catalyst, 9 pts on 4-7 shooting; Deng, equally good, 9 pts, 2 asst, 2 reb; CLE trailed by as many as 11 before closing period on a 22-12 run.

4:52, 1Q - BKN 25, CLE 18 ... Once again, Cavs get in a double-digit deficit to start the game, with BKN scoring first 9 pts -- with notorious Cav-killerPaul Pierce already with 17 pts; Cavs bounce back behind Hawes (5 pts) and Dent (5).

PREGAME ... Cavs come to Brooklyn riding a three-game win streak and trying to make a late playoff push. This is the third of four meetings on the year with the Nets coming to The Q for the season finale on April 16. The two teams have split the series so far, with Cleveland winning the home opener and Brooklyn beating the Cavs, 89-82 back on January 4.

With Wednesday's win over Detroit, the Cavs improved to 8-4 over their last 12 road games. In that win over the Pistons, the Cavs overcame a 16-point fourth-quarter deficit and scored the last 10 points of the game, including Dion Waiters' 19-foot buzzer-beater to win it. The Cavs have been outstanding in the fourth quarter over their last six games, outscoring their opponents, 25.0 to 17.3, while shooting .527 from the floor. Cleveland has held its last six opponents to .262 shooting in the final period, including .179 from beyond the arc. None of those six foes have hit more than six field goals in the fourth quarter.

Individually, Waiters has been great since returning to the starting lineup, averaging 22.8 points, 6.0 assists and 3.7 boards over his last six outings. Varejao has rediscovered his Wild side since returning from the sore back that sidelined him for a dozen games in late February -- coming off a 12-point, 16-rebound game on Wednesday against Detroit. Jarrett Jack is averaging 16.7 points on .532 shooting over the last six games. In the fourth quarter of the last three contests, Jack has combined for 26 points on 11-for-15 shooting (.733). Finally, Matthew Dellavedova has been outstanding of late -- he's coming off a career-high 21-point game and registered back-to-back double-doubles off the bench. But maybe the most important number is that his plus/minus ratio over the last nine games is +66. Basically, the team plays well with Delly on the floor. Big one tonight in Brooklyn -- and that's fun to say late in the season. The Cavs have just nine games remaining, trailing the struggling Hawks by just 3.0 games as we head towards April.

Starting lineup: G Jack, G Waiters, F Deng, F Thompson, F Hawes