Cavs Close Campaign in Style
Wrap-Up – After a season filled with ups and downs, the Wine and Gold closed the campaign in convincing fashion – crushing the shorthanded Nets, 114-85, in the regular season finale at The Q. With the victory, the Cavaliers opened and closed the 2013-14 season by beating Brooklyn at Quicken Loans Arena.
Tyler Zeller led seven Cavaliers in double-figures – doubling up with 22 points and 11 boards. Dion Waiters followed up with 19 points on 7-for-12 shooting and Kyrie Irving added 15 points and five assists. Tristan Thompson doubled-up in his third straight game and for the team-leading 36th time this season – chipping in with 11 points and 10 boards. Alonzo Gee rounded out the starters in double-figures with 12 points. Rookie Carrick Felix saw his first action since January 7 and finished with a career-high 10 points. Jarrett Jack led both squads with nine helpers in the win.
The Cavaliers scored 63 second-half points against a Brooklyn team that rested Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson. Cleveland shot 53 percent from the floor and had 32 assists on 46 made baskets, crushing Brooklyn on the boards – 51-36.
Turning Point – After closing the first quarter up two touchdowns, the Cavaliers saw the scrappy Nets start the second on a 20-7 run, taking a brief lead late in the period. But Cleveland came out of the halftime locker room with a purpose, using a 13-4 run to improve their edge to double-digits. They bumped their lead to 17 points by the end of the third and improved their edge to as many as 29 points to pull away in the fourth.
Game Ball – Tyler Zeller – If Wednesday night’s game was about some of Cleveland’s youngsters building confidence for next year, Zeller definitely took advantage – falling just a single point shy of his career-high, going 9-of-11 from the floor, scoring 14 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter while leading Cleveland on the boards, adding two assists, two blocks and a steal. Zeller closed the season tallying double figures in four straight games, averaging 15.8 points on .711 (27-38) shooting over that stretch.
By the Numbers – .583, 17 … combined shooting percentage (7-12) and point total for the Cavaliers’ rookie duo of Anthony Bennett and Carrick Felix. Bennett returned to the lineup after missing the previous 17 games with a left knee injury, going 3-of-6 from the floor to go with seven boards. Felix had played sparingly this season after suffering a left patellar stress fracture in late January – but finished his freshman season in style, scoring all 10 of his points in the fourth quarter, going 4-of-6 from the floor, including 2-of-3 from long-distance.
Quotable – Coach Mike Brown, on the fans of Quicken Loans Arena on Fan App Night …
”I’m very proud of all of our guys. I’m proud of the way that they played on both ends of the floor. To end on a high note, especially on a night like this when it’s Fan Appreciation Night, because these last couple of games, you look up in the stands and our building is full. You really appreciate the fans and people here in Cleveland. They’re like no other. I experienced it when I was here before and it’s the same thing now. So, it was a great night by all of our guys.”