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Keys to the Game: Cavaliers vs. Nets

Keys to the Game presented by: Key Bank


Net Gains

The Cavaliers continue their current homestand and look to snap a three-game funk, welcoming Kevin Durant, James Harden and the high-octane Nets to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Monday night.

After getting off to a hot start, the injury and illness bug bit the young Cavs hard – and they’ve dropped four of their last six after rattling off a four-game win streak. One of those losses came last Wednesday night to these same Nets in Brooklyn.

The Wine & Gold got a much-needed weekend off to lick their wounds heading into Thanksgiving week. But the sledding doesn’t get any easier before the holiday, with the Nets rolling in tonight having won 10 of their last 12 and the Suns, who come to town on Wednesday, riding a 12-game heater that began with a win over Cleveland on October 30.

On Thursday night, the banged-up Cavaliers turned in another noble effort against the league’s top squad before Golden State pulled away in the fourth quarter – holding the Wine and Gold to just eight points while Steph Curry went berserk – netting 20 of his game-high 40 points in the final period.

In the loss, Darius Garland led the Cavs, finishing with 25 points on 10-of-22 shooting, adding five assists and a pair of steals. Dean Wade followed up with a season-high 17 points on 7-for-13 shooting, including 3-for-6 from long-distance, adding nine boards and five assists.

Kevin Love also notched 17 points in the loss, adding seven boards in 21 minutes of work off the bench in his second game back from an eight-game absence.

The Nets are coming off a tight win at home over the Magic, overcoming a 19-point first-half deficit and some shaky moments down the stretch. Kevin Durant sat out Friday’s loss with a shoulder injury, but is expected to be back in the lineup for Monday’s contest in Cleveland.

In Brooklyn’s win over Orlando, James Harden led both teams with 36 points, overcoming a poor shooting night by going 19-for-20 from the stripe. Patty Mills – who tallied 21 points off the bench last week against Cleveland – followed up with 22 points on Friday.

The Cavaliers take on Chris Paul, Devin Booker and the Suns on Wednesday before wrapping up the four-game homestand on Saturday night against the Magic. Cleveland wraps up the November slate next Monday night – tipping off a three-game road trip in Dallas.


History

The Nets have held the recent advantage in the all-time series between these two teams – including the last two in Brooklyn and five of the last seven regular season meetings overall. Last Wednesday, the shorthanded Cavs trailed by 21 points at the break before mounting a comeback to get within seven before running out of gas in the game’s closing minutes.

In the overall regular season series between the Cavs and Nets, Cleveland holds a 104-81 advantage. In the postseason, the Cavs have faced the New Jersey Nets in three series and have won all three – in 1992, ’93 and 2007.

The all-time single-game assists mark for the Nets belongs to Kenny Anderson – who went off for 28 points and 16 assists in a 15-point win back in 1993. Cleveland’s standard bearer in assists is the legendary Mark Price, who finished with 16 points and 16 helpers in a two-point Cavs win at the Coliseum in 1990.


Connections

Cavs center Jarrett Allen – who could very well return to the lineup after missing the previous three games with a non-COVID-related illness – spent his first three-and-a-half season with the Nets before being traded to Cleveland on January 13 last year.

In the four-team blockbuster, the Cavs sent guard Dante Exum and an unprotected 2022 first rounder (via Milwaukee) to Houston and a 2024 second rounder to Brooklyn in exchange for Allen and forward Taurean Prince (who Cleveland later dealt for Ricky Rubio).

Taken with the 22nd overall pick in 2017, a Draft in which Cleveland didn’t make a pick, Allen played in 234 games with Brooklyn, posting career averages of 10.1ppg, 7.9rpg and 1.4bpg and left the franchise as its all-time leader in field goal percentage at .612.

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