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Wrap-Up -- After duking it out for four quarters and three overtime periods the last time these two tangled just before the All-Star Break, fans might’ve been wondering what they’d have up their sleeves for an encore.
It wasn’t quite the thriller that unfolded back in mid-February at The Q, but both squads did stage an entertaining back-and-forth affair – with the Nets using a 14-0 fourth-quarter push, pulling away late for the 113-107 win on Wednesday night at the Barclays Center.
Cleveland got off to a sluggish start, turning the ball over eight times in the first quarter, before finding their footing in the second – erasing Brooklyn’s early 15-point advantage and trailing by just five at the break.
The Cavaliers were even better after half, outscoring the Nets, 35-25, in the third quarter and taking a five-point edge of their own headed to the fourth quarter.
But the Nets scored the first seven points of the final period and used a big run moments later to pull away late and take the season series.
Kevin Love led the way again for the Wine & Gold – doubling-up for the fifth time since the All-Star Break, finishing with 24 points and a game-high 16 boards, going 5-of-11 from the floor, including 4-of-8 from deep and 10-of-11 from the stripe, adding four assists and a steal.
David Nwaba finished with a career-high 22 points in just over 20 minutes of work off the bench, going 9-of-13 from the floor, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc.
Larry Nance Jr., getting another start at center with Ante Zizic and Tristan Thompson still out, notched his first double-double since before the Break – chipping in with 17 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and a game-high four steals.
Jordan Clarkson – who set a Cavaliers franchise record the last time these two met, scoring 42 points off the bench in the 3OT thriller – was slightly more subdued on Wednesday, finishing with 14 points and seven boards, going 5-of-11 from the floor, 3-of-5 from three-point range.
Brooklyn got even better production from their bench – namely Spencer Dinwiddie, who paced both squads with 28 points on 10-of-21 shooting, adding a team-high-tying five assists and four boards in 30 minutes of action.
D’Angelo Russell – who piled up 24 points after the fourth quarter in that mid-February barn-burner at The Q – picked up where he left off, adding 25 points in the win. Jarrett Allen doubled-up with 15 points and 11 boards, going 6-of-7 from the floor.
KLove records his 5th double-double (24 pts, 16 rbs) since the All-Star Break.
Turning Point -- Occasionally, it’s difficult to discern a game’s true turning point. That was not the case on Wednesday night.
With 7:20 to play in the fourth quarter, Larry Nance Jr. connected on a pair of free throws, getting Cleveland back within a deuce after a see-saw start to the final period.
But just over a minute later, Spencer Dinwiddie scored on a finger roll and the floodgates opened from there. The Nets would proceed to go on a 14-0 run, with Dinwiddie scoring Brooklyn’s final seven points to go up by 16.
Cleveland answered right back with an 8-0 run, but it was too little, too late for the Wine & Gold on Wednesday.
By the Numbers – 14.5 … three-pointers that the Wine & Gold have averaged over the last 11 games dating back to February 8 – drilling double-digit triples in each contest and ranking fourth in the NBA during that stretch.
Quotable – Coach Larry Drew, on Wednesday night’s loss in Brooklyn …
”You can’t have that many breakdowns, particularly on the road against a team that’s playing well. Again, you have to give credit where credit is due. Brooklyn has been getting after people lately. They forced us into some early turnovers. We were able to fight back but we just didn’t play well enough going down the stretch.”
Up Next -- Following Wednesday night’s loss to the Nets, the Wine & Gold continue on their current two-game trip – traveling to South Beach for a Friday night meeting against Dwyane Wade and the Heat. The Cavs return home for just a single game, taking on the Toronto Raptors on Monday night before getting back on the road for three straight – taking on the Sixers in Philly the following night with a stop in Orlando next Thursday and their lone trip to Dallas on Saturday. Cleveland then returns home for three straight.