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Cavs Can't Cap Comeback in First Play-In Game

RECAP

In the young Cavaliers first taste of extended season basketball, the squad fought hard in the second half but came up a few points short in the end, 115-108. The Wine & Gold get another shot at getting in the playoffs on Friday, taking on the winner of the Hawks and Hornets; Brooklyn advances into the playoffs as the seven seed, taking on the Boston Celtics.

Darius Garland played quite well in the loss, scoring a game-high-tying 34 points on 13 made shots and sparking the comeback in the second half. Evan Mobley was the next highest scoring Cav, netting 19 points. The rest of the offense struggled a bit, as Caris LeVert was 4-12 shooting for 12 points and Lauri Markkanen went 5-14 for 13.

While each team made just nine triples, the Nets shot 53 percent from the floor and the Cavs were at 44. The Nets scored 23 points off of 15 Clevleand turnovers. Kyrie Irving hit his first 12 shots and also finished with 34 points. Kevin Durant's late shots helped put the game away, finishing with 25 and11 assists.

Full recap to come.

Miss any of the action? Find all the highlights and photos in the Game Tracker.

Play-In tickets for Friday night against the Hawks/ Hornets winner are on sale now! Get yours here.

WRAP-UP

The young Cavaliers certainly have nothing to hang their heads about after Tuesday night’s Play-In Game against Brooklyn.

A slow start proved to be the Wine & Gold’s downfall – falling behind by 20 after one quarter – but J.B. Bickerstaff’s young squad made the heavyweight Nets sweat it out from there, mounting a furious comeback that got them to within five late in the fourth before finally dropping the 115-108 decision at Barclays Center.

With the loss, the Cavaliers will take on the winner of the Eastern Conference’s 9-10 Play-In Game between Charlotte and Atlanta, with the winner coming to Cleveland for a Friday night matchup that’ll send one team to the First Round against Miami.

Kyrie Irving hit his first 12 shots of the night and Kevin Durant was his dynamic self on Tuesday – with the pair combining for 59 points and 23 assists.

But the Cavaliers had an All-Star up their sleeve as well, with Darius Garland forcing the action all night, and especially late – netting Cleveland’s first nine points of the fourth quarter, finishing with 16 points in the period and a game-high-tying 34 on the night.

The Nets began that fourth quarter up a dozen, 85-73, but the Cavaliers just kept coming – and every time Brooklyn bumped its lead to double-digits, Cleveland continued to counterpunch. The Wine & Gold got to within five twice in the game’s final minute, but Durant and Irving were perfect in six trips to the line to ice the affair.

Kevin Love was rock-solid off the bench on Tuesday, doubling-up with 14 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, going 5-of-11 from the floor, including 3-of-4 from deep.

Evan Mobley, playing in his first postseason outing, looked typically unfazed by the moment – with the rookie star notching 19 points on 9-of-13 shooting, adding seven boards, a pair of assists and the Cavaliers only two blocked shots.

Lauri Markkanen, also making his postseason debut, and Caris LeVert were the only other Cavaliers in double-figures – although both struggled from the floor on Tuesday. Markkanen finished with 13 points on 5-of-14 shooting; LeVert, 12 points on 4-of-12. LeVert did play a solid floor game, however, pitching in with seven boards, seven assists and three steals.

Rajon Rondo came off Cleveland’s bench to hand out a team-best nine assists, adding seven points and three boards in 26 minutes of work off the bench.

Miss any of the action? Find all the highlights and photos in the Game Tracker.

Play-In tickets for Friday night against the Hawks/ Hornets winner are on sale now! Get yours here.

FEATURED HIGHLIGHT

After a Nets missed shot, the Cavs get out and run, as Darius Garland waits for Evan Mobley to arrive inside and feeds him with a pass. Mobley puts on a quick spin move and dunks with two hands.

TURNING POINT

As hard as the Cavaliers scrapped all night, it’s unavoidable that the first quarter proved to be the squad’s undoing. After that first period, the Wine & Gold outscored Brooklyn, 88-75, over the next three quarters.

In that first quarter, the Nets shot 71 percent from the floor and 4-of-6 from beyond the arc – with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving going 8-of-8 from the floor in the period. When the smoke cleared, the Brooklyn was up, 40-20.

Cleveland began to find its footing in the second quarter, holding Steve Nash’s high-octane squad to just 17 points in the period. Cleveland outscored Brooklyn, 23-17, but couldn’t warm up from the floor – shooting 36 percent to the Nets’ 40 percent. Brooklyn turned the ball over seven times in the second, but the Wine and Gold couldn’t convert any of them into points on the other end.

BY THE NUMBERS

32.5, .510, .500, .900 … Darius Garland’s scoring average – along with his shooting percentage from the floor (25-of-49), three-point range (6-of-12) and the stripe (9-of-10) over his last two games against Brooklyn.

Tuesday’s effort was Garland’s eighth game of at least 30 points this season, including two now against the Nets. In the season series against Brooklyn this year, the All-Star guard is averaging 26.2ppg – topping the 20-point plateau in all five games and handing out double-digit assists in two.

QUOTABLE

Coach J.B. Bickerstaff, on the final three quarters of Tuesday’s loss in Brooklyn …

"They came out in that first quarter with that intensity and that ferocity that we talked about. It took us to get banged around a little bit before we flipped the switch. And against a team like this, then you have to be perfect. I thought our guys did a great job over those final three quarters. Defensively, I thought we were more physical. Offensively, I thought we executed better, took what the game gave to us. But we gave ourselves a chance. We’ll learn from this. We play like we did in those last three quarters, we’re a pretty good basketball team. We just have to keep in mind how important our starts are and what’s on the line."

CALLS OF THE GAME

Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and Rafa Hernandez-Brito from Power 98.1.

UP NEXT

The Cavaliers will now await the winner of the Hornets-Hawks 9-10 Play-In Game, which takes place on Wednesday night in Atlanta. The winner will be welcomed to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Friday night.

The Cavs and Hornets split their four-game season series – with each team winning a pair on the opponent’s home floor. Cleveland won its first meeting against Atlanta early in the season before dropping the final three.