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Wrap-Up – After falling behind by two touchdowns late in the second quarter, the Cavaliers came out of the halftime locker room to tie the game and briefly take the lead. But they cooled off considerably in the fourth quarter – shooting just 19 percent in the period – and dropping an 89-82 decision on Saturday night in Brooklyn.
Dion Waiters came off the bench to lead Cleveland with 26 points, going 9-of-18 from the floor, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc. CJ Miles was the only starter in double-figures with 19 points and Matthew Dellavedova went 4-of-4 from three-point range to tally 13 points in the loss. Anderson Varejao followed up his 25-rebound effort on Thursday night with 12 boards to lead both teams on Saturday.
The Cavaliers shot just 37 percent from the floor and committed 14 turnovers – scoring just 17 points in the first and fourth quarters. Cleveland was without All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, who missed his second straight game with a left knee contusion suffered in the New Year’s Eve loss in Indiana.
Turning Point – Sometimes, the ends of quarters can be the difference in a ballgame and that was the case on Saturday. The Cavaliers had fought back to take the lead on Matthew Dellavedova’s three-pointer with less than two minutes to play in the third. But Brooklyn’s Mirza Teletovic’s three-pointer with 14.7 to play in the period gave the Nets momentum back headed to the fourth. Brooklyn began the final quarter with a 9-2 run and kept the Cavs at bay the rest of the way.
Game Ball – CJ Miles – Trailing by 13 points to start the second half, CJ Miles took it upon himself to get the Cavs back into the game. In the first half of the third quarter, Miles scored five points, grabbed three rebounds and notched a pair of steals. On the night, CJ was 6-for-19 from the floor, including 3-of-5 from long-distance, adding eight boards.
By the Numbers – 24, 222/29, 353 … average age – in years and days – of the Cavaliers vs. the average age of the Nets – pitting the second-youngest team in the NBA against the league’s second-oldest squad.
Quotable – Coach Mike Brown, on his team’s second-half effort on Saturday night …
”You give Brooklyn creidt -- they won the game, they did a heckuva job. But I thought our defense got better in the third and the fourth quarter, but just not enough for us to get over the hump.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers return to The Q for a pair before heading out West on a five-game, eight-day junket. On Sunday night, it’s a rematch with the Pacers on Dion Waiters Bobblehead Night. On Tuesday, the Wine and Gold welcome the Sixers to town. The trip begins with a visit to Utah on Friday night, then moves to Sacramento on Sunday. It’s a back-to-back with the Lakers and Blazers next Tuesday and Wednesday before closing out the roadie on Friday night in Denver.