Anderson Varejao started this game on fire, setting the tone for what would be a monster game for him. He ends this one with a career high 35 points and added 18 rebounds to go with it. Kyrie Irving was huge in the 2nd half and he finished with 34 points of his own to go with his 8 assists. It wouldn’t be enough for the Cavaliers, though.
The Cavaliers were actually winning after the 1st quarter, 30-29. They would follow with a 12 point second quarter, though, and they were never within single digits of the Nets from there. Kyrie and Anderson’s combined 69 points was impressive, but there just wasn’t enough help in this one.
The Nets routinely were able to get seemingly whatever basket they wanted inside the paint, taking advantage of some poor defense and countering with excellent ball movement all night. Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez looked the part of a Big 3 in this one, scoring 26, 25, and 23 points respectively Andre Blatche scored 13 points off the bench to easily outscore the Cavaliers bench by himself. Jon Leuer had 4 points, Donald Sloan hit 2 FTs, and nobody else off the bench scored a single point. In almost 18 minutes Daniel Gibson attempted one shot, a 3 pointer he missed.
A lot of recurring themes in this game for the Cavaliers, and Anderson Varejao’s frustration with the team’s performance was palpable. To their credit, though, the Cavaliers never gave up and fought with everything they had to close the deficit to 10 at the end of the 3rd quarter. The Nets simply had too much down the stretch and the Cavaliers just aren’t a team capable of getting enough big stops when they need them at this point.
The Cavaliers now have 3 days off to work on defense and maybe find something to help the bench performance before they return home to face the Mavericks on Saturday.