Wrap-Up — Before the season started, with so many new faces in the lineup, the Cavaliers knew that they’d be a work in progress for the first few games – and that’s exactly what it’s looked like.
The Wine & Gold looked sluggish through the first three quarters and the upstart Nets jacked up a franchise-record 46 triples – canning 17 – including a huge bomb by Spencer Dinwiddie with 43 seconds to play that gave them their final lead as the Cavs fell, 112-107, Wednesday night in Brooklyn.
The Nets – playing without their leading scorer, D’Angelo Russell – tried giving the game back to the Cavaliers, leading by as many as 14 points early in the fourth quarter and missing four straight free throws in the final 16 seconds. But Cleveland couldn’t capitalize, and a pair of missed free throws by LeBron proved to be their undoing at the Barclays Center.
James set a franchise mark for games played – appearing in his 772nd game as a Cavalier – and notched his first triple-double of the season, finishing with a game-high 29 points on 12-for-20 shooting, adding 13 assists (as many as Brooklyn’s starters combined), 10 boards and four blocks in his second straight game at the point. On the negative side, Number 23 committed eight miscues in the loss.
As they have to other inferior foes this season, the Cavaliers rope-a-doped through the early stages of the evening and waited until the fourth quarter to hit the gas.
On Wednesday, Cleveland overcame a two-touchdown deficit with a 21-5 run, capped by Kevin Love’s second triple of the night, that gave them their first lead of the night with 5:16 to play.
Kyle Korver’s three-pointer with 2:06 remaining put Cleveland up three, 103-100. But DeMarre Carroll answered with a bomb of his own on Brooklyn’s next possession. Love split a pair of free throws with 1:03 to go, leading to Dinwiddie’s deciding trifecta at the 43-second mark.
Love finished with his fourth double-double in five games – notching 15 points on 4-for-13 shooting to go with 12 rebounds, five offensive. Like LeBron, he struggled with six turnovers.
Korver had his best offensive output of the season, leading all reserves with 22 points – going 8-of-14 from the floor, 5-of-11 from long-distance and notching nine of his 22 in the fourth quarter.
Jeff Green continued his rock-solid early-season run with the Wine & Gold, chipping in with 18 points on 5-for-11 shooting, adding six boards, three assists, two blocked shots and a steal.
The up-tempo Nets, who came into the contest averaging 122 points per, only shot 43 percent from the floor on Wednesday, but they attempted 93 shots, 12 more than the Cavs, and attempted 46 three-pointers on the night.
LBJ tallies triple double and Korver/Green provide sparks off the bench with a combined 40 points.
Dinwiddie led the Nets with 22 points, with Allen Crabbe – originally drafted by the Cavs before being dealt to Portland in 2013 – added 19. Another former Cavalier draft pick, Joe Harris, chipped in with 11 points off the bench.
Turning Point — Once again, the Wine & Gold played down to their competition to start a game. They finally locked down on both ends to start the fourth quarter, with Kyle Korver draining the first of three threes in the quarter to get the ball rolling.
The Cavs had won 10 of their last 12 against Brooklyn and, in another year, the Nets might’ve folded when Cleveland erased their late lead. But the Nets battled back late on Wednesday night, closing the game on a 12-4 run.
By the Numbers – 13.0, .559, .520 … Kyle Korver’s scoring average, field goal percentage and three-point field goal percentage in the last four games after not attempting a shot in the opener against Boston.
Quotable – Coach Tyronn Lue, noticeably disappointed in another team shooting 17 three-pointers against his squad …
”Like I’ve said before, these guys are NBA players, and if we don’t contest shots and get out to the three-point line, they’re gonna continue to make them. We came in saying that they were second in the league in attempts and they’re getting them up. We’re out here worrying about Brooklyn’s pick. They might want our pick.”
Up Next — The Cavaliers stay on the road as they begin to wrap up the month of October – traveling to the Big Easy for a Saturday night showdown with Boogie Cousins, (possibly) Anthony Davis and the Pelicans. On Sunday night, they return to The Q for their first meeting of the season against Kristaps Porzingis and the Knicks. The Wine & Gold play three of their first four games in November at home – welcoming the Pacers to The Q on Wednesday, November 1 before traveling to Washington for a marquee matchup with the Wizards on Friday the 3rd. Cleveland then returns home to face the Hawks and Bucks.
Calls of the Game