Last time the Cavs were in Brooklyn on Nov. 13, Kyrie Irving scored 34 points. However, in Saturday night’s game, Irving did not have similar success and shot 5-of-16 from the field, 1-of-6 from three-point range. He did have a chance to redeem himself with a game-tying buzzer-beating shot, but it rattled around the rim and popped out as time expired, giving the Cavs loss No. 25 on the year.
On any other night if Irving has an off night, the entire team struggles. This game was different. The performance of players not named Kyrie is what kept the Cavs in the game; most notably the show C.J. Miles put on form behind the arc. Miles finished the game with 33 points, on a remarkable 11-of-15 shooting, 8-of-10 from behind the arc.
The crafty veteran, Luke Walton, found himself playing more minutes than starting center Tyler Zeller. Zeller fouled out with 12 points and seven rebounds. The young center has struggled all year on defense and tonight was no different. Brook Lopez dominated Zeller down low all game and finished with 35 points and 11 rebounds. Back to Walton, he played 30 minutes, his season high, and filled the stat sheet pretty well with four points, four rebounds and six assists. Say what you want about him, but when you’re getting six assists from your power forward, that’s impressive. Walton made the PF position his own and is giving the Cavs another position where they can felicitate from.
While Anderson Varejao is out, Tristan Thompson continues to shine. He has recorded five double-doubles in six games, including his 17-point and 15-rebound performance tonight. Something I won’t let go unnoticed is his great free throw shooting tonight, going 7-of-8 from the line.
The Nets improved to 16-14 on the season and 2-0 under new interim head coach, P.J. Carlesimo.
Give the Cavs credit for letting the game get out of reach. They stayed within striking distance the whole game and went on a late run to put the Nets on their heels. Unfortunately they were unable to close a game out, again; just another sign of a young team. But with each heartbreaking loss like this, they continue to learn and grow from it. With more experience, the Cavs will eventually be on the other side of a loss like this.
Varejao and Daniel Gibson did not play tonight. But the Cavs have time to regroup and try to get healthy. The Cavs welcome in the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.