Sunday, January 1, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Cavs 98, Nets 82
By Christopher Hunt
WHAT IT MEANS: The Nets are still struggling on both sides of the ball. New Jersey dropped its fourth straight game after its best first half of the season, shooting just 38 percent from the field, while losing to Cleveland, 98-82, at Quicken Loans Arena. New Jersey struggled to find a flow on offense and surrendered 10 3-pointers in the second half.
POWER OF 3: Led by Daniel Gibson’s five 3-pointers, the Cavs drilled the Nets from behind the 3-point line. They made 10 of 12 from the arc in the second half and finished the game shooting 61.5. Antwan Jamison, Kyrie Irving and Alonzo Gee combined to shoot 9 for 12. For the record, the Cavaliers shot better from the 3-point line than the free-throw stripe (54.5 percent). Jamison had a game-high 23 points. Gibson scored 19 off the bench.
SPEAKING OF 3's: The offense was frostbitten in the third quarter. Cleveland outscored New Jersey 30-18 in the third. The Nets managed just 33 points in the second half.
FIRSTS FOR THE NEW YEAR: New Jersey held a lead at halftime for the first time this season, carrying a 49-43 advantage headed into the locker room. It was also the first time this season that all five New Jersey starters scored in double figures. Deron Williams scored 16 but shot just 6 for 16 with 5 assists and 6 turnovers. Sundiata Gaines and Kris Humphries each added 11. Anthony Morrow also had 15.
MEMO:Mehmet Okur gave the Nets some solid minutes. He scored 10 points with 8 rebounds, including a pair of threes. He had his best game for the Nets against Atlanta on Friday with 15 points.
TURNING THINGS OVER: Failure to close down on 3-point shooters handicapped the Nets for sure but so did the team’s 24 turnovers. They weren’t alone. The Cavs turned over the ball 26 times.
JERSEY DREAMING: Irving, the top pick in the draft, said before the game that he always dreamed of playing in New Jersey. Irving grew up in West Orange, N.J., and attended St. Patrick’s high school. A backcourt featuring D-Will and Irving would be exciting and would certainly add some offense to the lineup. But don’t start the Irving Watch just yet.
MISSING IN OHIO: Irving is the rookie tabbed to turn around the Cavaliers' franchise in the post-LeBron James era but it’s been the Nets’ rookie Marshon Brooks who has led the NBA’s freshman, scoring 15.3 per game headed into Sunday night’s contest and coming off a career-high 21 points against Atlanta. Brooks missed his three shots and went scoreless in 11 minutes against Cleveland.
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY BOOING: No boos for Humphries, but DeShawn Stevenson drew jeers from the crowd when he checked in in the second quarter.
UP NEXT: The Nets make a brief stop at home to face Indiana on Monday before heading to Boston to face the Celtics on Wednesday.