Nets Takeaways from Wednesday’s 147-135 double OT loss to the Cavaliers, including Kyrie Irving’s 37-point returnJanuary 21st, 2021
In the first game with Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and James Harden on the floor together, the Nets played sloppy defense and ultimately came up short in double overtime with a 147-135 loss to Cleveland. >> Box score
Here are seven things to know from Wednesday’s game …
1. The trio Irving, Durant, and Harden started alongside Jeff Green and DeAndre Jordan. Irving’s night got off to an inauspicious start. After getting called for an offensive foul on his first touch, Irving turned the ball over on the Nets’ second possession. But on the Nets’ third trip down the floor, Irving hit a spin-around baseline shot for his first points since returning to the lineup. He then followed that up with another turnover, his second and the Nets’ fourth in the first two and a half minutes.
But Irving scored seven points in his first nine minutes, and the Nets got off to a red-hot start, beginning the game with 10 straight makes.
2. The Nets went cold after that great start, though, as they went six minutes straight in the late first and early second without hitting a shot. Cleveland went on a 17-0 run in that span, taking a a 32-36 lead with nine minutes left in the half. Brooklyn would go on their own 11-2 run in the second to tie the game, as Irving checked back into the game.
Overall, the Nets looked a bit disjointed in the first half, which is to be expected as the group gets adjusted to playing together. But Brooklyn turned the ball over 10 times in the first half and went just 5-of-17 from three-point range, as the Cavs led 51-49 at the break.
3. Irving and Durant looked ended up with strong first-half numbers, as Irving went 8-for-10 from the floor for 17 points, while Durant added 11 of his own. Harden was the one who was left out of the scoring action in the first half, as he finished the half just 0-of-2 from the floor and didn’t score his only two points until he got to the free-throw line in the final minute. Irving did look to roll his ankle late in the half, but seemed to be fine.
4. In the second half, the Nets defense struggled to slow Cleveland down. In the third period alone, Cleveland scored 36 points as a team, pushing their shooting percentage for the game up to 49.3 percent.
Meanwhile, all five Nets starters were in double figures by the end of the third, with Irving’s 20 leading the way. Even with 11 turnovers through the first 36 minutes, the Nets individual talent was making up for a lack of cohesion. Still, the Cavs led 87-76 heading into the fourth.
5. In the fourth, Durant brought the Nets within 10 points after a tremendous series in which he blocked Cedi Osman and then converted on a four-point play on the other end. Cleveland maintained their advantage for most of the quarter, but the Nets refused to go down quietly, as Irving hit a wide-open corner three to cut the Cleveland advantage to 107-105 with just over four minutes to go.
With under two minutes to go, the Nets tied the game at 113-113 as Irving cleaned up a Joe Harris miss. In the final seconds, Irving was called for an offensive foul on the right wing. Steve Nash challenged the call, and it was overturned, resulting in a jump ball at center court with 1.5 seconds left. Time quickly ran out and the game went to overtime.
6. In overtime, Irving started things off with a three, giving the Nets their first lead since it was 58-57. Durant then scored the next four for the Nets, but a Larry Nance Jr. three ball tied the game at 120-all with under a minute to go. On Brooklyn’s next possession, Green was able to known down a wing three of a Harden assist to put the Nets up. In the closing seconds, Collin Sexton knocked down a three to tie the game 127-127 with 1.2 seconds left. A Durant fadeaway shot came up short, and on to double overtime we went.
7. In double OT, the Nets started to show some fatigue, as a Sexton three pushed the Cleveland lead to 131-127 with 3:32 on the clock. The Nets struggled to score, and Sexton hit another three to put Cleveland up by seven. Sexton continued to cook, as he finished with 42 points and Cleveland went on to the win.
Durant led the Nets with 38 points to go along with 12 rebounds and eight assists, while Irving had 37 in his return. Harden finished with another triple double, going for 21 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.
The Nets and Cavaliers go at it again in Cleveland on Friday, with tip-off set for 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time.