I hope you didn't get your hopes too high after the two-game Nets' win streak. If you did, you simply made a mistake -- an honest one we'd say, as the Nets have displayed this same mirage plenty of times throughout the season.
They were defeated by the Cleveland Cavaliers, 117-92, on the final game of the four-game road-trip.
Things looked great from the start. The Nets jumped out to a 22-9 start and looked extremely motivated while doing so. However it didn't last very long, in large part due to the Nets' struggles when playing small. Not to mention, the Cavs finished 15-of-29 (51%) from three and 55% from the field.
The Cavs hit 7-of-9 three-pointers in the second quarter. That's when the Nets disappeared into space, got lost in a different universe and never came back. Their return is pending on Friday's performance vs. the Bucks.
Late in the first quarter, Lionel Hollins subbed Thaddeus Young out and Jarrett Jack in. With the substitution of Young, Joe Johnson was moved to the four which gave Cleveland a clear height advantage. It was a very questionable tactic considering the Nets set an NBA season-high and team record with 78 points in the paint in Monday night's victory over the Timberwolves. They've averaged about 53 per game since acquiring Thaddeus Young, tops in the NBA.
It certainly backfired. As the Nets played with the small unit through the early stages of the second quarter, Cleveland jumped out to a 16-2 run -- giving them a 39-30 lead despite trailing by 13 late in the first quarter. J.R. Smith nailed four three-pointers in the quarter and Cleveland outscored the Nets 36-21 to lead by 12 heading into half.
Smith finished the night with 17 points on 5-of-10 shooting from three.
Any hopes of the Nets making a comeback in the second half were shot down immediately. The Cavs went on a 10-0 run within the first few minutes of the quarter, extending their lead to 21 with Timofey Mozgov scoring 12 in the quarter. That was game.
Deron Williams was the leader for Brooklyn with 20 points and six assists. He looked extremely active throughout, but his teammates failed to meet his lead, Joe Johnson (6 points, 3-9 shooting) in particular.
The Nets turned the ball over just 11 times and dished out 23 team assists, but Cleveland's 32 assists served as a perfect statistic to represent their fluid ball movement and incredible shooting night. Cleveland was just too dang good.
LeBron James was a silent killer in this one. He scored 16 points and dished out seven assists, but it was Kyrie Irving who stole the show and facilitated the Cleveland offense. He scored 12 points, 10 assists and five rebounds in 30 minutes.
Thaddeus Young ended the first quarter and the game with nine points. He was the opening quarter's leading scorer, but barely touched the ball since -- and failed to score throughout the rest of the game.
The Nets squandered another opportunity to gain some ground on the eighth seed in the East. Their next challenge will come this Friday against the Bucks, where last year's coach Jason Kidd looks to put the Nets further down in the standings, while his young Milwaukee team tries to rise.
Quarter by quarter:
First quarter ... The Nets started off hot. They hit 9 of their first 13 shots and jumped out to a 22-9 lead, but Cleveland ended the last 4:56 of the quarter on a 14-4 run, cutting the once 13-point lead down to three. Brooklyn shot 50% in the quarter as Thaddeus Young led the team with nine points. They were once again striving in the paint with 14 points, Young being a main reason why. They led, 26-23.
Second quarter ... Well, things went downhill fast for the Nets. The Cavs answered the Nets' 22-9 start with a 30-8 run of their own, gaining their first lead -- then building on it with a 39-30 lead. Brooklyn's small lineup was suspect. They allowed Cleveland to go on a 16-2 run with Johnson playing as the four. Cleveland was brought back by former Knick J.R. Smith who scored 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting from three. They outscored Brooklyn 36-21 in the quarter.
Score at the half: Cavs 59, Nets 47.
Third quarter ... Timofey Mozgov scored 12 points in the third quarter and scored six of eight during an 8-0 Cavs run to put them up 79-60. Their largest of the quarter was 21. The Nets allowed 35 points from Cleveland and trailed, 94-73.
Fourth quarter ... This game was over before the fourth quarter even started. The Nets scored just 19 points in the fourth quarter and there was no comeback in the making.
Final score: Cavs 117, Nets 92.
For more on the Cavs, check them out at Fear The Sword
- Game Thread: Brooklyn Nets at Cleveland Cavaliers, 7:00 PM - NetsDaily
- Brooklyn Nets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers - Box Score - March 18, 2015 - ESPN
- Brooklyn Nets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers - Recap - March 18, 2015 - AP
- James Finishes With Authority (Video) - ESPN
- Cavs Continue Home Dominance (Video) - ESPN
- Nets vs. Cavaliers (Video) - NBA.com
- Finish Strong (Video) - NBA.com
- Make It Happen (Video) - NBA.com
- Aerial Display (Video) - NBA.com
- Got Caught Watching (Video) - NBA.com
- Mozgov Mash (Video) - NBA.com
- Timely Dish, Power Smash (Video) - NBA.com
- Defense To Offense (Video) - NBA.com
- Drive And Feed (Video) - NBA.com
- Put Back Special (Video) - NBA.com
- In The Paint (Video) - NBA.com
- Plumlee Finishes (Video) - NBA.com
- Post Game Plus: Nets fall to Cavaliers, 117-92 (Video) - Chris Shearn - YES Network
- Hollins game plan against the Cavaliers (Video) - YES Network
- Nets players talk about the upcoming March Madness (Video) - YES Network
- Alley-oop to Plumlee (Video) - Brooklyn Nets
- Rapid Reaction (Video) - Lenn Robbins - Brooklyn Nets
- Nets get routed by Cavaliers, 117-92 - Andy Vasquez - The Record
- Nets notes:Starting fast - Andy Vasquez - The Record
Nets wilt after fast start in loss to Cavaliers - Rod Boone - Newsday
- LeBron, Cavaliers clobber overmatched Nets - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- LeBron James, J.R. Smith and Cavs dismantle Brooklyn Nets - Stefan Bondy - New York Daily News
- Nets No Match For Red-Hot Cavaliers (Grades) - Devin Kharpertian - The Brooklyn Game
- Cleveland Cavaliers sputter early, regroup to throttle Brooklyn Nets 117-92 - Chris Haynes - Cleveland Plain-Dealer
- LeBron James just one of many to assault Brooklyn Nets: Joe Vardon's instant analysis - Joe Vardon - Cleveland Plain-Dealer
- Balanced Cleveland Cavaliers rout Brooklyn Nets: DMan's Report, Game 70 - Dennis Manoloff - Cleveland Plain-Dealer