LeBron James is good. Really, really good at basketball.
And given that the Nets had, well, embarrassed LeBron -- the self-proclaimed ‘King of New York’ — earlier in the season when he and the Cavaliers made their first trip to Brooklyn, it was likely we were going to see ‘Revenge LeBron’ on Wednesday night in Cleveland.
You know, the LeBron who can score, say, 18 straight points in the fourth quarter to completely take over a game. Yeah, that LeBron.
“He really took over,” Kenny Atkinson said post-game. “He got to the rim a bunch, and then the threes, tough step-back threes. Great, great player. We tried different things. We tried switching, and he kind of picks out the guy he wants to go at. I’m disappointed. I thought we had some open looks on the offensive end that might have made it a little tighter.”
The Nets had hoped lightning would strike again. They have had a savior (of sorts) of their own in Spencer Dinwiddie, who has been the team’s best player since taking over the starting point guard position after D’Angelo Russell went down with a serious injury early last week.
Dinwiddie, however, struggled early on in this one - going scoreless in 12 first-quarter minutes, on 0-of-2 shooting with zero assists. Overall the Nets shot just 34 percent from the floor in the first, taking 11 threes and hitting just three of them.
The Cavs weren’t much better, shooting 36.4 precent in the first on just 3-of-10 shooting from three. They did take advantage of the Nets sloppy play in early, picking off five first quarter turnovers, on their way to a 20-17 lead after one.
Joe Harris got hot from beyond the arc in the second quarter - as the Nets were looking for a little spark off the bench. He quickly hit 3-of-4 threes, on his way to 11 first half points. As a team, the Nets took 21 three-point attempts in the first half, going to the free throw line zero times.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was held scoreless in the first half.
On the defensive side of the ball, Brooklyn held LeBron James to just 8 points in the first half, on 3-of-8 shooting. The Cavs shot 40 percent in the first half and weren’t able to take advantage of 10 Brooklyn turnovers.
The Nets carried a 46-45 lead into halftime.
Brooklyn was able to pull away slightly in the third as LeBron James was sent to the locker room after colliding face-to-face with Tyler Zeller — James had a small gash above his upper lip which needed to be tended to.
Allen Crabbe hit a few long jumpers to give the Nets a 6-point lead midway through the third, as LeBron remained in the locker room.
LeBron eventually returned at about the 4-minute mark, having missed 5-plus minutes of action. The Nets had built up a 7-point lead upon his return. That lead, however, would disappear, and fast, as the Cavs on the backs of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, who turned a 7-point deficit into a tie game, 77-77 at the end of the third.
Through three, the Nets had 19 turnovers, but it was their three-point shooting that was keeping them in the game (12 makes through three).
Brooklyn and Cleveland spent much of the fourth quarter trading buckets. Naturally, LeBron led the charge for the Cavs, while on the other side of the ball RHJ was doing much of the damage for the Nets.
It was just too much LeBron, however, in the fourth quarter. Every time the Nets attacked the Cavs on the offensive end, LeBron would answer on the other side of the court. It was vintage LeBron.
He scored 18 straight points in the fourth -- 23 total points in the fourth — finishing with 33 points in 33 minutes.
The Nets shot 52 percent from the floor, but finished with 19 turnovers.
Harris played well, scoring 18 points in 28 minutes, while Crabbe had 15 points. Hollis-Jefferson finished with 20 points and 6 rebounds in 25 minutes. This was his third 20-point game of the season.
Brooklyn has now lost nine straight games in Cleveland.
Trevor Booker missed Wednesday night’s game due to a left ankle sprain, Tyler Zeller picked up the start at center; his first of the season. Zeller made his first career three-pointer in the second quarter. He finished with 7 points and 7 rebounds in 21 minutes.
The Nets are home Friday afternoon to take on the Portland Trail Blazers.
For more on the Cavaliers, read Fear The Sword.
- Game Report: Cleveland Cavaliers 119, Brooklyn Nets 109 - NBA.com
- Highlights: Cleveland Cavaliers 119, Brooklyn Nets 109 (Video) - NBA.com
- Allen Crabbe drains a three (Video) - NBA.com
- Hollis-Jefferson spin and fadeaway (Video) - NBA.com
- Nets 11-0 runs vs. Cavaliers (Video) - NBA.com
- Nets five three-pointers in second quarter (Video) - NBA.com
- Harris to Dinwiddie (Video) - NBA.com
- LeVert on the fast break (Video) - NBA.com
- Sean Kilpatrick from deep (Video) - NBA.com
- Nets Post Game Plus: BKN@CLE (Video) - Chris Shearn - YES Network
- Atkinson on LeBron being LeBron (Video) - YES Network
- Atkinson on facing the Cavs (Video) -- YES Network
- Harris on team’s overall performance (Video) - YES Network
- Carroll on closing games (Video) - YES Network
- LeBron gets stitches, scores 23 in fourth as Cavs beat Nets (Nov 22, 2017) - AP
- LeBron James’ domination in fourth too much for Nets - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Tyler Zeller’s head butt sends LeBron to locker room for stitches - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- ‘A rags to riches story’: Nets rally behind their veteran leader - Greg Joyce - New York Post
- Nets fall as Cavaliers ride LeBron James’ big fourth quarter - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Kenny Atkinson: We’re not doing a good job in transition defense - Greg Logan -Newsday
- LeBron James drains all hope of a Nets win (Game Grades) - The Brooklyn Game
- LeBron James gets stitches, sews up 119-109 win over Nets - Joe Vardon - Cleveland Plain-Dealer
- LeBron James finds new way to impress Kyle Korver, other teammates during fourth-quarter scoring binge - Chris Fedor - Cleveland Plain-Dealer
- Cavaliers 119, Nets 109: LeBron James goes wild with 23 points in fourth quarter as Cavs atone for ugly loss - Marla Ridenour - Akron Beacon-Journal