The Brooklyn Nets got through this Christmas week by not getting too embarrassed by the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers, losing 119-99. Twenty points seems like a lot, but, for this game, it was actually quite encouraging.
The Brooklyn Nets got dismantled in Cleveland in a truly unpromising performance. Down by nearly 40 at times, Brooklyn looked lackluster and apathetic. It was only so close in the end because Brooklyn scored 42 points in the fourth quarter, compared to Cleveland’s 21. That alone says something about this game.
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Leading all scorers on the night was none other than the king himself, LeBron James. James had 19 points, five rebounds, six assists, and three steals, and was a whopping +32 on the night. For Brooklyn, Brook Lopez led all scorers with 16 points. Lopez scored these points going 7-of-11 from the field, but had no free-throw attempts.
Both teams shot the ball pretty well last night, as Brooklyn shot 44.7 percent, and Cleveland shot 45.5 percent. The big difference, though, was field goal attempts. Cleveland had 99 attempts to the Nets’ 85. As a result, Cleveland made seven more field goals. Add that to the six-point differential from the free-throw line, and that is practically your ball game.
Brooklyn seemed completely disinterested and unmotivated as the game wore on. The deficit was getting larger, possessions were not going as planned, and the Cavs were just making everything. It really wasn’t until the reserves started to play more in the fourth that things started to get closer simply because the end of the bench is playing for something: future minutes.