The Brooklyn Nets lost their fifth straight game 116-108 against the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers. Brooklyn was much more competitive in this game than in the previous bout right before Christmas as the Nets actually led at points in this game.
The largest reason for the Brooklyn loss was the inability to stop LeBron James or Kyrie Irving. Both of these superstars went off for over 30 points on the night. King James finished with 36 points on 14-20 shooting. James also added in nine rebounds, six assists, and two steals. Kyrie went 10-26 after a rough start to the game scoring 32 points. Kyrie is a large reason Brooklyn lost as he took over scoring a bunch of points by himself to keep Brooklyn at bay during the early fourth quarter run by the Nets.
Brooklyn’s leading scorer on the night was Bojan Bogdanovic. Bogie scored 23 on 9-14 shooting including 5-9 from long range. Also contributing offensively with a career high in points was rookie Caris LeVert. LeVert finished with 19 points on 7-12 shooting.
The other massive difference in this game was the free-throw attempts. Cleveland shot 43 free-throws and made 31 of them. Compare that to Brooklyn’s 19 attempts and making 17 of them. Good percentage for Brooklyn, but when you give up that many attempts, you will struggle. It could have been worse, too, if Tristan Thompson did not start 0-9 from the charity stripe thanks to Mr. Whammy.
Grading the Players
Caris LeVert, Isaiah Whitehead, and Trevor Booker get A’s tonight. LeVert, as mentioned, scored a career high 19 points on 7-12 shooting. The rookie did not only score, he even played good defense against LeBron James, forcing a jump ball. Offensively, LeVert also hit a big three-pointer late in the game to bring the Nets to within six points. LeVert also tallied up four rebounds and five assists. The rookie really looked good tonight.
Isaiah Whitehead lost his starting job to Spencer Dinwiddie tonight. Off of the bench, Whitehead got himself a double-double. Whitehead scored 10 points and brought down 10 rebounds to go along with three assists and a steal. Whitehead was the one that drove to the basket with power to score points when Brooklyn needed them the most.
Trevor Booker tallied up yet another double-double with his 13 points and 12 rebounds. Booker was a monster at times with his slams and his ability to go the length of the floor and score points. Booker, to go along with his double-double, notched four assists as well.
Sean Kilpatrick and Joe Harris get D’s. Sean Kilpatrick came off of the bench yet again and struggled yet again. Skilpatrick only scored four points on 2-9 shooting. Not a good day for the birthday boy. Grade should be lower, but it is his birthday; I have to cut him some slack there.
Joe Harris keeps getting opportunities to start. Starting tonight, Harri only came up with two points on 1-9 shooting. The only reason Harris does not have an F is his rebounding. Harris grabbed six rebounds on the night as well as a steal.
This was a well fought game for Brooklyn, but the defending champions were too much. Next up for Brooklyn is division rival Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday afternoon. For Cleveland, they travel to Phoenix to take on the Suns on Sunday as well.