Cavaliers run out of gas in triple overtime loss to Nets 148-139
BY STONE LEXINGTON
CAVALIERS BEAT WRITER
(CLEVELAND, OH) - On Wednesday, the Cleveland Cavaliers played their final game before this weekend’s All-Star festivities, a meeting with the surging Brooklyn Nets. Having one of the worst three records in the NBA, the Cavs may welcome the time off.

Despite the abundance of losing this season, Cavs head coach Larry Drew doesn’t think his team will enter the break with their heads down.

“Mentally, I think we’re in a pretty good place,” Drew said of his team heading into the break. “I’ve been in situations where a poor first half, mentally guys have gone into the break with a lot of doubt, and I don’t see that with our club. Our guys, I still think they’re competing at a high level.

“In our practices and our shootarounds, everybody’s engaged…the energy is there, the enthusiasm is there. This group has pushed through the adversity the first half of the season. I’m very proud of them, and I’m looking forward to after the break.”

On Wednesday, the Cavs gave the favored Nets one of their best efforts of the season, never letting Brooklyn build a lead more than three points through regulation. The effort wasn’t enough, however, as the Cavs fell to the Nets 148-139 in triple overtime.

The Cavs weren’t intimidated by the Nets, as they jumped out to a 29-22 lead with just under two minutes to play in the first quarter. The Nets, though, battled back to secure a 30-29 lead when the first quarter ended. Cavs center Larry Nance, however, immediately helped Cleveland regain the lead in the second quarter.

Nance threw down a dunk for the first bucket of the second quarter that gave Cleveland a one-point advantage. When Collin Sexton converted a floater with 3:33 to play until halftime, the Cavs took their largest lead of the game, 54-42. The scrappy Nets, though, battled back once again to trail just 58-55 at the half.

The Cavs once again stretched their lead to double-digits in the third quarter, but Brooklyn continued to close the gap to make the contest close the rest of the way. The Nets had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation, but missed two shots on the final possession and the game went to overtime.

Tied at 116 apiece with 16 seconds remaining in overtime, Nets guard D’Angelo Russell sank two free throws that gave Brooklyn its final lead. Sexton, though, converted a layup with 2.8 seconds showing that tied the game at 118. The Nets failed to convert at the end of the first overtime period, and the game went to a second extra frame.

A Jordan Clarkson jumper put Cleveland ahead 126-125 with 40 seconds remaining in the second overtime. After Clarkson converted two free throws with just 3.8 showing, the Nets had the ball for one final possession. Nets guard DeMarre Carroll, though sank a three-pointer at the buzzer to send the game to a third overtime.

The Cavs had a 131-130 lead in the final overtime period, but Russell immediately took the game over by making four straight buckets that put the Nets up 139-131 and virtually ended the game.

Russell scored 14 of the Nets’ 18 points in the third overtime and finished with 36 points, seven rebounds and eight assists. Former Cavalier Joe Harris added 25 points and four rebounds to the Brooklyn cause.

Clarkson led the Cavs with a career-high 42 points, eight rebounds and five assists, while Sexton added 24 points, six rebounds and five assists. Marquese Chriss chipped-in a season-high 23 points and seven rebounds before fouling out in the first overtime period.

The Cavs were without Kevin Love (rest) and Tristan Thompson (left foot soreness) against Brooklyn. Drew just wants a healthy squad when they get back from the break.

“Not really,” Drew said when asked if he had any specific goals for his team after the break. “Right now, I’m really hoping and just keeping my fingers crossed that we can get everybody back at once. We haven’t had that all year…I just want to get everybody together in the gym injury free. Then we can see what we really have.”

What are Drew’s plans during All-Star Weekend?

“I’m just going to relax,” Drew said about his plans during the All-Star break. “I’m just going to kind of take it easy. I know my mind will not shut down from the first half of the season. I’ll already start putting some things together, especially getting Kevin back and hopefully Tristan will be ready to come back next week.

“We’ll try to finish this thing out on a positive note, but I do plan on just taking a little time and just getting away from everything.”

The Cavs’ first matchup back from the break will be at home against the Phoenix Suns on Feb. 21.
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​POSTED 02/13/2019 22:33
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