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Nets Drop Seventh Straight Game to Struggling Cavs

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – The Brooklyn Nets (8-16) came into Monday night’s match-up looking to take advantage of the rebuilding Cleveland Cavaliers (4-18). The Lebron-less Cavaliers had lost their previous four games, and in each game failed to break 100 points. This seemed like the perfect match-up for Brooklyn to snap their own six game losing streak. Especially since the Nets held an impressive 7-4 record at the Barclays Center prior to Monday night.

Once the game started, it was very evident that these two teams were evenly matched. Brooklyn and Cleveland took turns exchanging baskets, as neither team was able to get separation. The pace to the game was high, as both teams looked to run the floor and convert in transition. Jordan Clarkson (20 pts, 11 rebs) and Tristan Thompson (19 pts, 14 rebs) led the Cavaliers in the first quarter, netting eight points each.

(Photo Credit: Barry Holmes) Thompson hurt the Nets in the paint Monday night.

(Photo Credit: Barry Holmes) Thompson hurt the Nets in the paint Monday night.

D’Angelo Russell (30 pts) got the offense going early both driving to the basket and from beyond the arc. It seemed like he made it a point to come out aggressive, and in turn it rubbed off onto his teammates. However, the interior defense for the Nets was very disappointing. For much of the first half, the Cavaliers were getting whatever they wanted in the paint. Cleveland used that interior presence to build a 56-50 lead at halftime.

To start the second half, the Nets were cold shooting the ball. Brooklyn was creating quality shot opportunities, however they just couldn’t knock them down. Colin Sexton (15 pts) started to get his game going, and showed his versatility both on the offensive and defensive end. The Cavaliers rookie showcased an uncanny ability to move without the ball and to keep opponents in front of him on the perimeter.

(Photo Credit: Barry Holmes) Sexton showed that he is a talented rookie for Cleveland.

(Photo Credit: Barry Holmes) Sexton showed that he is a talented rookie for Cleveland.

Sexton’s energy helped propel Cleveland to a double digit lead, however Brooklyn made a late third quarter surge. The Nets used offensive help from Russell and Shabazz Napier (10 pts) to bring the game to 80-76 at the end of the third. Brooklyn also did a better job of making it harder for Cleveland to penetrate to the basket.

The fourth quarter was all about runs, as both teams made surges throughout the period. It looked like Cleveland was going to run away with the game midway through the quarter, until the Nets finally clamped down on defense. Brooklyn also got a couple huge buckets from Spencer Dinwiddie (18 pts) and Rodions Kurucs (12 pts), which brought the game to 97-97 with :18.9 remaining.

However, Alec Burks made an incredible behind the back dribble leading to an emphatic dunk which put Cleveland up for good. Dinwiddie was unable to convert on a last second three pointer, as the Nets fell to the Cavaliers 99-97. This was a game that the Nets should have won, as they had plenty of opportunities to get over the hump. The key for this team moving forward is to get better defensively. They don’t have the offensive firepower to outscore opponents, so they have to get it done defensively.

The Nets will look to break their seven game losing streak, when they face the Oklahoma City Thunder (15-7) Wednesday night in Brooklyn.

Barry Holmes is a Senior Writer for Follow him on Twitter @BHO732

(Featured Photo Credit: Barry Holmes/PureSportsNY)


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