New York (AP) – Isaac Okoro He hit the 3-pointer from the corner with 0.7 seconds remaining and finished with 11 such points Cleveland Cavaliers beat Brooklyn 116-114 Thursday night and shut out their first playoff game since 2018 with a two-game sweep of networks.
“There was a lot of pressure on the shot, of course,” Okoro said. “You always feel good about winning the game. For me, that was my first one.”
Donovan Mitchell scored 31 points, Evan Mobley He had 26 points, 16 rebounds, and a Jarrett Allen He finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds against his former team. Cleveland, who beat Brooklyn 115-109 on Tuesday, won for the eighth time in 10 games and cut their magic number to clinch one of the best spots in the Eastern Playoffs to two.
“It was ugly sometimes,” Mitchell said. “There’s a lot going on (in the knockout race) and at the end of the day all we can do is control what we can control and win these games instead of praying for other teams or winning we just have to go out there and do what we do and it’s great to get a win.” Like this tonight.”
Michael Bridges scored 32 points, Spencer Dinwiddie He had 25 points and 12 assists Joe Harris He hit five three-pointers and finished with 15 points as the Nets lost their fifth straight game.
“It’s frustrating,” Bridges said. “Obviously, we have to keep the energy and morale high, but a loss like that is devastating.”
Cleveland trailed 112-104 with 2:13 left before ending the game tied 12-2, aided by three crucial Nets conversions. Trailing by one, Mitchell missed a second free throw that would have tied the game, then missed the return, and three different nets’ hands placed on the ball for the potential rebound before it was joined by the Cleveland keeper. Caris Levert.
“I thought we did a great job getting some stops to put ourselves in that position,” Cavaliers coach JB Bickerstaff said. “You miss the free throw, we had a lot of chances on that, but the guys didn’t pull out of the play, and we’re talking about winning 50-50 balls and winning the scrap.”
LeVert, who spent his first four seasons with Brooklyn, found Okoro in the corner, and dumped the 3-pointer to give Cleveland the lead.
“The ball goes to Karis, I run to the corner and go to my place, and Karis trusted me,” Okoro said. “As soon as it left my hand, I knew it was going in.”
Bickerstaff said Okoro has no fear of taking the big shot.
“But I think the most important thing is that Karis saw he was open and got the ball, and that speaks to this team,” Bickerstaff said.
A rise from half court by Bridges fails at the buzzer.
Bridges had his eighth 30-plus point game as a member of the Nets in three quarters with 14 points in the third quarter. Harris then heated up with four fourth-quarter three-pointers in less than five minutes, helping Brooklyn build a 10-point advantage.
“I felt like we deserved to win that game because we did a lot of good things all night,” said Nets coach Jack Vaughn. “This is an opportunity for us to find out who we are.”
The Cavaliers ranked first in the NBA in points per game and a defensive rating, but had no answer on the Nets offense, which shot 56% in the first half. Dinwiddie scored 19 points, 11 of them in the second quarter, and seven assists, helping Brooklyn take a 61-60 halftime lead.
Mitchell and Bridges both scored in double digits in the first quarter, and appeared to be trading baskets early on. Mitchell scored 12 in the first, including nine in the first 2:17. Bridges had 10, helping the Nets build a 33-31 lead after another.
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