Whatever was wrong with the Cleveland Cavaliers two weeks ago doesn’t seem to be plaguing the team anymore. The Cavaliers will try to run their winning streak to six in a row and go into Thanksgiving on a hot streak when they host Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday.
Cleveland put together its best overall performance of the season on Monday with a 116-88 win at Detroit in which it scored 73 points in the first half and led by 39 entering the fourth, allowing star LeBron James to get some rest in the fourth quarter. “We haven’t had a win like this in a very long time,” James told reporters. “Come out sometimes in the third quarter and we get slow starts and teams get back into it. But (Monday) we just kept it going. It’s a pretty big step for us.” The Cavaliers were in a much different place on Oct. 25, when they went into Brooklyn and suffered a 112-107 loss. The Nets improved to 3-2 on the season with that win but have since dropped eight of 11 and are without point guard D’Angelo Russell indefinitely after he underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, YES (Brooklyn), FSN Ohio (Cleveland)
ABOUT THE NETS (6-10): Even without Russell in the lineup, Brooklyn did not back down from the defending champs on Sunday and nearly overcame a 28-point deficit before falling to the Warriors 118-111. “I was very happy to see our core fundamentals, our core values come back in that second half,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson told reporters after the loss. “We competed, we played together. We had 16 assists in the second half. Those are the things we want to be about. It makes you feel better going into the next game and going forward.” Allen Crabbe is taking on a bigger role with Russell out and matched a season high with 25 points on Sunday to run his season-best string to three straight games scoring in double figures.
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (10-7): The 88 points allowed on Monday marked a season low and snapped a streak of 14 straight games allowing at least 100 points for Cleveland, which is happy with the progress it is making. “Over the last six or seven games we’ve started to come together offensively and defensively,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue told reporters. “Moving the basketball, making the extra pass. That’s what we’re capable of doing when we play the right way.” James, who logged 46 minutes in an overtime triumph over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday, was needed for a season-low 27 minutes on Monday and still managed 18 points and eight assists.
1. Cavaliers PF Kevin Love is averaging 20.2 points on 52.7 percent shooting over the last five games.
2. Nets PF Trevor Booker (left ankle sprain) left Sunday’s game and is day-to-day.
3. Brooklyn snapped a four-game skid in the series with the Oct. 25 triumph.
PREDICTION: Cavaliers 115, Nets 102