Kirilenko steadies shaky Nets in win vs. Cavs
NEW YORK -- The third-quarter malaise continued for the Brooklyn Nets, but with the Cleveland Cavaliers charging forward, Andrei Kirilenko was the definition of calm.
“I’ve always been like that,” Kirilenko said. “I guess it’s just I‘m a cold-blooded Russian.”
The 6-foot-9 forward was huge defensively, helping the Nets battle through adversity to beat Cleveland, 89-82 on Saturday night at the Barclays Center.
“The guys trusted one another and stayed together,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said. “Normally, a third-quarter run on us tends to be a downfall, but tonight’s game was a positive. The guys stayed together, we got stops and then executed on the other end.”
While Kirilenko, who had eight points in 14 minutes off the bench, was big on the defensive end, forward Andray Blatche (12 points) came through with some big buckets in his first game back after missing four straight for personal reasons.
With the Nets clinging to a two-point lead early in the fourth quarter, Brooklyn (12-21) went on a 7-0 run, capped by back-to-back Blatche buckets, to regain control of the game.
“We’re not buckling, we’re not going to have a bad stretch and just give in,” Blatche said. “We’re fighting and we’re competing and that’s what we’re doing all season.”
Deron Williams continued his hot play for the Nets, who played the first of four consecutive home games. After scoring a season-high 29 points in a win at Oklahoma City on Thursday, the guard had a team-high 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field, to go along with six assists.
“He’s getting great looks and also finding his teammates,” Kidd said. “That’s been a big plus for us.”
Guard Paul Pierce had 17 points and five assists and passed Allen Iverson for 19th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
“It’s a tribute to my longevity, just being able to stay healthy, continue to work on my craft and playing with a lot of good teammates over the years,” Pierce said.
Guard Dion Waiters scored a game-high 26 points, guard C.J. Miles had 19 points and eight rebounds and guard Matthew Dellavedova added 13 points, including 4-of-4 shooting from 3-point range, for the Cavaliers (11-22), who lost for the seventh time in their last eight games.
“You give them credit because they did a heck of a job attacking the rim,” Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. “We did not do a good job on the ball or with the weak side defense when they did dribble-drive penetrate for a finish.”
Cleveland opened the second half on a 10-3 run, capped by a 3-pointer by forward Earl Clark to cut the deficit to 54-48 with 8:37 left in the third quarter.
Waiters twice brought the Cavaliers within three points, the second on a pull-up jumper with 3:15 left in the quarter. Miles buried a 3-pointer to tie the score at 58 with 2:33 left in the third and Dellavedova knocked down his fourth trey to give Cleveland its first lead since the first quarter.
“It is the same shots I have been getting, they just went down tonight,” Waiters said. “I mean, I went through a stretch the last two or three games not shooting that well and tonight I had it going.”
However, the Nets, who were outscored 27-16 in the third, regained their lead on a 3-pointer by forward Mirza Teletovic and took a 67-65 advantage into the fourth quarter.
That’s when the Nets went back to what helped them build a 14-point lead in the first half and it led to a second straight victory for only the second time this season.
“We just settled down,” Nets guard Joe Johnson said. “We understood we turned the ball over, not making the easy play and like I said, we made some adjustments defensively in the fourth quarter and was able to get some stops and come down offensively and get some easy baskets.”
NOTES: Nets C Brook Lopez underwent surgery Saturday morning to repair the fractured fifth metatarsal of his right foot, the team announced. It was the third surgery on the foot for Lopez, who was averaging a team-high 20.7 points with six rebounds through 17 games before the Dec. 20 injury. “With this procedure, we both fixed the broken bone in Brook’s right foot and repositioned another bone so that his sole of his foot will bear weight more evenly than before,” Nets medical director Dr. Riley Williams III said. ... Nets F Kevin Garnett (rest) missed Saturday’s game. “We have I think five games this week so this would be a good opportunity to get him some rest going into the week,” coach Jason Kidd said. ... Cavaliers G Kyrie Irving (left knee contusion) was out. ... The Cavs return home to take on Indiana on Sunday.