Nets overcome double-digit deficit to take down Cavaliers
Make it three in a row for the Brooklyn Nets as they were able to overcome an 11-point halftime deficit to secure a 117-112 victory.
Much like Friday against the Magic, the Nets started the game a little shaky. The offense was in a rut for most of the first half. Former Net Jarrett Allen (20 points, 15 rebounds) was active early on both ends of the floor. He gave Brooklyn’s frontcourt fits all night, which was a big reason why LaMarcus Aldridge started the second-half in place of Blake Griffin.
Speaking of Aldridge, it was another strong showing from the 15-year veteran. In 34 minutes, LaMarcus totaled 21 points and 11 rebounds — his first double-double of the season. He also had a plus/minus of +14. Aldridge did it in his typical fashion, shots from the mid-range as well as some bully ball.
Over the last few games, LaMarcus has been a calming presence on the offensive end. Yes, Kevin Durant and James Harden are the go-to guys for Brooklyn, but Aldridge has proven to be someone to get you a bucket when needed.
Aside from some porous shooting, the Nets were absolutely manhandled on the boards in the first half. The Cavaliers held a 30-14 rebounding advantage at halftime. Allen alone had nine first-half rebounds himself. This has been an ongoing problem for Brooklyn and one that will be an issue throughout the season. The Nets did do a better job in the second half, however, as they outrebounded Cleveland 28-23.
Monday also saw the return of Kevin Durant (27 points, six rebounds, nine assists) who had missed the team’s previous game due to shoulder soreness. Although Durant had nine first-quarter points, it took him a while to really find his rhythm offensively.
During Brooklyn’s 20-6 third-quarter run, Durant was a catalyst, but on the defensive end where he tallied three blocks to shift the momentum of the game. After Cleveland went on a 7-0 run to give them a 105-102 lead with just under four minutes left in the game, Durant responded with two tough buckets to regain the lead for Brooklyn.
He also found James Johnson underneath the basket with just over a minute left to give Brooklyn a five-point lead. All eight of Durant’s fourth-quarter points came during Brooklyn’s 15-7 run to close the game.
Even with Durant showing off his scoring ability and James Harden (14 points, 14 assists) flashing his facilitating, the story of the night was the 15 minutes in which Cam Thomas played.
Fresh off a 46-point performance Saturday with the G League Long Island Nets, Thomas found himself getting some early burn during Monday’s contest. Thomas would make an immediate impact off the bench, collecting a block within a few seconds of checking in. Two minutes later Cam would connect on a transition three-pointer from the wing for his first career NBA three-pointer.
First of many 🎯 pic.twitter.com/jEDYXEIj4P
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) November 23, 2021
The rookie would really make his presence felt in the third quarter during the aforementioned 20-6 run. Thomas connected on another three, this time from the corner. A few possessions later, Thomas converted on an and-1 layup and capped off his third quarter with a short pull-up jumper on the baseline.
It was a very promising outing for a rookie that shows a ton of potential. With Kyrie Irving’s absence, there has been a glaring need for shot creators outside of Durant and Harden. After a solid performance Monday, it’ll be interesting to see if Thomas has earned more minutes within the rotation.
Brooklyn will look to make it four in a row as they’ll take on their division rival Boston Celtics on Wednesday.
Other Nets Notes
- Nets 5-0 when Aldridge scores 20+ points
- James Harden’s 14 assists are a new season-high