As I sat in my seat at the Rock last night I hoped the Nets would continue their great play of the last week or so and early it didn’t look so good even though the Cavs started a bunch of no-names. The Cavs were without Kyrie Irving and it showed when the game got tight but other than that the pesky Cavs hung around over and over again and would not relent.
The Nets started out a bit shaking like they just had eaten too much Easter dinner and the first seven minutes were ugly as NJ struggled to put the ball in the basket in any way. They got into a quick 9pt hole (22-13) and watched Antwan Jamison (34pts) score with ease inside and out and Avery then made a change and put in Gerald Green and Anthony Morrow to get more offense and it worked. The Nets came back with better defense and timely threes by the two subs and were behind 30-26 after one-quarter.
Gerald Wallace started the second quarter playing a little point-forward while Deron Williams (18pts/10ast/2rebs/4stls) got a rest as the Nets continue to struggle for PG help with Farmar out and Gaines not getting the job done. Johnson has been using MarShon Brooks (14pts/7rebs/2asts) at the point in most backup cases as Brooks played PG in college and in high school and Avery wants to see his skills in the last 10 games at the point. The Cavs hot shooting from the first quarter did not continue into the second quarter as the Nets pushed out the lead and clamped down on the open looks to get to a 12 pt lead behind Green’s 13 first half points. Some bad news for NJ as Wallace left the game with two minutes left in the first half with an apparent hamstring injury and would not return. The Nets let their lead slip late in the second and went into the break leading 56-48.
NJ started the third same as the first and Avery quickly sat Humphries (16pts/11reb/3ast) down to try to contain Jamison with Stevenson on him as the pesky Cavs just wouldn’t go away. Recent DLeague call-up Lester Hudson (26pts) did his best to spur the Cavaliers through the third quarter to take the game the Nets obviously wanted to give away. The Cavs got within 2pts and then NJ came right back with a 9-0 run behind Morrow (24pts) and ended the quarter with a 76-71 lead.
NJ opened up the fourth quarter with a few iso’s for Morrow and he connected to stretch lead back to 9 but then Hudson hit multiple 3’s and went shot for shot with Green (32pts/4reb 5-7 from 3) while the Cavs grabbed every offensive rebound as Thompson (15rebs/10 off reb) was a beast inside. The game went back and forth late into the fourth and the two teams hit shot after shot and just when it seemed the Nets had the game under control and could seal it they allowed another crazy shot from the Cavs. The Nets took a 109-106 advantage on another 3 pointer from Green with 45 seconds to play and it looked good for NJ as Gaines took a charge on the Cavs next possession but the nets could not seal it on the other end. The Cavaliers came down and Hudson heaved up a fall away 3 over Deron Williams and OT it was on this Easter Sunday.
NJ came out and took a quick 4 point lead in overtime and didn’t let the regulation last second shot phase them as they were focused on getting this win. Gerald Green had another mystifying alley oop from DWill to give them that 4 point lead and got the crowd into a frenzy at the Rock. The relentless Cavaliers just kept coming and even though the nets built a 7 point lead in the OT they never stopped and finally the Nets hit some free throws to ice the game and send all of the holiday fans home happy with solid performance and a WIN 122-117.
What a great way to end my Easter Sunday!!!!
Notes: Gerald Wallace left game late in second with a hamstring injury and did not return. Nets have now won 6 out of the last 9 games and 3 in a row at home.
New Jersey now faces the Philadelphia Sixers @ the Rock Tuesday night @7:30pm.
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