Bench blizzard provides lift for 12th straight: Cavaliers 104, Nets 97
Photo: John Kuntz/Cleveland.com
Often times, a pitiful team like the New Jersey Nets can knock off an incredible squad like the Cavaliers if they catch them on a night where they lack focus. Just two days away from a showdown with the Orlando Magic and facing the worst team in the league, the Cavaliers were in danger of looking ahead and slacking off. The Cavaliers did look bored most of the game, never truly thinking they weren't going to win the game, but they survived solid New Jersey jump shooting thanks to 38 bench points to set the NBA's best win streak this season at 12 games.
No Delonte, No Devin: Mo Williams proved to be wrong in his prediction of Delonte West playing tonight as he was ruled out after shootaround by Coach Mike Brown. It sounds like Delonte won't return until after the All-Star break against Denver, giving him nine extra days off to help heal the injured finger. Luckily for the Cavs, the Nets All-Star point guard Devin Harris missed tonight's game as well. Being without Harris left the Nets without a true playmaker and forced to rely on perimeter shooters in addition to Brook Lopez's post game.
Not many signs of 4-46: If the Cavaliers had no knowledge of other teams' records, they certainly wouldn't think New Jersey is the worst team in the league. In two prior meetings this year, the Nets hung with the Cavaliers for the entire game, losing by 10 and 8 points. Tonight, it was pretty much the same recipe. The Cavs started off slow, the Nets gained confidence, the Cavaliers never really worried about it too much, the Cavaliers played really hard for a couple of three minute stretches, and the Nets faded in the end. The Nets were led early by a quick start from Jarvis Hayes, who had 8 points in the blink of an eye. Most of this was a result of the Cavaliers playing some dummy defense. For instance, there's no reason for Keyon Dooling to attack the paint and get four first quarter assists. Overall, the Nets haven't looked even close to a 4-46 team in their three face-offs with Cleveland.
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