As a team, the Sixers did a fine job of holding the Celtics to just 40 percent shooting from the field, but they allowed the Celtics to drain a franchise-record 19 threes which hurt them.
So, after shaking off the cobwebs from a week of inactivity, Irving chose to do something about it.
"We still got a couple more things we need to do", James said Friday, when asked if Cleveland's pending trade with Atlanta for Korver was a "championship move". I think just having that secure blanket. The momentum was shifting. "We have to trust each other, and we have to want to play hard every night", Lopez told reporters. "We dug ourselves a hole", rookie Caris LeVert said after scoring a season-high 19 points. We weren't executing plays.
The Cavs are finalizing a deal for Korver in exchange for Mike Dunleavy, Jr. and a 2019 first round pick, and need to include Mo Williams in the package to make room for a backup point guard James has been seeking. Felt it'd probably be best if I took a game because I wasn't feeling well.
Irving appeared in his first game since getting 32 points against the Boston Celtics on December 29. He was 4-of-14 in the first half and 5 of 17 through the first 36 minutes as the Cavaliers held an 86-68 lead.
Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (hamstring) is probably to suit up against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday. After Brooklyn scored the first 12 points of the quarter, Irving responded with a personal run, doing it while LeBron James rested.
The 6-foot-7 swingman drove for two, then fed Trevor Booker inside for a layup.
"He loves big moments", James said. "No matter if a team with a record they have and the record we have, games get close and he's going to step up to the plate". However, he can hit the 3-pointer (37 percent career average), has a 4.8 assist-per-game average and was a popular presence in the locker room during his time with the Chicago Bulls. Four in-game minutes later, with under three minutes left in the half, the Cavs led just 39-36. "He was huge for us".
And, perhaps, finally, Irving poured in 32 points, with 16 in the fourth quarter. "Credit to them, I thought they made some tremendous offensive plays".
Irving started 1 for 8 and Love was 1 for 7 as the Nets, who trailed by 46 during their loss at Cleveland on December 23, led with under five minutes remaining in the second quarter.
"I think we saw a glimpse of who he could be, who we project him to be", said Atkinson. Bogdanovic led the Nets with 23 points, knocking down five 3-pointers, and Lopez had 17.
"Yeah, it's my last time saying it".
Love, who laughed when noting that the Cavs' flight from Cleveland to NY on Thursday actually had sea bass as a menu option, said he is going to stay away from the fish on future flights.
The game featured nine ties and 14 lead changes before Houston (29-9) began to pull away late in the third quarter.
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