The Cavaliers returned home after a two-game road trip and hosted the Brooklyn Nets Saturday night. It wasn’t pretty, but the Cavs held off the Nets 90-88, thanks to some last-second heroics from LeBron James.
Brooklyn got out to a good start taking a 19-10 lead midway through the first quarter, as Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson combined for 15 of their first 17 points.
The Cavs were stagnant offensively during the first quarter, as they shot just 7 for 22, and trailed Brooklyn 24-17 at the end of one.
Brooklyn stayed hot and the Cavs stayed cold early in the second quarter, as the Nets increased their lead to 12 halfway into the quarter.
Then, LeBron and Kevin Love got the Cavs going on a 9-1 run, making it 40-36 in favor of Brooklyn with 3:45 to play in the first half.
LeBron, Love, and Mo Williams all scored in double figures in the first half, but the rest of the team combined for just 11 points, as Cleveland shot 39 percent in the half.
The Nets, led by Lopez’s 16 first half points, entered halftime with a 50-44 lead.
Cleveland went on a 7-2 run to start the second half, holding the Nets to just one basket in the first four minutes of the third quarter.
Love tied the game at 58 with a corner-three with 5:20 to play, and then on the next possession drained another three-pointer to put the Cavs up 61-60. Two possessions later, Love hit yet another three to make it 66-64. He scored 12 points in the quarter, all coming from beyond the arc.
The Nets would regain the lead briefly, but Matthew Dellavedova hit a go-ahead three-pointer with nine seconds remaining in the third quarter, and the Cavs would head into the final period leading 69-68.
The lead was short-lived as Andrea Bargnani put the Nets back on top to start the fourth.
Then, Love came through again, off a beautiful feed from Richard Jefferson to hit his sixth three-pointer of the game and put the Cavs up 72-70.
The Nets would go on a 13-4 run midway through the quarter to lead 83-76, before the Cavs answered back, going on an 8-0 run, thanks to a three-pointer from LeBron and a go-ahead dunk from Tristan Thompson to put the Cavs in front 84-83 with just over two minutes to play.
A pair of free throws from Johnson gave the Nets an 85-84 lead, but LeBron fed Thompson for an alley-oop on the other end, to put the Cavs back on top, 86-85.
LeBron picked a steal from Lopez on the next Nets’ possession with 54 seconds to play, but missed a three-point attempt, giving Brooklyn the ball with 33 seconds to play.
Johnson missed a jumper to take the lead and LeBron hauled in his ninth rebound of the game, and was intentionally fouled with 16 seconds to go.
LeBron nailed both free throws to make it 88-85.
The Nets inbounded the ball to Johnson, who used a pump fake to get J.R. Smith in the air and drew contact while attempting a three-pointer, which gave Johnson three free throws with 15.2 seconds on the clock.
Johnson knocked down all three.
Then, the Cavaliers put the ball in the hands of the man they call King James. James let the clock wound down, drove to the hoop, and hit a beautiful hook shot over Lopez, to put the Cavs ahead 90-88, leaving one second on the clock.
Jarrett Jack would attempt a half-court buzzer beater to no avail, and the Cavaliers earned their 13th win of the season, remaining a perfect 9-0 at home.
Brooklyn received great play from Jack, who scored 12 points while dishing out 14 assists; Lopez, who finished with 22 points and 9 rebounds; Thaddeus Young, who posted a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds; and Johnson, who scored 17 on the night.
Once again for the Cavs, it was LeBron and Love, each scoring 26 points on the night, carrying the team offensively.
The Cavs improve to 13-4 on the season, and after playing their third game in four days, will have a couple days off to rest before the Washington Wizards come to town Tuesday night at 7 PM.