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Garland shines as Cavaliers ease past Nets, McCollum scores 16 in return

By AFP - Jan 18,2022 - Last updated at Jan 18,2022

Isaac Okoro of the Cleveland Cavaliers guards Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets during their NBA game in Cleveland, Ohio, on Monday (AFP photo by Jason Miller)

LOS ANGELES — Darius Garland scored 22 points and delivered 12 assists as the Cleveland Cavaliers stretched their winning streak to five games with a 114-107 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Monday.

The Cavaliers dominated on offence and defense down the stretch, holding the Nets to just two points during the final 3:43 of the fourth quarter.

Issac Okoro scored 15 points and Lauri Markkanen, Kevin Love and Jarrett Allen each added 14 points for the Cavs, who avenged two losses to the Nets back in November.

“It’s a signature win for us against a high-level team,” Cavs coach JB Bickerstaff said. “Obviously with reasons why and excuses coming back off that long road trip and all those things, playing against two of the most elite players in our league, and our guys figuring out a way.

“To me, the most impressive thing is you hold a team like that to 19 points in the fourth quarter.”

The Cavaliers win comes on a day the NBA honoured the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. with special ceremonies and video tributes throughout the 14 games on Monday.

Rookie Evan Mobley tallied 12 points for Cleveland in front of a crowd of 18,100 at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse Arena in Cleveland.

The Nets were playing their first full game without NBA leading scorer Kevin Durant, who is sidelined with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee.

Part-time Nets player Kyrie Irving led all scorers with 27 points but made just two baskets in the fourth quarter when it mattered the most. Irving, who is unvaccinated, is barred from playing all but the Nets’ away games because of New York’s COVID-19 health and safety rules.

“You can’t replace Kev,” said Irving. “It’s impossible. We just faced that reality right now.”

Irving said he has no regrets about missing games because of his COVID-19 beliefs.

“I’m not going to ever try to convince anyone of anything or any of that, I’m just standing rooted in what I believe in... I’m protected by all the doctors I’ve talked to. And I just stand rooted,” Irving said.

Cleveland never trailed in the contest after Markkanen hit an uncontested three point shot with just over three minutes remaining. 

The Nets missed five consecutive shots until Irving made a layup with 53 seconds left to up the score to 110-107.

In Florida, CJ McCollum scored 16 points in his first game back from a collapsed lung as the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Orlando Magic 98-88.

McCollum missed 17 games over six weeks after being injured December 4. He started but saw limited action on Monday as the Trail Blazers try to ease him back into the line-up.


Worked hard


“I worked extremely hard over the last two weeks to recondition, build my body back and getting up shots. And I think you can tell,” McCollum said.

In Washington, Kyle Kuzma tallied 15 points and 16 rebounds, and Montrezl Harrell finished with 18 points as the Wizards defeated the under-manned Philadelphia 76ers 117-98.

Thomas Bryant added 15 points, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 14 and Bradley Beal had 13 for the Wizards. Rui Hachimura and Corey Kispert had 11 apiece.

The short-handed Sixers played without several key injured players, including Matisse Thybulle, Danny Green and Shake Milton.

Joel Embiid led Philadelphia with 32 points and eight rebounds as the Sixers had their two-game win streak halted. It was the 11th consecutive road game that Embiid produced at least 30 points.

“Dog days of the NBA, but you’ve got to fight through that,” said Philadelphia’s Tyrese Maxey, who scored 18 points. “We started out slow, and it’s hard to come back once you start out slow.”

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