NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, January 4th (All times Eastern)
Cleveland Cavaliers (11-21) at Brooklyn Nets (11-21), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Cleveland Cavaliers hope to endure without star guard Kyrie Irving when they visit the Brooklyn Nets Saturday at Barclays Center.
Irving missed his first game of the season Thursday with a bruised left knee and didn't travel to Brooklyn. The Cavs rallied without him in an 87-81 overtime triumph versus the Orlando Magic.
Cavs guard Dion Waiters made the tying layup with under a second left in regulation and Anderson Varejao scored the last six points of overtime for Cleveland, which erased a 78-68 deficit in the fourth quarter to win for just the second time in the last 10 contests.
"I just wanted to get to the rim, either get a layup or get fouled," Waiters said. "I just took what they gave me."
Waiters is the highest scoring bench player in the Eastern Conference at 15.6 points per game.
The Cavs halted a six-game losing streak and will try to work on their 2-14 road mark. They are slated to play six of the next eight games on the road and have lost four in a row as the guest. Cleveland's last road victory was a 109-100 win at Orlando on Dec. 13.
Brooklyn closed out a three-game road trip (1-2) with Thursday's improbable 95-93 win at Oklahoma City, as Joe Johnson's buzzer-beating basket sent the home team to the loss column. Johnson helped the Nets overcome a 16-point deficit and scored nine points on just 4-of-11 shooting.
"Coach drew up the play in the huddle and the rest is history," Johnson said.
Deron Williams scored 18 of his 29 points in the second half and Paul Pierce added 18 for the Nets, who took advantage of 21 turnovers by the Thunder and converted them into 26 points. Alan Anderson netted 13 points off the bench.
The Nets, who had been 0-19 when trailing after three quarters, won for the second time in eight tries and will play four straight at home versus Cleveland, Atlanta, Golden State and Miami. Brooklyn is 6-9 at home.
Pierce, meanwhile, is three points shy of passing Sixers great Allen Iverson for 19th on the NBA's all-time scoring list. The Answer amassed 24,368 points in his career, while The Truth has 24,366. Pierce is fourth among active players in all-time points scored, trailing only teammate Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki and Kobe Bryant.
Brooklyn and Cleveland will play the second of four matchups this season. The Cavs took the first meeting at home by a 98-94 score on Oct. 30 thanks to Varejao's tie-breaking jump shot with 28.1 seconds left. The Nets had won four in a row and eight of the past 11 meetings with the Cavs, who are winless in three straight as the guest in this series.
01/04 10:33:19 ET