Two days removed from blowing a 15-point lead against the Hawks, the Cavs went into halftime tied at 45. It wasn’t the prettiest first half, as both teams shot the ball poorly, but Cleveland was in it. A win seemed possible.
And then the third quarter happened.
By the 9:40 mark of the third, the Nets were up by six points. By the 6:10 mark of the quarter, Brooklyn led Cleveland by 18 and had outscored the Cavs 23-5. One minute and eight seconds later, the Nets pushed their lead to 20 — marking the fourth time in four games this season that the Cavs have trailed by 20 points in a game. In this contest, the Nets would lead by as many as 23.
Where Brooklyn dominated the Cavs was behind the three-point line. In the first half, they made seven three-pointers to the Cavs’ three. In the third quarter alone, Brooklyn six threes while Cleveland made zero. And when the Cavs pushed for their own offense, often frantic-looking and rushed in an effort to make something, anything happen, they took mid-range shot after mid-range shot after mid-range shot.
Cleveland did play both Kyle Korver and J.R. Smith — maybe the best two shooters on the team, or at least two of the best three with Kevin Love — after neither played against the Hawks. Korver and Smith took a combined one three-pointer in 37 combined minutes. As a team, the Cavs finished shooting 38.2 percent from the field and 16.7 percent from three.
The Cavs get another shot tomorrow to pick up their first win of the the year when they travel to Detroit to take on the Pistons. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.