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Final Score: Cavs grind, but fall to Nets, 117-112

Allen, Markkanen return, but Cleveland comes up short in the fourth

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Cleveland Cavaliers David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers (9-9) fought, but eventually fell to the Brooklyn Nets (13-5) at home on Monday, final score 117-112. With the welcome return of big men Jarrett Allen and Lauri Markkanen, Cleveland is slowly returning to health after dealing with a slew of early-season injuries.

The Cavs controlled the pace through nearly three quarters, led by Jarrett Allen who owned the glass with a game-high 15 rebounds, scoring 20 points on 7-for-15 shooting. Allen notched his 8th double-double of the season in the loss.

Darius Garland did Darius Garland things, finding his sweet spot in the key while keeping his teammates engaged on offense by moving the ball and feeding the bigs inside. The 21-year-old point guard exited the game with 6:40 left in the 3rd after catching a nasty DeAndre’ Bembry elbow to the face. Garland would eventually make his return with a little over 1 minute left in the 3rd, but the Cavs struggled in his absence and were outscored 32-19 during the quarter. Garland, also with a double-double, finished with 24 points (9-for-27) and 11 assists.

Lauri Markkanen showcased efficient scoring in his first outing since November 1, pouring in 22 points, going 3-for-9 from three. Isaac Okoro contributed 15 points, including 3 three-pointers. Ricky Rubio moved back to his role on the bench providing his standard, balanced play, scoring 16 points with 5 assists in 29 minutes.

The Nets came into Monday’s match-up barely squeaking by the Orlando Magic last Friday after a 36-point performance by James Harden. Star forward, Kevin Durant, who was dealing with a sprained right shoulder, returned to the Net’s lineup on Monday and posted a game-high 27 points on 8-for-19 shooting. LaMarcus Aldridge played inspired basketball, scoring 21 points, while Patty Mills came up with a few clutch shots down the stretch to seal the win for Brooklyn.

Up next: On Wednesday, the Cavs host the red-hot Phoenix Suns who are boasting an impressive 13-game winning streak. Tipoff at 7 p.m.