The Cleveland Cavaliers were unable to clinch a playoff spot on Tuesday night, losing to the Brooklyn Nets in the play-in game, 115-108. With the loss, The Cavs will now play the winner of the Charlotte Hornets vs. Atlanta Hawks. The winner of that game earns the eighth seed and will play against the Miami Heat. The loser goes home.
In the loss, the Cavs young star, Darius Garland, tied a game-high with 34 points. But ultimately, it was not enough to erase an early 20-point deficit. After the game, Garland and Cavs veteran Kevin Love addressed the media and expressed a key takeaway from the game.
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“The last time we played a game against Brooklyn… it felt like a playoff game… Just another experience for us, watch the film and try to get better,” Garland said.
Kevin Love shared a more specific learn from the game and how it can help the team in its next game. “Playing downhill, playing with pace… winning every quarter from the second quarter on I think was a major positive for us… We just dug ourselves to big of a hole.”
The Nets shot 71 percent in the first quarter, leaving the Cavs trailing 40-20. From that point on, Cleveland’s defense was significantly better. They got within six points in the fourth quarter numerous times, but were never able to get closer than that.
There are reports that Jarrett Allen is getting much closer to returning to the court. Allen, an All-Star this year, could make a massive difference for the Cavs if he is able to suit up. The final eastern conference play-in game between the Cavs and either the Hawks or Hornets will be Friday night in Cleveland.