We tuned in to see the return of Kyrie Irving as he was finally going to join James Harden and Kevin Durant in the most offensively-gifted trio in NBA history. What we wound up getting was a coming-out party from a rising star, as Cleveland’s Collin Sexton crashed Brooklyn’s bash as the Cavs defeated the Nets 147-135 in double overtime Wednesday night at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.
Sexton led all scorers with 42 points after scoring 18 straight at one point during the overtime period, and 15 during the final five-minute session. “Collin got hot, I give him credit,” said Irving.
The win means that the Cavs improved to 7-7 and currently sit in sixth place in the East, as teams like the defending conference champion Heat and the 2019 champion Raptors would be on the outside looking in if the playoffs started today. And yes, while the season is very young, it’s also been very weird due to the league’s schedule for the first half of the season where teams are playing baseball-style series to limit travel due to COVID.
Early on, the night looked like it was going to belong to the Nets as they started the game on fire going a perfect 10-for-10 from the field. But then, the law of averages showed up as Brooklyn missed their next 10 shots from the field. Wednesday night was exactly what you would expect when a fun and up-and-coming team is facing off against an offensive juggernaut in their first game together, as there were 10 lead changes, five ties, 30 turnovers, 215 shots attempted, and 282 points scored.
In the end, the Nets just ran out of gas. With three open roster spots they need to fill, the starters played big minutes as Durant, Irving, and Harden all played at least the length of a regulation game.
And if you’re wondering if there was any rust with Irving, there wasn’t. He finished with 37 points, and this was his first bucket:
Harden notched his second triple-double in just his third game with the Nets, as he scored 21 points to go with 12 assists and 10 rebounds. He also did this late, as Brooklyn was in the middle of a fourth-quarter comeback.
Durant almost finished with a triple-double of his own but came up two assists short, as he ended the night with 38 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists, and this nasty block on Cedi Osman.
From a pure entertainment standpoint, the Nets have immediately become the team that’s the most fun to watch in the league. Tune in on Friday night, as they’re running it back with Sexton and the Cavs in Cleveland again.