NEW YORK (AP) – Isaac Okoro hit a three-pointer from the corner with 0.7 seconds remaining and finished with 11 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat Brooklyn 116-114 yesterday and closed in on their first playoff berth since 2018 with a two-game sweep of the Nets.
“It was a lot of pressure put into the shot, of course,” Okoro said.
“You always feel good with a game-winner. For me, it was my first one.”
Donovan Mitchell scored 31 points, Evan Mobley had 26 points and 16 rebounds and Jarrett Allen finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds against his former team. Cleveland, which beat Brooklyn 115-109 on Tuesday, won for the eighth time in 10 games and reduced its magic number to clinch one of the Eastern Conference’s top playoff spots to two.
Mikal Bridges scored 32 points, Spencer Dinwiddie had 25 points and 12 assists and Joe Harris hit five three-pointers and finished with 15 points as the Nets lost their fifth straight game.
Cleveland trailed 112-104 with 2:13 left before closing the game on a 12-2 run, with the help of three crucial Nets turnovers. Trailing by one, Mitchell missed a second free throw that would’ve tied the game, then he missed a put-back, and three different Nets had their hands on the ball for the potential rebound before it bounded to Cleveland guard Caris LeVert.
LeVert, who spent his first four seasons with Brooklyn, found Okoro in the corner, and he drained the three-pointer to give Cleveland the lead.
A heave from half court by Bridges at the buzzer fell short.
Bridges secured his eighth 30-plus point game as a member of the Nets through three quarters with 14 points in the third quarter. Then Harris heated up with four fourth-quarter three-pointers in a sub-five-minute span, helping Brooklyn build a 10-point advantage.
The Cavaliers rank first in the NBA in points-against per game and defensive rating, but had no answer for the Nets offence, which shot 56 per cent in the first half. Dinwiddie had 19 points, including 11 in the second quarter, and seven assists, helping Brooklyn take a 61-60 lead into the break.
Mitchell and Bridges each scored in double figures in the first quarter, seeming to trade baskets in the early going. Mitchell scored 12 in the first, including nine in the first 2:17. Bridges had 10, helping the Nets build a 33-31 lead after one.