NEW YORK – The Brooklyn Nets secured No. 2 in the Eastern Conference with pizzas on Sunday night, completing one of the most impressive plays of the team’s season during its 123-109 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In the final seconds of the first half, Blake Griffin intercepted an attempt by Sedi Osman not to save the ball to bounce outside the box. Griffin passed the ball up to Kyrie Irving with a spinning pass with his right hand behind his back. Irving then threw the ball to Mike James, who was right in the 3-point line.
James placed the ball from Kevin Durant’s board to score in a Harlem-like Globetrotters finish, which raised the limited capacity crowd at Barclays Center, excited the Nets̵
“I felt like it was placed on a tray for us,” Durant said. “It happened so fast; I don’t think we forced anything. And these are usually the best plays when it just happens organically. I’m glad to be a part of it.”
James was relieved that Durant had finished the play.
“I was a little nervous,” James said, smiling. “If it was going to be bad, I think my Nets career would be over.”
Griffin then joked that he was the maestro of the whole venture.
“Listen, I don’t like patting my back,” Griffin said, grinning. “But I started this thing. I called everyone to take off. I handed it to Kyrie and then I yelled at Kyrie to give it to Mike and I told Mike to throw it off the board. Kevin just didn’t say it. I don’t want to admit to “These guys did it. I just kind of orchestrated the back.”
Brooklyn coach Steve Nash said he was left wondering from the sidelines: “Do we think we’re cute now? “.
The Nets continued to beat Cleveland in their last game of the season on Sunday. They took the victory without James Harden, who sat down to rest his hamstring on the second night of the match. The win means the Milwaukee Bucks will be number 3 in the playoffs and face the Miami Heat in the first round, while the Nets will face the winner of the match between the Boston Celtics and the Washington Wizards.
Sunday’s race marked the third time Durant has played in both games against each other this season. He finished with 23 points, 13 rebounds and 8 assists. Irving had 17 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists. James added 14 points, 4 rebounds and 6 assists off the bench.
Irving shot 8 of 10 from the field on Sunday and 1 of 2 from the range of 3 points and was a perfect 6 of 6 on the free throw line. His performance solidified Irving’s place in the 50/40/90 club – reserved for players who shoot 50% or more of the field, 40% or better of a range of 3 points and at least 90% on free throws.
This season, Irving shot 50.6% of the field, 40.2% in 3 seconds and 90.2% of the free throw line. He joins Larry Bird, Stephen Curry and Durant as the only players to average at least 25 points per game in the 50-40-90 season.
“Phenomenal season from Ky,” Durant said. “He’s a person who can get it from anywhere on the floor at any time at this size. It’s remarkable. The point guards who get 50/40/90 are much more impressive to me. I’m sure it won’t is his last time. “
Irving did not speak to reporters after the match.
The Nets were also without Joe Harris, who was diagnosed with a left gluteal strain. After the game, Nash said that while he expects Harden to be available to train with the team on Tuesday, Harris may miss several training sessions this week.
“There’s a case where he may not train all week, but that’s good,” Nash told Harris. “He played a lot of minutes this year and we want him to recover as best he can and not have to chase this thing through the playoffs and keep it. I’d rather he decides than practice this week.”
Since Harden was unavailable on Sunday, the Nets finished the regular season with their Big Three, playing just eight games together. The three leading goal scorers of no team have played less than 10 games together and won the championship.
Leading Lakers 2000-01 top scorers Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal have played just 10 games together and won the title, but have also played together in previous seasons. Durant said he wasn’t worried about the lack of time he had spent with Harden and Irving building chemistry.
“I think we’re the Big 15,” Durant said of his team. “So, yes, we’ll be fine.”