Darius Garland scored 22 points and delivered 12 assists as the Cleveland Cavaliers stretched their winning streak to five games with a 114-107 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Monday.
The Cavaliers dominated on offence and defence down the stretch, holding the Nets to just two points during the final 3:43 of the fourth quarter.
Issac Okoro scored 15 points and Lauri Markkanen, Kevin Love and Jarrett Allen each added 14 points for the Cavs, who avenged two losses to the Nets back in November.
Rookie Evan Mobley tallied 12 points for Cleveland in front of a crowd of 18,100 at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse arena in Cleveland.
The Nets were playing their first full game without NBA leading scorer Kevin Durant, who is sidelined with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee.
Part-time Nets player Kyrie Irving led all scorers with 27 points but made just two baskets in the fourth quarter when it mattered the most. Irving, who is unvaccinated, is barred from playing all but the Nets’ away games because of New York’s Covid-19 health and safety rules.
Cleveland never trailed in the contest after Markkanen hit an uncontested three point shot with just over three minutes remaining.
The Nets missed five consecutive shots until Irving made a layup with 53 seconds left to up the score to 110-107.
In Washington, Kyle Kuzma tallied 15 points and 16 rebounds, and Montrezl Harrell finished with 18 points as the Wizards defeated the under-manned Philadelphia 76ers 117-98.
Thomas Bryant added 15 points, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 14 and Bradley Beal had 13 for the Wizards. Rui Hachimura and Corey Kispert had 11 apiece.
The short-handed Sixers played without several key injured players, including Matisse Thybulle, Danny Green and Shake Milton.
Joel Embiid led Philadelphia with 32 points and eight rebounds as the Sixers had their two-game win streak halted. It was the 11th consecutive road game that Embiid produced at least 30 points.
“Dog days of the NBA, but you’ve got to fight through that,” said Philadelphia’s Tyrese Maxey, who scored 18 points. “We started out slow, and it’s hard to come back once you start out slow.”