Cavs 147 Nets 135

The hottest city in sports right now is C-Town.

Jim Rome
January 21, 2021 - 9:18 am
Collin Sexton

USA Today

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The Nets and Cavs faced off in Cleveland last night and it marked the return of an elite guard who’d been away from the game for a couple weeks. Everyone was tuning in to see how he would look and how he would jell with his teammates. And after one night, the answer is: tremendous.

I’m not talking about Kyrie Irving, who was on the floor for the Nets last night, I’m talking about Collin Freaking Sexton, who’d missed the last five games for the Cavs. And came back like an absolute legend.

After missing five games with a sprained ankle, Young Bull returned to put up 42 points and bury the Nets 147-135 in double overtime.

Last night was the first time Brooklyn’s big three played together. It was the first time Irving took the court after his “pause” in the season and after the Harden trade. And it was also the Jarrett Allen Revenge Game.

But really, it was all about Collin Sexton. That was a supernova performance. Young Bull ran wild. 16 of 29 from the field. 5 of 11 from deep. He was the best player on the floor and I guarantee you nobody was thinking of saying that before last night.

I’m sure there were some people who weren’t even convinced he’d be the fourth best player on the floor last night, but there he was, on top of the heap.

He had it all working.

There he was blocking Kevin Durant on the break.

That’s 6’1 rejecting a seven-footer right there.

And he was getting it done distributing the ball as well, like finding Larry Nance Jr from deep to tie it up with less than a minute left in overtime.

And then the three over Kyrie to send it to double-overtime with less than two seconds left in overtime.

Have some. And now have some more. Because if Sexton was good in regulation and overtime, he was incredible in double overtime. Four threes, 15 points, including this dagger in Durant’s eye.

What is happening in Cleveland right now? Don’t worry, I’ll answer that for you: it is a renaissance.

It started with the Browns and it’s continuing with the Cavs. The Cavs picked up where the Browns left off. The hottest city in sports right now is C-Town. And I could not be prouder.

But a lot of the dopes and losers, a lot of the haters, are going to think that the real story from last night was the Nets and how they looked in their first game with the Big Three.

Of all the possible results that people were expecting when Kyrie Irving finally joined up with Kevin Durant and James Harden, of all the possible looks from the new-look Brooklyn Nets, I’m not sure anyone had them getting worked by the Cleveland Cavaliers in double overtime.

I’m not coming out after one game and declaring there’s no way they’ll win a title. It was one night, it was their first game together, Irving and Harden are still working themselves into shape, but damn, if you are looking to be the best team in the east that was not a good start.

Before the game, Durant got the team together and said “let’s start something beautiful.”

And then the Nets went out and got WORKED by Cleveland. There was something beautiful out there last night, but it was wearing black Cavaliers jerseys with ransom note font.

Kyrie played a career-high 48 minutes last night. Durant played 50. And Harden played 51. They went for 37, 38, and 21 respectively. They combined for 96 points. And it still wasn’t enough to beat Collin Sexton and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

And let’s be clear: the Cavs have the worst offensive rating in the league. The worst offensive rating in the league and their nearly went for a buck AND A HALF  against the Nets.

And it wasn’t even the sexland Cavaliers.

Sexton was there, but his running mate, the other half of sexland, Darius Garland wasn’t there. In other words, this was a short-handed Cavs team that dropped nearly 150 on the Nets.

And they were doing it with moments like this.

I’m not sure that anyone expected the Nets to look like the Bad Boy Pistons on defense, but come on, fellas, you can’t be turnstiles. And worst of all, they couldn’t get stops when they needed them.

As Steve Nash said: "We had breakdowns all over the place. So we have a lot of work to do. We know we have a very offensive team right now, so we have to find ways to defend, get connected and be on the same page."

That is the truth. There were breakdowns all over the place. If you had questions about how the Nets big three would show up on defense before last night, you have even more right now.

They weren’t exactly known for putting on the clamps before the trade and that was with Jarrett Allen. Now that Allen is protecting the rim in Cleveland, the defense has even more questions now.

Of course those questions don’t really matter right now. It’s January. You don’t need to be an elite defense in January, but if you want to win in June, this group better get better. You are not going to win a seven game series with teams like the Heat or the Bucks if you can’t get stops against the Cavs.

Again, it’s January. It’s one game. And there is no doubt this Nets team can score, the question was can they get stops. And after one night, the answer is: no.

They have to figure this out, and they’ll have to do it on the fly, because it’s a packed season, there aren’t many practices, and if this team is going to live up to the hype, they have to get stops. We know they can score the ball.  What do we don’t know is if they can stop anyone else form doing it. And if the worst shooting team in the league is going off like that against them, the answer is no. And the answer is no, there ain’t going to be any parades for Brooklyn.