NEW YORK — Two consecutive away losses made for plenty of mistakes to be corrected for Brooklyn Nets head coach Jason Kidd. Returning to the impenetrable arena that is the Barclays Center, the Nets took the opportunity to right their wrongs in a 108-97 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night.
“We know we still have a long way to go,” Kidd said. “There are a lot of things we can do with this crowd and being home has been good to us.”
The win is the 12th straight at home for the Nets, and since Dec. 27, the Nets are 19-2 at home, the best home mark in the NBA.
“We’re just trying to take care of business,” Kidd said. “The guys are playing extremely well here, feeling very comfortable.”
Forward Paul Pierce took advantage of the friendly confines of Brooklyn, using a big first half on his way to a game-high 22 points.
Pierce led an offense that received significant contributions from the bench as six different players scored in double figures. Guards Alan Anderson (13) and Marcus Thornton (10) combined for 23 points and three assists as the Nets bench outscored Cleveland’s 48-18.
“This is a special team,” Kidd said. “We have a lot of guys that can put the ball in the basket and make plays for one another.”
With the win, the Nets stay in the hunt for fourth place in the Eastern Conference playoff race, two and a half games behind the Bulls.
“If we’re going anywhere in this playoffs, we are a team of depth,” Pierce said. “We have guys that can beat you on any given night. It’s not really surrounded by one particular guy.”
The Cavaliers are without guard Kyrie Irving, who has been out with a strained bicep since March 16. Guard Jarrett Jack served admirably, as he has for the past two weeks, with nine points and seven assists, but a Cavaliers offense that had been averaging 104 points per game during a three-game winning streak entering Friday was stifled all evening.
“At this point, I feel bad for the guys in the locker room because of the outcome of the game,” Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown said. “I’ve come to the conclusion of expecting more from us and that’s why it’s disappointing to see us play the way that we did tonight.”
Forward Luol Deng led the Cavaliers with 20 points and seven assists.
“I thought we were playing the right way,” Brown said. “They just lined us up and drove the ball right at us.”
Leading by double digits for a majority of the game, the Nets, who had given up a 22-point lead to the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday, lost what was once a 15-point lead when the Cavaliers pulled within five toward the end of the third quarter.
There would not be a repeat of Tuesday night for Brooklyn as the Nets outscored the Cavaliers 23-20 in the fourth quarter to secure the win.
The Nets have been a side to start hot and Friday night was no exception. Pierce set a blazing pace for Brooklyn, hitting his first four 3-point shots on his way to 17 points in the first quarter.
He and Williams combined to score the team’s first 22 points (Pierce 17, Williams 5).
“The ball is moving and it’s finding the open man,” Pierce said. “Once you knock the first couple down, you feel like you’re on fire. As a scorer, I’ve done that my whole life. All you need to do is see one go in.”
The Cavaliers climbed back, outscoring the Nets 22-12 to tie the score as Pierce looked to have re-tweaked his left shoulder, leaving the game midway through the first quarter. He returned five minutes into the second quarter.
A 12-0 run from the Nets to start the second quickly re-established a healthy lead as the bench picked up the scoring, building an 11-point halftime lead.
The Nets can enjoy its homecourt advantage for three of its next four games before a three-game road trip starting April 5.
NOTES: Cavaliers G Kyrie Irving did not play Friday night as he continues to nurse a strained left biceps. Irving injured the biceps on March 16. … The Nets entered Friday night having lost two consecutive games. It is the first time since Jan. 27-Feb. 1 that the Nets have lost two or more games in a row. … The Cavaliers were attempting to cancel out a recent four-game losing streak, having won their last three with victories over the New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors and Detroit Pistons. … The Cavaliers are the second-youngest team in the NBA with an average roster age of 24.5 years old. The Nets are the league’s second-oldest club with an average age of 29.1. … The Nets are 18-2 at home since Dec. 27, best in the NBA.
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