It was the first postseason (not playoff) game for the Cleveland Cavaliers without LeBron James in nearly a quarter century and it did not necessarily go well. The Brooklyn Nets were in control from the start as they never trailed, at one point leading the Cavs by 22 points. Cleveland was able to make things interesting late, cutting the Brooklyn lead to just six with over five minutes to play, but it was ultimately the veteran experience of the Nets that prevailed.
Darius Garland lead the Cavaliers in scoring with 34 points.. Putting the team on his back in an attempt to keep this game competitive, Garland was 13-24 from the field while making three of six shots from deep and five of six from the free throw line. Evan Mobley also made a large contribution for the Cavs, finishing with 19 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and two blocks. Kevin Love did Kevin Love things off the bench, scoring with 14 points and 13 rebounds in 29 minutes.
Not everyone who played or the Cavaliers was a positive as Caris LeVert, Lauri Markkanen, and Isaac Okoro all struggled. LeVert was 4-12 with 12 points, Markkananen went 5-14 for 12 points, and Okoro went scoreless as he was 0-3 from the field.
There was one notable Cavaliers player who was absent, Jarrett Allen. Allen is still rehabbing his fractured left finger which kept him out of the lineup Tuesday. While his presence may not have resulted in a win, it would have at least made the game more competitive.
With the win, Brooklyn has secured the seven seed while Cleveland awaits to find out their opponent of the next play-in game to see if they can advance to the playoffs or if they are headed home for good. Cleveland will play the winner of Charlotte and Atlanta Friday in an attempt to continue their season.