Darius Garland collected 22 points and 12 assists as the Cleveland Cavaliers held the Brooklyn Nets to 2 points over the final 3:43 and extended their winning streak to 5 games with a 114-107 victory on Monday afternoon.
Coming off an impressive 5-1 road trip, the Cavaliers avenged 2 November losses to Brooklyn by executing on both ends down the stretch.
It was 105-all when James Harden hit 3 free throws with 3:43 left but the Cavaliers never trailed after Lauri Markkanen hit an uncontested 3-pointer from the left wing with 3:21 remaining. Brooklyn missed 5 straight shots until Kyrie Irving's layup with 53.4 seconds left made it 110-107.
After Markkanen missed a 3-point try with 29.3 seconds left, Harden attempted to pass to Irving while under duress but Issac Okoro intercepted the ball and coasted in for the dunk with 15.8 seconds to go. Irving then missed a 3-pointer on the next possession and Kevin Love iced Cleveland's latest win at the line.
Okoro added 15 points while Markkanen, Love and former Net Jarrett Allen contributed 14 apiece as the Cavaliers shot 51.9 percent and hit 11 3-pointers. Rookie Evan Mobley chipped in 12 points after sitting out the first 2 meetings with Brooklyn due to an elbow injury.
Irving led all scorers with 27 points but was 2 of 7 in the 4th after scoring 14 in the 3rd quarter. The Nets had erased an 8-point deficit and took an 88-87 lead into the 4th following the former Cleveland guard's 3-pointer with 11.7 seconds left.
Harden added 22 and 10 assists as the Nets dropped to 15-5 on the road in their first game since announcing Kevin Durant was sidelined with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee. LaMarcus Aldridge chipped in 13, but the veteran forward also missed a pair of easy layups down the stretch.
Allen's 16-footer staked the Cavaliers to an 84-75 lead with 3:35 left in the 3rd and the Nets came right back. After Irving's 3-pointer, the Nets held a 97-93 lead on Aldridge's bucket and free throw with 8:16 remaining. But consecutive floaters by Garland forged a 97-97 tie a minute later and the Nets never led again.