Cavaliers vs Nets, fast points: Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant dominate as seventh seed Brooklyn grabs

The NBA is a survival and advance mode, and on Tuesday night, the Brooklyn Nets escaped the Cleveland Cavaliers, 115-108, to advance to the playoffs as the No. 7 East seed, which earns them the number one spot. Tour date with the Boston Celtics No. 2.

Here are five notes from Brooklyn’s win.

1. What can Brooklyn take away from this victory?

Well, it turns out they are a pretty formidable team when Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant combined for 59 points on 21 shots of 31, including 4 of 7 of 3. Irving made 12 of his first shots, which would be a postseason record if play counts as A real playoff, which is not the case. He ended the first half like this:

This is the kind of thing Irving has been dragging all night. He wasn’t stacking buckets in easy guise. These were pretty tough shots that few players in the world, like teammate Durant, made look easy.

Durant and Irving finished with 19 points on 10 of 10 in the first quarter to put Cleveland on the hole he couldn’t crawl from. Durant hit a lull during parts of the second and third quarters, but closed in hard with two clutch players as Cleveland cut the lead to five. Durant was also a formidable defensive player, blocking three shots and changing a handful of others.

2. What about when Durant/Irving sits?

This was a problem on Tuesday. When Durant took his first break from the game at the end of the first quarter, he scored two goals, yeah twopoints during the first four minutes, 23 seconds of the second quarter before Durant returned.

By then, even as Kerry continued in the game, Brooklyn’s momentum was gone, and next thing I knew the Nets only scored eight points during the first nine-plus minutes of the second quarter.

Irving and Durant both played 42 minutes on Tuesday, and the Nets needed both. Steve Nash has no choice: He’ll have to play Durant and Irving’s Minutes Monster for as long as that team is alive. And even then, what does he say that Brooklyn, with its two stars playing huge minutes and so close to perfect as a group, had to go to the wire to beat a Cleveland team that was playing without Garrett Allen?

3. Brooklyn’s defense was encouraging

It wasn’t just Durant defending the edge; Nick Claxton was there with five blocks. Everyone was obligated to take turns taking back and intercepting shots across the field; Even sealants were making the shots difficult to paint. The Cavs are a limited offensive team, and they had success in the transition and early attack, but when Brooklyn came back and set him up, he put in a relatively good defensive effort.

Of course, the Celtics pose much bigger problems with several top scorers and a host of strong creators, not to mention a transformed Boston defense that can throw multiple bodies at Durant and Irving.

Cleveland got a fair amount of empty ball passes and dunked in super passes in the half field as Brooklyn found themselves out of size in the paint. When Andre Drummond leaves or closes, Al Horford and Daniel Theis will look to take advantage of similar properties. For the Nets, this is the best time to catch the Celtics as Robert Williams likely won’t play in the series, or else Boston will be bigger.

4. Networks Need More Seth Curry

Curry was held scoreless in 34 minutes. He only took four shots. It deals with the ankle joint, but there is not much more to say. The nets clearly need more of it. Boston will anticipate Bruce Brown’s short laps and paint pieces, and Curry waiting in the corner for assisted minor 3s can be a formidable weapon for Brooklyn. Don’t bet Carrie will stay cool. He is one of the best shooters in the world.

5. Get cracks second cracks

Cleveland is not over yet. The game will play the winner of the Atlanta/Charlotte game on Wednesday, and whoever gets it, they get it on their home soil. Darius Garland and Evan Mobley were great against Brooklyn. Garland went for 34 points and Mobley was 9 to 13 from the field. Garland took it straight into Brooklyn, and the Cavs looked much better when they attacked early rather than late on the shot clock. When that happens, Garland is the only guy who can reliably create a decent look. It looks like the torch has burned out this Cavs season, which is starting very interesting and promising. The loss of Garrett Allen and Ricky Rubio was fatal. But it is clear that Atlanta and Charlotte can be beaten. We’ll see what kind of determination Cleveland can muster on Friday.