Cavaliers Stage Second Half Comeback, Rip Nets 98-82

(AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

The Cleveland Cavaliers started the New Year out with a bang on Sunday as they came back from a deficit at the half and proceeded to dominate the last 24 minutes of play and defeated the New Jersey Nets at the Quicken Loans Arena 99-82. The victory brought the Cavaliers back to the .500 mark as they now have a record of 2-2. Veteran forward Antawn Jamison paved the way for the squad with 23 points while Daniel Gibson added 19 points coming off the bench. Deron Williams led six Nets players in double-figures; yet the team only shot an anemic 38% (27-71) from the floor for the game. New Jersey played well in the first half, however their performance on both ends of the court in the second half cost them this contest.

Both teams came out of the gate looking strong and battled each other until the end of the first period. Williams drove the lane putting the ball through the cylinder with one second left and the Nets held a 27-24 edge at the buzzer. The two teams were tied at 43-43 with 1:37 remaining in the second but the momentum would swing to the Nets as they concluded the quarter by scoring the last six points of the period. As the game reached the half New Jersey walked into the locker room ahead 49-43.

Cleveland returned to the hardwood in the third and slowly and methodically started to chip away at their deficit. They would grab the upper hand with 2:52 left as Jamison hit a nine foot shot putting his team on top 62-61. Cavaliers rookie forward Tristan Thompson drove the lane putting the rock through the hole just before time expired and his team led 73-67 at the end of the quarter. The Nets would get within two points several times early in the fourth; however they could never bridge the gap and the home team would soon run away and win the game with ease.

Jamison knocked down 23 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists and 2 blocks while Gibson had 19 points, 1 assist, 1 block, 1 rebound and 1 steal. Rookie point guard Kyrie Irving had another nice game as he scored 13 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks while Alonzo Gee came off the bench and added 11 points, 3 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals.

Williams scored 15 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals while Anthony Morrow came off the pine with 15 points, 3 assists, 3 rebounds and 1 steal. Sundiata Gaines and Kris Humphries each added 11 points while Mehmet Okur and Damion James both had 10 points in the loss. Cleveland with a 2-2 mark will host the Charlotte Bobcats on Tuesday while New Jersey hopes to improve on their 1-4 record on Tuesday as they welcome the Indiana Pacers to their home.

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