Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and the Nets defeat the Cavs in the 2022 NBA playoff playoff | Launderer’s report

Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets secured the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference with a 115-108 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA play-in tournament at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

A first-round playoff series with the Boston Celtics now awaits the Nets.

Brooklyn set a blistering pace with 40 points in the first quarter, at which point it looked like things were going to get out of hand quickly. Instead, the Cavaliers continued to trail and trailed by as few as six points in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter.

Kevin Durant hit a pair of pull-up jumpers to put the Nets up 10, 103-93, with 3:38 on the clock. Cleveland stayed within range but didn’t get close enough to threaten Brooklyn’s lead.

Notable performers

Kyrie Irving, PG, Nets: 34 points, 3 rebounds, 12 assists

Kevin Durant, PF, Nets: 25 points, 5 rebounds, 11 assists, 2 steals, 3 blocks

Darius Garland, PG, Cavaliers: 34 points, 5 assists, 2 steals

Evan Mobley, C, Cavaliers: 19 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks

Nets Stars Too Much for Undermanned Cavs

Through all the dysfunction the Nets have had this year, a glimmer of hope remained in Brooklyn that things would start to click in the playoffs. When you have Durant and Kyrie Irving both healthy and available, you love your chances in a best-of-seven playoff.

Tuesday showed exactly why as the pair torched Cleveland’s defense. Sometimes basketball is all about having the best two players on the court.

Mike Vorkunov @mikevorkunov

Kyrie + KD in the first half: a 13-of-14 combined shot from the floor and 4-of-4 from the line. KD has 12 and 7 assists. Kyrie has 20 points and four assists. The Nets are up 14 at halftime because their stars almost literally can’t miss.

Irving, in particular, seemed to enjoy the misery hanging over his former team. Even when the Cavaliers defended him well, he couldn’t miss. There aren’t many stars more electric than the 30-year-old guard when he’s at his best.

Irving made his first 12 shots and didn’t see an attempt bounce off the rim until the fourth quarter.

This game, however, sent up some red flags. Cleveland beat Brooklyn in the last three quarters, and the Nets struggled in the brief moments when head coach Steve Nash tried to get Durant and Irving to breathe.

Whenever the Cavs got into a race to cut the deficit, there still wasn’t much drama. Durant or Irving would hit a big bucket or find an open teammate at a critical moment.

Things could get a little trickier if the Nets ease off against a tougher opponent.

Allen’s absence proves costly

Which could have been for Cleveland.

Even though the team remained healthy, the Cavs had to hit a wall at some point. Sooner or later, the most seasoned contenders in the conference would push them up the rankings.

But Evan Mobley’s ankle injury and Jarrett Allen’s fractured finger rocked JB Bickerstaff’s side. Allen remains out of action and the impact of his absence has been laid bare once again.

This game provided some bright spots for Cleveland. If moral victories are one thing, they certainly apply when a young team doesn’t throw in the towel in its first post-season test. The extent to which the supporting cast struggled was indicative of how the playoffs — which is effectively a playoff game in this case — are a different beast.

The way Darius Garland has put the offense on his back has reinforced how he can be a cornerstone of the franchise’s future.

Chris Fedor @Chris Fedor

#cavs Darius Garland is in absolute takeover mode. No one else really touches the ball in attack – and no one else should at the moment. It burns all defenders in its path.

If they suffer another loss, not making the playoffs will undoubtedly be a disappointment compared to what the Cavs did in the regular season. But with 44 victories, this year has already been a success.

And after?

Brooklyn and Boston will kick off their series on Sunday. The Cavs will now play either the Charlotte Hornets or the Atlanta Hawks at home on Friday to determine the No. 8 seed.

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