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Cleveland Cavaliers

Final thoughts: Nets 99, Cavs 96

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 28, 2012

Daniel Gibson didn't agree with me on this, but it sure seems like the Cavs have fallen into a habit lately of playing to the level of their opponent.

That certainly wasn't the case in humiliating losses to the Bulls and Hawks, but the Cavs played pretty well against the Heat and Knicks before dropping a clunker tonight against a struggling Nets team.

Coach Byron Scott was fairly agitated, too. He said he went easy on them at halftime, it hinted that his post game speech may have been louder and more colorful.

"We didn't come out with the right frame of mind for whatever reason. I don't know if guys think that we've arrived or if they can't stand prosperity," Scott said. "Whatever the case may be, they better understand that every night we better come out ready to play because every team in this league can beat us if we don't."

Scott is absolutely right about that. The Cavs are in that strange place where it wouldn't be all that surprising to see them beat any team in the league, nor would it be shocking to see them lose to anyone below them in the standings.

There were plenty of guys in the locker room disgusted with the way they played to it, and rightfully so. I would expect a far better effort Sunday night in Boston.

Key stat
Kyrie Irving scored 17 points in the game's final three minutes and scored a career high 32 points.

Turning point
The Nets scored 11 consecutive points late in the second quarter to take a 10 point lead into the half. The Cavs couldn't get the deficit below 10 until the final three minutes of the game.

Quotable
"If we don't come out and play aggressively with that type of energy from start to finish, we're going to keep having these up and down games." -- Byron Scott, on the Cavs' great finish after a lousy start to the game.

Up next
The Cavs play at Boston Sunday at 6 p.m.

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