The Cleveland Cavaliers make their initial trip to Brooklyn on Tuesday night as they try to snap a three-game losing streak in a matchup with the Nets.
The Cavs fell for the fifth time in six games on Sunday after losing steam late in a 106-91 setback to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Cleveland was outscored 27-18 in the fourth quarter and saw the Oklahoma City duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combine for 53 points in the contest.
Kyrie Irving registered 20 points and five assists for the Cavaliers, who also got 18 points from Alonzo Gee, but fell to 1-4 on a six-game road trip. Irving is averaging 23.2 points per game on the trek, but the defense hasn't been there for Cleveland even though the club is forcing 18.1 turnovers a game.
"I thought we were okay," Cleveland head coach Byron Scott said following the loss. "Any time you allow a team to shoot 55 percent, you're not going to win a whole lot of games. We have to continue to work on that transition defense, and we have to continue to work on and get better at that aspect of the game, too ... we need someone else to just really step up."
Brook Lopez stepped up with a game-high 20 points to lead the Nets to an 82-74 win over the visiting Orlando Magic on Sunday and finish off a home-and-home sweep. Brooklyn had picked up a convincing 107-68 victory in Orlando on Friday, but saw the Magic climb to within five over the game's final minutes after limiting them to under 20 points over the previous seven quarters of the home-and-home.
"We'll definitely take the win. We're happy about that, but we're not happy about the way we finished the game," said Deron Williams, who added 17 points, seven assists and seven rebounds to the victory, Brooklyn's third in five games.
Kris Humphries added a double-double with 14 points and 21 rebounds to help cover for the absence of both forward Gerald Wallace and guard MarShon Brooks due to sprained left ankles.
Brooks has missed the last two games is out for tonight, while Wallace is doubtful to suit up for the first time in five contests.
Though the Nets have won five of their last seven against the Cavaliers, Cleveland has taken six of its last eight as the visitor in the series. Five of the past six meetings have been decided by five points or fewer, including a pair of overtime games.
Irving played in three of the four encounters a season ago and averaged 23.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game.