Cavs hope to put 'embarrassing' loss behind them against Brooklyn

(SportsNetwork.com) - Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt was embarrassed with the previous loss and hopes his team gets the message Friday night versus the Brooklyn Nets at Quicken Loans Arena.

The much-improved Atlanta Hawks left the Forest City with a 127-98 beatdown of the Cavaliers on Wednesday and shot a sizzling 64.5 percent from the floor. Shelvin Mack came off the Atlanta bench to score 24 points and sank all six of his 3-pointers. Atlanta buried 16-of-28 3-pointers on the night.

"That was embarrassing, how we played," Blatt said. "I apologize to all the good fans who came out here. Really, just a poor, poor performance."

LeBron James and Dion Waiters scored 21 points apiece and Kevin Love posted his 14th double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. The Cavs shot 45.1 percent and received nine points and six assists from Kyrie Irving.

James, who didn't play in the fourth quarter, was asked if he was embarrassed with the loss and he responded, "nah, I'm embarrassed losing the Finals."

James is four points shy of passing Charles Barkley (23,757) for 23rd on the NBA's all-time scoring list. He is averaging 31.0 ppg in his last four games and is second in the NBA with 25.4 ppg.

Cleveland has lost three of four games following an eight-game winning streak and will also welcome Memphis and Minnesota to the Q on this five-game homestand. The Cavs are 8-5 at home this season and 9-1 in the last 10 games against teams from the East.

The Cavs, who have won six of the past seven at home, are 12-4 against conference foes.

Brooklyn has lost two in a row and five of its last seven games, and dropped a 105-89 decision at Toronto on Wednesday.

Mason Plumlee scored a career-high 23 points, Joe Johnson had 17 and Mirza Teletovic added 14 for Brooklyn, which shot 43.2 percent and struggled from beyond the arc, making only 9-of-27 shots downtown.

"Having that time on the court has given my teammates confidence in me," Plumlee said after the first meeting between the Atlantic Division foes since Brooklyn's seven-game win in the first round of the playoffs. "It's a great opportunity for me."

Deron Williams finished with 11 points and seven assists, and is averaging that many assists in the past nine games. Nets veteran big man Kevin Garnett did not play against the division-leading Raptors and is day-to-day.

The Nets were coming off a close 95-91 loss to Miami on Tuesday in the first of a back-to-back, and hope the recent rest will pay off Friday. They are 5-7 on the road this season.

Brooklyn lost the first of four meetings with Cleveland, 110-88, at Barclays Center on Dec. 8, as Garnett and Williams scored 14 and 13 points, respectively. Waiters led all scorers in that one with 26 points, Love chipped in 19 and 14 rebounds and James added 18 points and seven assists.

The Cavs broke a 61-61 tie by closing out the third quarter on a 24-6 run and have won two in a row against the Nets.