Cavaliers' painful season worsening
Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson didn't want Denver to have a chance to win with a last-second shot. Caris LeVert made sure the Nuggets didn't have an opportunity to win in overtime, either.
LeVert hit a floater in the lane with 0.3 seconds left, and the Brooklyn Nets scored the last six points of the game to beat the Nuggets.
"To have the ball and everybody get out of the way, that's a great feeling to have as a player," LeVert said. "That's what you dream about as a kid."
Atkinson put the ball in his hands and let the former Michigan star go to work.
The Nets overcame a big bounce-back night from Denver's Nikola Jokic to win their third straight. In an offensive funk for the last four games, Jokic had a season-high 37 points and tied his career best with 21 rebounds.
Willie Cauley-Stein had 25 points, Nemanja Bjelica scored eight in a row during a big run late in the third quarter and the Sacramento Kings beat the slumping Minnesota Timberwolves to spoil a huge game for Karl-Anthony Towns.
De'Aaron Fox added 16 points and 10 assists for Sacramento. Iman Shumpert scored 17 and Bjelica finished with 14 points and eight rebounds.
Coming off back-to-back losses to East powers Milwaukee and Toronto, the Kings led by 15 early in the fourth quarter but had to hold off a late surge by Minnesota to end a three-game losing streak to the Timberwolves.
Towns had a season-high 39 points and 19 rebounds on a night when Minnesota's inconsistent offense sputtered much of the way.
CLEVELAND — This painful season isn’t subsiding for the Cavaliers. If anything, it’s getting worse.
Cleveland, which already has the worst record in the NBA at 1-10, will be without yet another starter on Saturday night in Chicago after forward Cedi Osman was ruled out with back spasms.
He’s the latest Cavs player to join an injury list that includes All-Star forward Kevin Love, point guard George Hill and Sam Dekker, who began the season as a reserve but moved into the starting lineup because of all the injuries.
Throw in a coaching change, some off-court drama and this Cleveland season is sinking fast.
Osman was forced to leave Wednesday’s loss to Oklahoma City in the first quarter, and the Cavs were hoping rest would allow him to face the Bulls. However, coach Larry Drew said Osman will sit out against the Bulls “and we’ll see how he is after the game tomorrow.”
The rash of injuries has put even greater stress on Drew, who took over after Tyronn Lue was fired following a 0-6 start. Drew asked the team to restructure his contract for the remainder of the season, knowing this rebuilding season would be a challenge.
He never imagined this challenging.
“I don’t know about snake bit,” he said when asked about Cleveland’s run of bad medical luck. “Injuries are part of the NBA. When you lose players, other people have to step up. With our situation with K. Love out and then Dekker, now George Hill and Cedi, we’re looking at four starters that are out. That’s just what it is. But we’re not going to hang our heads.”
Drew’s had to adjust his starting lineup and rotation several times already this season, and now he’s going to have to do it again.
Drew is running out of options and he’s particularly limited up front with three forwards on the shelf. Drew has been resistant to use forwards Larry Nance Jr. and Tristan Thompson together, but may no longer have a choice.
Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward (20) goes to the basket as Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles (2) defends in the first half during an NBA basketball game in Salt Lake City. ASSOCIATED PRESS