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Sun, Jan 1, 2012 - 6:00 PM ET
Game Recap
 

Cavaliers 98, Nets 82

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CLEVELAND (AP)

Kyrie Irving grew up rooting for the New Jersey Nets. On Sunday night, he helped the Cleveland Cavaliers send his former favorite team to a loss.

Irving scored 13 points and started Cleveland's barrage of 16 3-pointers, leading the Cavaliers to a 93-82 win over the Nets.

''I even was up in the cheap seats for the (2003) NBA Finals with my dad and sister,'' he said. ''I'm in Cleveland now, so me being a Nets fan is kind of out the window. It's a great win for our team.''

Antawn Jamison scored 23 points and Cleveland made 16 of 26 shots from 3-point range, falling one short of the team record for 3s in a game. The Cavaliers made 17 3-pointers in the 2008 and '09 seasons.

Irving, the No. 1 pick in the draft, hit back-to-back 3-pointers early in the third period to start Cleveland's run that took control of the game. The Cavaliers pulled away in the fourth quarter and the team Irving used to root for is winless in four games since an opening night victory.

Deron Williams led New Jersey with 16 points. The Nets lost despite having all five starters score in double figures.

''It's another loss,'' said Williams, who was 6 for 16 from the field and had his third game this season with six turnovers. ''It's definitely frustrating. I'm not helping the team at all. Hopefully, I can turn it around and we can get some wins.''

Daniel Gibson's 3-pointer gave the Cavaliers a 90-78 lead with 4:59 remaining. Gibson finished with 19 points, hitting 5-of-7 3-pointers. The Cavaliers were 10 of 12 on 3-pointers in the second half.

''I'm still not convinced totally that we're a 3-point shooting team, but I think we have some guys that are capable of knocking down some 3s on a consistent basis when we do it in the flow of the game,'' said Cavaliers coach Byron Scott.

''They had some guys really struggling from the 3-point line coming into the game and they caught fire,'' New Jersey coach Avery Johnson said. ''We didn't do a good job running them off the line.''

The game featured a matchup between New Jersey guard MarShon Brooks and Irving, the league's top two rookie scorers. The advantage clearly went to Irving, who came into the game averaging 13.3 points. Brooks entered with a 15.3 average, but was scoreless in 12 minutes, missing all three of his shots.

''He just wasn't at his best tonight,'' Johnson said. ''Things defensively gave him a few problems, but he'll bounce back.''

The Cavaliers trailed 49-43 at halftime and Scott let his team know he wasn't happy with its effort.

''We had to do a better job defensively,'' he said. ''We had to be more aggressive and start to get after them. We had to come up with our own energy and some life out there.''

Gibson said: ''He told us straight up, either we're going to go out there and play or we're going to play to win the game. We came out with a changed attitude on the defensive end.''

The Nets have been struggling without center Brook Lopez, the team's leading scorer last season with 20.4 points per game. He's expected to miss a month with a stress fracture in his foot.

New Jersey shot 38 percent (27 of 71) from the field and hit 7-of-22 3-pointers. The Nets came into the game averaging 84 points and shooting 38.9 percent this season, including 29.9 percent from 3-point range.

Johnson has been tinkering with his lineup to find the proper fit. So far, it hasn't worked.

''You have to try to give it a chance,'' he said. ''We are continuing to evaluate our starting lineup.''

Alonzo Gee scored 11 points for Cleveland. Anthony Morrow came off the bench to score 15 points for the Nets.

NOTES: Nets F Kris Humphries was jeered by the crowd each time his name was announced. He was rated the least popular player in the league in a recent poll when his marriage to reality TV star Kim Kardashian ended after 72 days. Humphries set the Quicken Loans Arena record for rebounds in a game with 23 last season. He had 11 points and 11 rebounds Sunday. ... The Nets host Indiana on Monday. ... Both of Cleveland's wins this season have been by 16 points. The Cavaliers' biggest margin of victory last season was 12 points over Miami on March 29. ... Cavaliers C Anderson Varejao started despite injuring his back Friday against Indiana. He picked up two first-quarter fouls and didn't score until 2:25 remained in the third quarter. He finished the game with 11 rebounds. ... Cleveland hosts Charlotte on Tuesday.

Tagged: Cavaliers, Nets, Daniel Gibson, Brook Lopez

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