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NBA

Nets defeat Cavaliers in play-in tournament, proceed to playoffs

Brooklyn advanced to the playoffs after beating Cleveland on Tuesday night. Nets’ Kyrie Irving and Cavaliers’ Darius Garland both scored 34 points in the matchup

reem Abdalazem
Update:
Brooklyn advanced to the playoffs after beating Cleveland on Tuesday night. Nets’ Kyrie Irving and Cavaliers’ Darius Garland both scored 34 points.
Sarah StierAFP

On Tuesday, the Brooklyn Nets left the Barclays Center with a 115-108 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, clinching a playoff spot.

Brooklyn’s All-Star guard Kyrie Irving totalled a team-high 34 points, while making his first 12 shots and Kevin Durant chipped in 25 points with 11 assists.

“We were just very patient, allowing the game to come to us,” Irving told reporters.

The victory earned the Nets the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference, to meet the No. 2 Boston Celtics in a best-of-seven first-round series. The Cavaliers, on the other hand, must defeat the winner of the Hawks-Hornets matchup in order to proceed to the first-round.

“It’s going to take a lot of effort for 48 minutes each game,” Durant said. “We will see what happens.”

Related: Brooklyn Nets to play Boston Celtics in first playoff round: what to know

The Charlotte Hornets face the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday in the second Eastern Conference play-in game at 7 p.m. ET at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. The winner of that game will go to Cleveland to face the Cavaliers for the No. 8 seed and a first-round game with the No. 1 Miami Heat.

Brooklyn heads to Boston to face the Celtics in the initial Game of their first-round Easter Conference series on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Kyrie Irving: “It’s another challenge, another test”

“We definitely wanted to get this one to start us off on this journey in the playoffs,” said Irving. “We are grateful to play against one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. It’s another challenge, another test.”

The Nets surpassed the Cavaliers 53.6% to 44.6% from the floor as they led by 22 points. Cleveland then outscored Brooklyn in the second quarter, only to trail 57-43 at halftime.

Cavaliers guard Darius Garland tried to close the gap several times, even pouring in 16 points in the final 12 minutes, but between Irving’s 34 points, Durant’s 25, and Andre Drummond’s driving layup, Cleveland could not stop Brooklyn.

Garland, however, did match Irving’s 34 points in the loss.

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