CLEVELAND — Jordan Clarkson became the first Cavaliers player to score 30 points in a game this season, then became the first to record 40.
Marquese Chriss made a name for himself, then fouled out along with Larry Nance Jr., David Nwaba and Ante Zizic.
And the Cavs lost a 148-139 triple-overtime thriller to the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night at The Quicken Loans Arena.
“I’m not upset,” Cleveland coach Larry Drew said after the franchise’s first triple-overtime game in 39 years. “I can’t be upset at my guys. I thought we really put up a great effort from start to finish.”
Clarkson finished with a career-high 42 points on 16-for-34 shooting, eight rebounds and five assists in 48 minutes for the Cavs (12-46), who also got a season-high 23 points and seven boards from the 21-year-old Chriss and 24 points, six rebounds and five assists from 20-year-old rookie point guard Collin Sexton.
“Marquese is a talent,” Drew said of Chriss, who went 9-for-16 from the field while making a handful of big plays in the overtimes, including a monster contested dunk and back-to-back 3-pointers.
It wasn’t enough, as the Nets (30-29) got 36 points, seven boards and eight assists from point guard D’Angelo Russell, who had two points on 1-for-11 shooting late in the third period.
Russell, who finished 13-for-30 from the field and 5-for-15 on 3-pointers, scored 14 points on 6-for-6 shooting while totally dominating the third OT — he had Brooklyn’s first 11 points — and was backed by former Cavs swingman Joe Harris with 25 points.
“It was definitely tough,” said Clarkson, who reached 30 points in the second OT and 40 in the third. “You’ve got to lose yourself in the game and keep playing and try to get a win.
“I’m in shape to go all day. It is what it is.”
Both teams had chances to win in regulation. With the game tied at 109, Matthew Dellavedova (two points, 13 assists in 40 minutes) missed a floater and Nance (eight points, 14 rebounds) missed a putback, but the Cavs retained possession and called time with 34.9 seconds left.
When play resumed, Clarkson badly missed a midrange jumper while attempting to draw a foul, but Caris LeVert missed a 3-pointer and DeMarre Carroll missed a rushed midrange jumper at the buzzer.
“We made a few blunders down the stretch, particularly at the end of regulation,” Drew said.
The first overtime began with 10 scoreless possessions, with Brooklyn eventually going up 118-116 on a pair of Russell free throws with 16 seconds remaining. Chriss missed twice on Cleveland’s ensuing possession, but Sexton got the rebound, dribbled outside, then drove and scored to tie the game with 2.8 ticks on the clock.
Following a timeout, the Nets overthrew an inbounds pass and managed only a rushed, errant jumper by center Jarrett Allen, sending the game into a second OT.
Chriss hit back-to-back 3-pointers early in the second OT and the Cavs appeared to be in great shape when Dellavedova deflected an Allen drive and Clarkson hit two free throws to put Cleveland up 128-125 with 3.8 seconds remaining, but the Nets had other ideas.
After a timeout, Russell caught a half-court inbounds pass inside the 3-point line, but patiently found an open Carroll above the arc, with Carroll burying the shot to force a third OT.
“It took a little bit out of us,” Drew said. “The body language changed.”
The Cavs’ plan was to switch everything on that possession, but Dellavedova was belly-to-belly with Harris and didn’t. When Clarkson momentarily went toward Harris, it left Carroll open.
“I was very happy with how we played it,” said Drew, who blamed neither player. “It was just one of those situations.”
Russell then took over in the third and final OT.
“Guys were pulling me aside and telling me what was out there and what I could get,” the former Ohio State point guard said.
The Cavs led 58-55 at intermission, but their lead would have been greater had they not been outscored 8-0 to end the first period and 13-4 to close the second.
Clarkson had 14 points and Dellavedova had six assists in 9:25 to lead Cleveland, while Harris had 14 points for the Nets on 5-for-5 shooting, including four 3-pointers.
Cleveland led 54-42 with 3 1/2 minutes left in the second period, but Brooklyn, which had 12 points in the quarter to that point, scored 13 over the final 3:13.
The trend continued in the third period, as the Cavs led 77-67 but were outscored 17-7 to end the quarter, leaving the teams tied entering the final 12 minutes of regulation.
“I definitely ran out of bodies,” said Drew, who had four guards on the floor at the end of the game. “I had no intention of having four smalls out there against that team.”
- In their final game before the All-Star break, the Cavs elected to sit power forward Kevin Love for precautionary reasons, but forward Cedi Osman (13 points, five rebounds, three assists) returned after missing four games with a sprained ankle.
- Cleveland went with a starting lineup of Sexton, Brandon Knight, Zizic, Nwaba and Osman, with Nance coming off the bench despite having recorded six straight double-doubles.
- Drew expects Tristan Thompson to return from a foot injury shortly after the All-Star break.
Nets 148, Cavaliers 139 (3 OT)
BROOKLYN (148): LeVert 5-14 0-0 12, Hollis-Jefferson 7-10 3-3 17, Allen 4-11 2-4 10, Russell 13-30 5-6 36, Harris 9-12 3-3 25, Carroll 5-13 5-5 18, Graham 0-0 0-0 0, Davis 2-5 2-4 6, Napier 4-11 0-0 10, Crabbe 3-7 6-9 14. Totals 52-113 26-34 148.
CLEVELAND (139): Osman 5-10 1-2 13, Nwaba 3-3 0-0 7, Zizic 2-5 2-2 6, Sexton 10-22 2-4 24, Knight 3-8 0-0 6, Adel 0-0 0-0 0, Chriss 9-16 2-3 23, Nance Jr. 3-12 0-0 8, Dellavedova 1-6 1-2 3, Stauskas 2-4 2-2 7, Clarkson 16-34 3-3 42. Totals 54-120 13-18 139.
Brooklyn 30 25 29 25 9 10 20 — 148
Cleveland 29 29 26 25 9 10 11 — 139
3-Point Goals—Brooklyn 18-45 (Russell 5-15, Harris 4-5, Carroll 3-5, LeVert 2-5, Napier 2-6, Crabbe 2-6, Allen 0-1, Hollis-Jefferson 0-2), Cleveland 18-42 (Clarkson 7-17, Chriss 3-6, Nance Jr. 2-3, Osman 2-4, Sexton 2-5, Nwaba 1-1, Stauskas 1-2, Knight 0-4). Fouled out—Zizic, Nwaba, Nance Jr., Chriss. Rebounds—Brooklyn 60 (Allen 12), Cleveland 57 (Nance Jr. 14). Assists—Brooklyn 31 (LeVert 9), Cleveland 35 (Dellavedova 13). Total fouls—Brooklyn 23, Cleveland 37. A—17,434 (20,562).