Harris, Nets Slide By Cavaliers 95-87
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CLEVELAND (AP) — Mo Williams stared blankly toward the far wall in Cleveland’s locker room, his eyes glazed and distant.
The Cavaliers’ starting point guard is hurt again.
Williams, who missed most of training camp and the season’s first three games with a right groin injury, suffered the same injury to his left side on Wednesday night in Cleveland’s 95-87 loss to the New Jersey Nets.
Devin Harris scored a season-high 31 points, Kris Humphries added 13 and 18 rebounds in his first start and Anthony Morrow added 21 points — 15 on 3-pointers — as the Nets snapped a five-game losing streak and got their first road win.
For Williams, this was the worst possible scenario. After babying his previous groin injury so he would be able to come back at full strength and help the Cavs, he went out with 3:39 left in the third quarter with what the team called a left adductor strain.
“These injuries are tricky,” a dejected Williams said. “We’ll attack this right away and we’ll do whatever it takes to get back on the court.”
Based on the recovery time of his most recent injury, Williams could be out for an extended period.
“I’m thinking a lot of things right now,” Williams said. “It’s emotional for me. It’s tough.”
The Nets bounced back after losing to the Cavs on Tuesday at home and ended a nine-game losing streak to Cleveland. New Jersey won despite not having starting forward Troy Murphy, who was out with a foot injury, and shooting just 19 of 35 from the free-throw line.
“Tonight felt like Game 7 of a series,” said Humphries, who didn’t know he would start for Murphy until just before tip-off. “We needed a win. We just lost to this team.”
J.J. Hickson scored 15 to lead Cleveland, which led by 11 in the third but went cold down the stretch and had its winning streak stopped at three — all road games.
Murphy was inactive after getting hurt in Tuesday night’s loss. New Jersey was also without swingman Terrence Williams, who missed his second straight game with a strained abdominal muscle.
Humphries made up for Murphy’s loss and was a force inside. He not only made up for his teammate’s absence but picked up the slack for center Brook Lopez, who played just 19 minutes — 16 below his average — and received several icy stares from coach Avery Johnson throughout the game.
Hickson’s two-handed, get-out-of-my-way dunk with 4:53 put the Cavs up 81-80 and forced Johnson to call a timeout.
The Nets responded with an 8-0 run triggered by a 3-pointer from Jordan Farmar and capped by a jumper from Morrow that put New Jersey up 88-81.
Antawn Jamison’s basket made it 88-85, but Harris blasted down the right side for a layup and the Nets held on despite missing six of 10 free throws over the final 33 seconds.
“We had to grind this one out,” said Harris, who added nine assists. “It wasn’t perfect, but we did what it took. We had some guys a little banged, but guys came in and filled the void.”
Jamison and Ramon Sessions had 14 points apiece for the Cavs, who were outscored 28-18 in the fourth.
Down 59-48 midway throughout the third, the Nets got hot from the outside.
Morrow knocked down three 3-pointers and Farmar hit another 3 as New Jersey, which trailed by 10 at halftime, pulled within two points at 69-67 entering the fourth. The Nets finally passed the Cavs when Humphries drained a 15-foot jumper with 6:39 to go.
Cleveland center Anderson Varejao went to the locker room with bruised ribs with 3:31 left in the first quarter. He returned and finished with eight points and five rebounds in 35 minutes.
Early on, Johnson wasn’t willing to be patient with his struggling squad. Less than two minutes in he yanked Lopez, who spent the rest of the quarter seated on the bench thinking about what he did wrong.
However, after the game, Johnson, trying to turn around a team that won just 12 games last season, praised his team for persevering.
“It was a great effort by our guys,” Johnson said. “We wanted it more than they did. It was a good win for us.”
Notes: When he played for the Lakers, Cavs coach Byron Scott said Los Angeles once built a 29-0 lead in a game. But he could not recall ever seeing a team make 20 straight shots as the Indiana Pacers did on Tuesday night. Indiana’s only miss in the third quarter came when Josh McRoberts misfired on a jumper with 1.9 seconds to go. “He probably got cut today,” Scott joked. … The Nets are playing it safe with Williams, who should be back on Saturday at home against Orlando.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)