Cavs cap comeback with game-winning 3

HERO Isaac Okoro (35) of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts with teammates after hitting the game-winning triple against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on Thursday, March 23, 2023, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Cavs won 116-114. PHOTO BY SARAH STIER/AFP

LOS ANGELES: Isaac Okoro drained a last-second three-pointer as the Cleveland Cavaliers completed a late rally to down the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday (Friday in Manila).

Okoro nailed a corner three with 0.7 seconds left on the clock to fire Cleveland to a 116-114 victory at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

It capped a furious comeback by Cleveland, who had trailed by eight points with just over two minutes to play in the fourth quarter.

The victory edged Cleveland closer towards clinching their playoff place.

The Cavs are now fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 47-28 record.

“It means a lot man — we battled back in that game, we were down but we kept fighting,” Okoro said afterwards.

“We could have played a lot better — but a W's a W in our book so it doesn't matter.”

Brooklyn (39-34) however have dropped out of the automatic playoff places after five straight defeats and are now staring at a potential spot in the play-in tournament.

Brooklyn faces a daunting trip to playoff-chasing Miami this weekend.

“I felt like we deserved to win that game,” Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said afterward.

“We did a lot of good things. Now we have to let that game go and try and win a ball game in Miami.

“A lot of times in defeat you learn who the hell you are — so this is an opportunity for us to learn who we are.”

Brooklyn looked poised to end that losing streak after moving 10 points clear midway through the fourth.

But Evan Mobley and Donovan Mitchell combined for 13 fourth quarter points to spark the Cavaliers fightback.

Mitchell finished with 31 points to lead the Cavs scoring, while Mobley weighed in with 26 points, 16 rebounds and three assists.

Four other Cleveland players finished in double figures.

Mikal Bridges led Brooklyn scoring with 32 points while Spencer Dinwiddie added 25 with 12 assists and four rebounds.

In other games in the NBA, the fifth-placed New York Knicks slid to their third straight loss in a 111-106 reverse to the Orlando Magic in Florida.

Orlando, who are 13th in the Eastern Conference with a 31-43 record, kept their faint postseason hopes alive after 21 points from rookie star Paolo Banchero.

Immanuel Quickley and Quentin Grimes led the Knicks scorers with 25 points apiece, with Julius Randle adding 23.

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said his team's erratic display, which saw them twice trail by 19 points in the second and third quarters, had ultimately proved to be his team's undoing.

“We exerted so much energy trying to fight out of that hole that we fell short in the end,” Thibodeau said.

“Right now our team is just out of sorts. You have to pull together when you go through rough times — you get into things together, you get out of things together.

“We have to do everything a lot better.”

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