LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Collin Sexton carried the Cleveland Cavaliers to their second straight NBA win over Brooklyn on Friday (Jan 22), scoring 25 points and dishing out nine assists in a 125-113 win, just two nights after posting a career high of 42 points against the same Nets.
He once again outplayed Nets big guns James Harden and Kyrie Irving, just as he did in the Cavs' thrilling 147-135 double overtime victory on Wednesday.
Cleveland dominated the paint and seized control in the third quarter by exploiting the Nets' porous defence to record their third straight National Basketball Association (NBA) victory. Sexton scored eight points in the third quarter, when Cleveland outscored the Nets 37-24 and forced eight turnovers.
Andre Drummond posted his 13th double-double with 19 points and 16 rebounds, and Larry Nance Jr added 15.
Former Net Taurean Prince tallied 14 for the Cavaliers, who outrebounded the Nets 50-29 at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse arena in Cleveland.
"When we're a whole, healthy team, we're very tough to beat," Drummond said.
Irving scored 38 points in his second game after a two-week absence, Harden scored 19 points and had 11 assists.
Brooklyn could have used Kevin Durant, who did not play because the team wanted to give him a rest.
The Nets shot 48 per cent from the field and made just 14 of 43 three-point attempts.
"I don't want to over-react, but we need the guys to clean things up because we underperformed in two games," Nets coach Steve Nash said. "People are excited to play against our team and will bring it every night. I feel like we need a little more and we have to take more pride in what we're doing."
Harden said: "Our problem isn't offence. We're not worried at all about offence. It's our defence."
Cleveland will try to snap an eight-game losing streak to Boston when they face the Celtics in their next game on Sunday.
Seth Curry returns for Sixers' win
Elsewhere, Joel Embiid scored 38 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Celtics 122-110.
The Sixers beat the Celtics for the second straight game thanks to Tobias Harris, who scored 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting.
Seth Curry returned from missing seven games due to coronavirus protocols and scored 15 points for the 76ers, who improved to 9-1 at home. Ben Simmons also had 15 points and added 11 assists.
Jaylen Brown led the Celtics, matching his career high of 42 points to go along with nine rebounds, while Marcus Smart added 20 points and seven assists.
The Celtics went on a 8-0 run halfway through the fourth quarter. Brown nailed his fifth three pointer with just under five minutes remaining to close the gap to 103-100.
Simmons answered with a three-point play then a steal and dunk. Harris added a three pointer for a 111-100 lead. Simmons made another key late basket and the lead ballooned to 13 points with 3:15 left.
In Tampa, Norman Powell scored 14 of his game-high 23 points in the first quarter and the Toronto Raptors beat the Miami Heat 101-81.
Powell, who was starting in place of injured Kyle Lowry, shot 10 of 18 from the field.