LeBron James should be frustrated — the Cleveland Cavaliers allowed the Brooklyn Nets to score at a 107.9 points per 100 possessions pace on Thursday. That’s 6.7 more than their season average. The Nets were carving up the Cavaliers defense with penetration, Brook Lopez was a puzzle the Cavaliers couldn’t solve, and Brooklyn had more resolve down the stretch.
None of this changes the Cavaliers front-runner status in the East — they will be the top seed and prohibitive favorite. But this is not the kind of effort you want to see from a contender late in the season. And LeBron knows it.