The 2013-2014 season ended the way it began for the Cleveland Cavaliers, with a win over the Brooklyn Nets at Quicken Loans Arena.
Although the Cavaliers failed to make the postseason for the fourth straight year, they did end the season on a good note, as they defeated the Nets, 114-85, Wednesday night.
"It was good to see our guys go out and put a stretch of minutes together that were productive on both ends of the floor," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. "We had a lot of guys that played well for us. You get excited when you see the 32 assists on 46 field goals made.
"We want to win every time we step on the floor, but for me, even if we would've just played the right way, I would've been satisfied with that. To win adds the icing on top of the cake. Our guys didn't just win. They tried to play the right way, which was good."
Cavaliers center Tyler Zeller scored a game-high 22 points on nine of 11 shooting in a reserve role, while guard Dion Waiters added 19, as Cleveland had seven players score in double figures in the win over a Nets squad that rested its starters in anticipation of the start of the NBA playoffs this weekend.
"I'm very proud of all our guys," Brown said. "I'm proud of the way they played on both ends of the floor to end on a high note, especially on a night like this, where it's fan appreciation night. These last couple of games, you look up in the stands and you understand our record, our building is full.
"You really appreciate the fans. The people here in Cleveland, they're like no other. I experienced it when I was here before, and it's the same thing now, even though we're not necessarily in the same position."
The Cavaliers led by as many as 12 points in the first quarter, as they twice reached that mark in the final minutes of the period.
Forward Anthony Bennett took a pass from reserve point guard Matthew Dellavedova and threw down a dunk during a fast break with 1:24 to play in the first quarter, and later, when Waiters caught a pass from point guard Jarrett Jack and buried a three-pointer from 26 feet away.
Of their 13 baskets in the first quarter, the Cavaliers assisted on nine and turned the ball over only four times.
The Nets outscored the Cavaliers, 28-18, in the second quarter as forwards Marcus Thornton and Andray Blatche combined to score 13 points on five of nine shooting, including Thornton's two three-pointers.
Coupled with the scoring prowess of Thornton and Blatche, the Nets chipped away at the Cavaliers' lead through good defense. The Nets held the Cavaliers to eight of 19 shooting and forced five turnovers during the second quarter.
Despite their offensive struggles, the Cavaliers narrowly missed taking a four-point lead into halftime, as forward Tristan Thompson looked to score a layup at the buzzer, but the official ruled, and the replay upheld the call on the court that the ball was still in Thompson's hands when time expired.
The Cavaliers responded to the missed opportunity by outpacing the Nets, 30-15, in the third quarter and 33-21 in the final stanza of the season.