Entering Thursday night time’s matchup in opposition to the Brooklyn Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers ahead Isaac Okoro hadn’t made a 3-pointer in somewhat over every week, eight days to be actual. He’s capturing a career-high 35.3% from downtown on the yr, however the final couple video games had been unkind to his capturing proportion. Well, that mini capturing hunch ended Thursday night time when Okoro not solely went 3 of 4 from downtown, however knocked down the game-winning triple to stamp the Cavs’ 116-114 comeback win on the street.
The shot was epic, however the circumstances made it much more of a thriller. After being down by 9 factors with somewhat below 5 minutes left, the Cavaliers fought tooth and nail to chop down on Brooklyn’s lead. Clutch pictures by Donovan Mitchell and wonderful protection on the opposite finish had Cleveland to inside two factors with 24 seconds left. A Caris LeVert steal on the next possession led to Mitchell being fouled with the prospect to tie the sport with 11.6 seconds left. Mitchell transformed on the primary free throw, then this occurred:
The wildest half about Okoro’s game-winner is he wasn’t even within the recreation till checking in between Mitchell’s free throws. Okoro checked out of the sport with 6:44 left within the fourth quarter, and Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff doubtless put him again in as a defensive presence after Mitchell made each free throws. That, in fact, did not occur. After just a few chaotic seconds, and a very good cross-court cross from LeVert, the ball landed in Okoro’s fingers for him to knock down the primary game-winning shot try of his profession.
After the sport, Bickerstaff praised the third-year ahead in what was the largest shot of his skilled profession.
“Isaac would not play the sport with any feelings or fears,” Bickerstaff stated. “There’s no reservations in his recreation. He works his tail off on that shot, and he doesn’t have concern of taking pictures within the second. But I believe what’s most essential is Caris [LeVert] noticed that he was open, trusted him and received him the ball, and that speaks to this workforce.”
Bickerstaff’s proper about Okoro working “his tail off” to turn out to be a greater 3-point shooter. This is a man who getting into the league shot simply 28.6% from past the arc in his lone season at Auburn. In Okoro’s rookie yr, he shot 214 3s, nonetheless essentially the most in his profession, whereas solely making them at a 29% clip. But final yr that proportion ballooned to 35%, the identical mark he is making them this season. It’s a stark enchancment and a testomony to the work that Okoro’s put in to having the ability to knock down that shot effectively.
With Okoro’s late-game heroics lifting the Cavaliers to a win, Cleveland maintains a fair firmer grip on the No. 4 spot within the East. The Cavs are 5 video games forward of the No. 5 New York Knicks who fell to the Orlando Magic Thursday night time, and sit 3.5 video games again of the No. 3 Philadelphia 76ers. Although nothing has been solidified by way of playoff positioning, with seven video games remaining on the schedule for the Cavaliers, it seems as if they have that No. 4 spot — and home-court benefit for the primary spherical of the playoffs — all locked up.
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