The Nets jumped out to a strong start in the first quarter and from there both teams played back and forth but the Cavs could never put together a strong run challenge for the win until it was too late. Irving sparked a last-ditch rally with a three pointer to start a 7-1 run to cut the lead to four points with 16 seconds left in the game.
Anthony Morrow then made two free throws and another Irving three-pointer at the buzzer helped make the final score appear closer than the game was before the wild finish.
Williams finished with 27 points and 10 assists, making five of seven three-pointers which help make up for his six turnovers. Morrow added 22 points for New Jersey while Kris Humphries tacked on 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Irving ended up with a strong showing against Williams, scoring 32 points with six rebounds and two assists. Antawn Jamison finished with 20 points and six rebounds.
Cleveland moves on from this loss to take on the Boston Celtics in a home-and-home series starting on Sunday at Boston.
Anthony Marrow jump-started the Nets offense with a three-pointer on the team's first possession and the hot shooting became contagious New Jersey made seven of their first ten shots on their way to a 30-point first quarter. The Cavaliers rallied from the ten-point deficit after the first quarter to go on a 11-3 run to start the second, as things slowed down for both teams.
The Nets scored just four points in the first seven minutes of the second quarter but Cleveland couldn't take full advantage. After the Cavs cut the lead to three, New Jersey closed the half strong to maintain a ten-point lead at the break.
Antawn Jamison leads Cleveland with 13 points as the Cavs shot just 37.5% (15-40) from the floor. New Jersey survived 11 turnovers by knocking down 46% of their shots, led by Deron Williams with 13 points and 5 assists. Anthony Morrow added 11 points and Kris Humphries pitched in 10 points and 6 rebounds for the Nets.
Most assumed he would be out of Friday's game against the Nets, but being bumped up to probable certainly makes it seem likely he plays. Thompson injured his left ankle with a sprain that was suffered with around two minutes left in Saturday's 121-94 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. He was playing well in that game, shooting six-of-seven from the field and four-of-five from the line for 16 points, with five rebounds on top of that.
As Martin Rickman noted following the injury, the Cavaliers don't have much depth and it's hard to have much faith in just about any of the guys that have to replace Thompson if he can't go again.