With a 97-84 win over the Philadelphia 76ers, the Cleveland Cavaliers are now up to 11 wins in a row, the longest winning streak in the NBA. LeBron James didn’t have the best of games, but there was no need for that, as Kyrie Irving carried most of the offensive load while Kevin Love had another awful offensive performance.
Irving led the team with 24 points and 5 assists while James finished with 18 points on only 6-of-17 from the field. It’s not his first “bad” game of the season, but it’s rare to see him do badly since coming back from his injury that sparked this whole incredible run from the Cavs. James did help out in other ways and finish with 11 assists and he’s averaging 7.3 per game this season, the only non-guard among the top 26 in assists. Blake Griffin, averaging five per game, is 27th.
Kevin Love scored just 5 points in 33 minutes on 1-of-7 from the field. Love seems to accept his role as the third and sometimes fourth option offensively, as both Timofey Mozgov and J.R. Smith were more involved than him offensively. Love did grab 15 rebounds, and maybe he still hasn’t calmed down from his visit to Minnesota. The Cavs have six players overall scoring in double figures, getting 12 from Dellavedova and 11 from Iman Shumpert in his best game since coming over from the Knicks via trade.
Despite the Hawks losing their seat on the throne of consecutive wins, the Cavaliers are still a far way off from challenging for the top spot in the East. At 30-20, they’re fifth in the conference, 10.5 games behind Atlanta. Right now the goal is to get past the Bulls (only 0.5 games ahead) and hopefully make their way up slowly from there. With this kind of responsibility sharing that was alien to the team earlier in the season, it’s hard not to feel like they’re likely to get to where they want to be.