It seems that the rattling the Cleveland Cavaliers took at home is gone and forgotten, as they carry on their rehabbing from the unpleasant experience by beating the Los Angeles Clippers 115-102, behind the entire starting lineup scoring in double figures and LeBron James feeling like he wants a lot of assists.
James led the Cavs in scoring along with J.R. Smith, putting up 22 points while adding 12 assists. Some of them were of that high degree of difficulty that included bouncing into traffic and finding an open man on the other corner and other similar things. He also stopped the streak of games without scoring 20 points, almost making it to four, which would have tied his career record back from his rookie season.
The Clippers, still playing without Blake Griffin, looked good in the first quarter, taking up a 31-28 lead. However, the Cavaliers bounced back in the second quarter and using the hack-a-Jordan tactic, forcing DeAndre Jordan to the line (only 6-of-15) helped them open up a 16-point lead. The Clippers did manage to get it back down to six in the final quarter, but the Cavaliers, with Kevin Love scoring 18 points to help out while adding 16 rebounds, didn’t let the fouling sequences throw them out of rhythm, even if everyone said after the game that they don’t like doing that.
Kyrie Irving finished with 21 points on 8-of-18 from the field, and the trend of him having good games resulting in Cavaliers wins continues. Most of the attention was brought as to why he missed the All-Star game, holding a lead over Kyle Lowry until the final days of the balloting, eventually losing out. Irving said he doesn’t mind it, because he doesn’t feel like he deserves to be starting, missing 26 games, while others have played the entire half season.
But back to Love, who might be the most interesting man right now on the Cavaliers, which is saying alot considering LeBron James is one of his teammates. Love took the most brutal of public beatings after the loss to the Warriors. While the entire team was thrown under the bus by critics, Love was immediately mentioned as the reason for the Cavaliers being so bad, and how they have to trade him if they ever want to catch up with the Warriors.
So Love, so far, responded with 35 points and 34 rebounds in two games. As James said, the Cavaliers haven’t gotten over, completely, to losing by 34 points against the Warriors. But they had to move on, and have been doing it quite well, once again, slowly, opening a wider and wider margin between them and the rest of the Eastern conference. Being on a nice stretch with 10 out of 13 games at home shouldn’t make overcoming the loss too difficult. They’ve also improved to 24-6 in their last 30 games against Western conference teams, with five of those losses coming this season, and three of them to the Warriors and the Spurs.