Cavaliers tie franchise record with 13th straight win, edge Kings 101-95
BY STONE LEXINGTON
CAVALIERS BEAT WRITER
The Sacramento Kings reside near the bottom of the NBA, but that didn’t stop them from giving the Cleveland Cavaliers all they could handle Wednesday night in Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavs trailed much of Wednesday’s contest against the Kings, but they made more plays than Sacramento in the final minutes to escape with a 101-95 victory for their 13th straight win.
“I think defensively, taking care of the three-point line, three-point shots” Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue said on where his team has progressed the most during their current winning streak. “I think also just getting in better shape. Guys are able to make multiple efforts and things like that, and then playing with more pace offensively and moving and sharing the basketball.”
In a less than stellar team performance, several Cavaliers had individual standout performances on Wednesday. LeBron James nearly posted his third triple-double of the season, finishing with 32 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. Kevin Love produced his 17th double-double of the season, totaling 18 points and 13 rebounds. Jeff Green scored 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting off the Cavs bench, while Kyle Korver chipped-in 15 points, including several big three-pointers to begin the fourth quarter.
Cleveland trailed 78-73 heading into the fourth, but Korver drained three treys in the opening two minutes, his third of which gave the Cavs an 82-79 lead, their first since a 36-35 advantage with 5:52 remaining in the second quarter. The scrappy Kings were in the game the entire way and sat even with the Cavs at 95 with less than two minutes to play. That was when James had had enough.
James converted a layup with 1:36 remaining that gave Cleveland a 97-95 lead and followed that with a huge step-back three-pointer with 16 seconds to play that iced the game.
“It was a tough game,” Lue said. “You have some of these all year through a long year, and we just had to grind it out. We couldn’t handle the ball early, a lot of turnovers, missed layups, missed shots.”
Cleveland’s 13 straight victories is the longest active streak in the NBA. The number also ties the Cavs’ franchise record for consecutive wins, which has happened twice, once in the 2008-09 season and once in the 2009-10 season.
The Cavs weren’t able to completely rely on their offense Wednesday night and needed big stops down the stretch. Nevertheless, Cleveland has now scored at least 100 points in 18 straight games and made at least 10 three-pointers in 14 straight games.
A surprising note from Wednesday’s game is that the Cavs shot 13-of-21 (61.9 percent) from the free throw line. Entering Wednesday, the Cavs ranked first in free throw percentage (.818) this season, as eight Cavs players are shooting at least 80 percent form the charity stripe.
Before Wednesday’s game, Lue divulged that injured players Tristan Thompson and Isaiah Thomas have participated in four-on-four drills with contact. Lue also said that the team hopes Thompson can return to the court this week.
“He looked good,” Lue succinctly said with a smile when asked how Thomas has looked in drills.
Derrick Rose, who has been away from the team while dealing with a personal matter, was also out Wednesday as he continues to rehab a sprained left ankle. Lue said Rose addressed the team when he returned.
“He didn’t have to, but he did,” Lue said. “He asked me could he talk to the team before we started shootaround and address the team. Everyone welcomed him back and is happy he’s here.”
Cavs still aren’t sure how long Rose will be out, but Lue acknowledged that Rose won’t be back on the court within the next handful of games.
The Cavs will be in Indiana on Friday for a matchup with the Pacers..
POSTED 12/06/2017 22:02