The Utah Jazz, 83.
More importantly, though, Love’s return brings the Cavaliers as close to full strength as they’ve been in quite some time.
But then again the whole team could use a tune-up. While Love was gone, the Cavaliers were routinely beaten on the boards, despite Tristan Thompson’s best efforts.
Iman Shumpert left the game with 4min 30sec remaining in the third quarter with a left arm injury and did not return. J.R. Smith also had some positive moments in the fourth quarter, hitting a three pointer with just over a minute left to give the Cavs a six point lead.
The Cleveland Cavaliers signed Sanders on Monday, ending the 28-year-old’s two-year absence from the league.
During the entire second half, both teams battled back and forth, with that late surge by Cleveland constituting their biggest run during those two quarters.
10 and 9 – Yes, Kevin Love was back!
Currently, the Cavaliers (44-22) hold a two-game advantage over the Boston Celtics for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
Now back to Thursday night. Additionally, the Cavaliers enjoy a 10-game advantage over the Indiana Pacers for the Central Division lead. He connected on four of his first five shot attempts and almost picked up a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds in 19 minutes. The “Four Quarters” workout was essentially this: the Cavs had to climb 500 feet in the first quarter, 300 in the second, 200 in the third and 100 in the fourth.
“I went to ‘Bron and was like, ‘You got this?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, ‘” Irving said. “I know we haven’t played our best basketball lately, but there’s good energy around the team, and wanting to get back, that’s why I talk about the adrenaline I feel”. Kyrie Irving didn’t play in the final 12 minutes because of tightness in his knee after tallying 21 points, four rebounds and four assists in three quarters. That being said, the result obviously left the team with very little to celebrate in the locker room. The rest of this season is really going to be more about getting everyone healthy and back on the same page.
The Cavs have won four of the past five meetings with the Clippers both straight up and ATS, seeing a four-game series winning streak end with a 113-94 loss as 3.5-point home favorites on December 1. As the playoffs approach, the clock is running out on the 2016-17 edition of the Cavaliers.