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Find out the scoop on the CAVS from award-winning sports writer Bob Finnan.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Game 51: Clippers at Cavs

Quicken Loans Arena
Radio: WTAM-AM 1100, WMMS-FM 100.7, La Mega-FM 97.7

1. The first-place Cavaliers' impressive 12-game winning streak was never in jeopardy against the Clippers. The Cavs haven't lost since Jan. 13 in Phoenix. They have the third-longest winning streak in franchise history. If they are able to get past the Pacers on Friday, they'd be tied for the franchise best. 

2. They moved past struggling Chicago and into first place in the Central Division. With Washington's loss at Charlotte, the Cavs are now tied with the Wizards for the No. 3 seed in the Easstern Conference playoff race. If they keep playing like they have been, they'll catch No. 2 Toronto, as well. Atlanta might be too much to ask for. Ten and a half games is a lot to make up.

3. The Clippers have lost three of their last four games. They are in the midst of an eight-game road trip. They are 2-3 thus far. Starting shooting guard J.J. Redick was held out of the game with back spasms. Jamal Crawford started and had 13 points. None of those things had anything to do with the outcome.

4. The Cavaliers came out and just jumped on the Clippers right from the start. By the time Coach David Blatt pulled his starters, the Cavs had a 32-point bulge. Now, the Cavs played about as poorly as they could play in the fourth. They made just 2 of 14 shots and committed nine turnovers. That led to them being outscored in the fourth, 31-11.

5. The Clippers' vaunted frontcourt of center DeAndre Jordan, power forward Blake Griffin and small forward Matt Barnes didn't rise to the challenge. They were badly outplayed by the Cavs. Jordan leads the league in rebounding (13.6) and field-goal accuracy (73.2 percent) and is second in blocked shots (2.5). He holds the NBA's longest active consecutive games played streak with 289. Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson is right on his heels at 256. Thompson hasn't missed a game since Feb. 10, 2010.

6. They were outplayed by the Cavs' frontcourt, especially Kevin Love (24 points, nine rebounds, three assists). The Cavs wanted to quiet all the noise about Love. They sure did.  Some were worried (OK, me) about the Love-Griffin matchup. Love totally outplayed the All-Star, and made a major statement on national TV.

7. The Cavs have won 12 of their last 13 games at The Q against the Clippers. They are also 17-3 lifetime vs. the Clippers at The Q. They've also won their last eight games against Western Conference opponents since their loss at Phoenix Jan. 13.

8. Their 12-game winning streak is the longest in the NBA. They haven't won that many since they ripped off 13 in a row from Jan. 16-Feb. 11, 2010 - more than five years ago. During the streak, they are outscoring opponents by an average of 12.8 points (108.1-95.3) and holding them to a combined 41.8 percent shooting from the floor. 

8. They haven't allowed more than 100 points in 10 consecutive games. The Clippers came into the game averaging 106.7 points per game. They managed just 94, including 63 through three quarters.

9. Thompson's four offensive rebounds moved him past Tyrone Hill (955) for ninth place in franchise history. Thompson is having an outstanding season off the bench for the Cavs. He pulled down 10 rebounds against the Clippers.

10. James has averaged 27.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 7.1 assists in the 12-game winning streak. He recorded his 13th double-double of the season in the win over the 76ers (18 points, 11 assists), which surpasses his total from 2013-14.

UP NEXT: at Indiana, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, 7 p.m. Friday

SF LeBron James (6-8, 250) vs. Matt Barnes (6-7, 226)
PF Kevin Love (6-10, 243) vs. Blake Griffin (6-10, 251)
C Timofey Mozgov (7-1, 250) vs. DeAndre Jordan (6-11, 265)
SG J.R. Smith (6-6, 220) vs. Jamal Crawford (6-5, 200)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 193) vs. Chris Paul (6-0, 175)
Cavs - C Anderson Varejao, G Joe Harris
Clippers - N/A
Ken Mauer, Lauren Holtkamp, Eric Lewis


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