Game 73: Cavs at Grizzlies
Radio: WTAM-AM 1100, WMMS-FM 100.7, La Mega-FM 97.7
TV: Fox Sports Ohio
1. The Cavaliers just dismantled one of the best teams in the league. They had lost their last five games in Memphis. On this night, however, it wasn't even close. They took the lead for good with 5:41 left in the first quarter, 13-11, on center Timofey Mozgov's layup.
2. In two games against the Grizzlies this year, the Cavs averaged 108 points and shot 55.6 percent from the field and 43.8 percent from behind the arc. Memphis, the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, just has no answer for the Cavaliers defensively. How impressive was the victory? Memphis is a team some are picking to advance to the NBA Finals.
3. Cavs power forward Kevin Love had one of his best games of the year. He's had games with more points or more rebounds. He was just outstanding with 22 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two blocks. It was his team leading 36th double-double. He ran the floor. He hit the boards. He helped the Cavs to a 49-32 advantage on the boards. It was a solid butt-kickin'.
4. The Cavaliers are 13-1 this season when they've had at least two days off in between games. The only loss came in the season opener vs. New York.
5. More good numbers: They've won 14 of their last 15 games against West foes. Why the dominance against the West? It's hard to answer that. But when the Cavs are on top of their game, they can beat anyone, even the "upper echelon" Western teams. Most NBA experts say the balance of power has shifted to the West. The Cavs showed tonight they are as good as any team in the league. The Cavs have won eight of their last nine games, as well as 28 of their last 34.
6. The Grizzlies could never solve the Cavs' swarming defensive effort. The Cavs not only dominated the boards, they also held Memphis to 43.5 percent shooting from the field and 23.5 percent from behind the arc. They stopped power forward Zach Randolph in his tracks with five points and three rebounds.
7. The trade that added Jeff Green to their lineup completed the Grizzlies. They are 24-11 since making that deal on Jan. 12. Green, formerly in Boston, has had some big games against the Cavs over the years. He finished with 11 points and five rebounds for Memphis. He's now coming off the bench for the Grizzlies.
8. Grizzlies shooting guard Tony Allen normally defends LeBron James as well as any player in the league. He didn't make much of an impact tonight, as James ended with 20 points and eight rebounds.
9. Since Jan. 23, the Cavs are averaging an NBA-high 12.3 3-pointers per game. They are averaging 9.9 per game on the season. They will likely set a team record in this category. Their starting backcourt of J.R. Smith and Kyrie Irving have been too much to handle for the opposition. Smith is shooting 52.5 percent from behind the arc in his last eight games (31 of 59), while Irving is at 51.3 percent (20 of 39). By the way, Smith is four points away from 10,000 in his career.
10. Two bench players came up huge for the Cavs. Forward/center Tristan Thompson was once again a terror on the boards with a game-high 11 rebounds. The Grizzlies couldn't get a body on him in the paint, as he pulled down eight defensive rebounds. Guard Matthew Dellavedova drained 3 of 4 from behind the arc en route to nine points and four assists.
UP NEXT: at Brooklyn, Barclays Center, 7:30 p.m. Friday.
SF LeBron James (6-8, 250) vs. Tony Allen (6-4, 213)
C Timofey Mozgov (7-1, 250) vs. Marc Gasol (7-1, 255)
SG J.R. Smith (6-6, 220) vs. Courtney Lee (6-5, 200)
Grizzlies - F/C Jarnell Stokes, G Russ Smith
Derrick Stafford, David Guthrie, Michael Smith