After a perfect 4-0 homestand, the Cleveland Cavaliers hit the road for the next three games, beginning tonight against the New York Knicks. This is the second of four regular season matchups between the two teams, with the Cavs taking the first meeting 96-86 on Nov. 4 at The Q. Cleveland overcame a 15-point deficit that night and outscored the Knicks in fast break points, 24-0. Defensively, the Cavs held the Knicks to 33-84 (.393) shooting from the field, including 20-63 (.317) over the final three quarters.
The Cavs have won three straight contests over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden where they are shooting a combined .523 from the field in those wins and outscoring New York 99.0 to 90.0.
At 7-1, the Wine and Gold are off to their best eight-game start since 1988-89 (also 7-1). It is the 3
rd time in franchise history the Cavs have won at least seven of the first eight games. If Cleveland wins tonight, they will tie their best mark after nine games, which is 8-1 set in 1976-77.
Cleveland picked up their 7th straight victory with a 118-104 win over Utah on Tuesday night at Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavs’ 118 points set a season high as the team shot 37-74 (.500) from the field and had three players score at least 20 points (James-31, Williams-29, Love-22). The Cavs improved to 6-0 this season when scoring 100 points and have now won 34 of the last 35 regular season games when topping the century mark.
The Cavaliers are averaging 25.9 assists per game, which ranks 3rd in the NBA this season. The team has three players that are dishing out at least 5.0 assists per game (James-6.6 apg, Dellavedova-5.8 apg, Williams-5.5 apg).
Kevin Love, who hit his 600th career regular season three-pointer in Tuesday’s win over the Jazz, is one double-double shy of reaching 300 for his career and can become the 11th active player to accomplish that feat (Duncan, Garnett, Howard, Gasol, Randolph, Nowitzki, Paul, Jefferson, Lee, Bosh). LeBron James is right behind Love at 292 double-doubles for his career. Love (602 3FGM/11.8 rpg) joined Larry Bird (649 3FGM, 10.0) as the only players in NBA history to make 600 career three-pointers and average at least 10.0 rebounds per game.
Mo Williams has scored at least 20 points in three of the last five games, averaging 19.6 points on .554 (36-65) shooting, including .455 (10-22) from the three-point line, 4.0 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1.0 steal in 33.6 minutes per game over that stretch (since Nov. 2). In Tuesday’s win over Utah, Williams recorded a season-high 29 points on 8-9 (.889) shooting, 4-4 (1.000) from beyond the arc and 9-10 (.900) from the foul line, while adding six rebounds, six assists and two steals in 36 minutes. His .889 shooting percentage against the Jazz was his second-highest field goal percentage on at least nine attempts in his career (shot 9-9 at Atlanta on Nov. 28, 2007).
Over the last three games, LeBron James is averaging 30.3 points on .516 (33-64) shooting from the field, 8.3 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 36.3 minutes per game. Versus Utah on Tuesday, James finished with a game-high 31 points (17 in the 4th) on 11-19 (.579) shooting, eight assists, seven rebounds and two steals in 38 minutes. It was James 252nd career regular season game with at least 30 points, five rebounds and five assists. Only Oscar Robertson (350) has more 30-5-5 games than James. He also now has 24 regular season games with at least 17 points in the fourth quarter and Tuesday was his first since April 16, 2012 against the Nets (also 17 points).
Tristan Thompson leads all NBA bench players in rebounds per game (9.6), to go along with 8.1 points on a career-best .643 shooting from the field and 1.0 block in 25.5 minutes per game.
Courtesy: NBA Pre-game Media Notes