On the second night of a back to back for the Cleveland Cavaliers, they held on late to defeat the Los Angeles Clippers by a final score of 126 to 121 at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California.
It was close all game long in Los Angeles, as the Clippers carried a narrow three-point margin heading into the final period of the night. However, the Cavaliers would catch fire at just the right time down the stretch. With under a minute left to go in the game, Tristan Thompson completed an and-one play to pull ahead by seven points. Matthew Dellavedova hit three out of his four costless throws late in the game, which essentially finished the game out, as LeBron also hit a costless throw to push their lead to what would be the final score.
We knew going into this game that it was going to a physical affair with tons of offensive basketball being played, and we got exactly that. Three players scored more than thirty points this evening, and it was not LeBron James or Blake Griffin who led all scorers. It was in fact Kyrie Irving who finished the night with 37 huge points. Irving went 12 of 18 from the field, while sinking five of his three-point attempts. What was most impressive, though, was not just the sheer amount of points that he scored, but the fact that Kyrie held Chris Paul to just 4 of 15 shooting, one his worst performances of the season.
Yes, it was LeBron James and Blake Griffin who were the other two that finished with more than 30 points. Griffin finished the evening with 34, with James closely behind him, scoring 32 points and shooting 11 of 23. It was a pretty good shooting night overall for the Clippers, as Doc Rivers' squad put up a whopping 91 shot attempts, but only 43 of them went through the hoop, a 47 percent completion percentage. For the Cavaliers, they made a ton of ridiculously hard shots while finishing the night with an equally impressive shooting percentage, as they finished with 55 percent against a normally sound Clippers defense.
This being said, it was not one of the better performances for the Clippers as far as defending goes. They usually pressure the opposition like crazy, forcing their opponents to put up shots with very little room. But allowing the Cavaliers to make 46 out of 83 attempts from the field is just not good enough, especially with LeBron James on the court who looked like he could do just about anything he wanted on offense. If Los Angeles is serious about contending for a championship this season, then they will certainly have to step up their game, and quickly.
The Cavaliers, though, seemed to have gained confidence in the last few weeks and with these two wins under their belt, you could see them start to climb up the Eastern Conference standings if they can go on a bit of a run here.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are finally returning home, but it won't get any easier as they host a very talented Chicago Bulls squad while the Clippers travel up to Sacramento to play the Kings tomorrow night.