The Cleveland Cavaliers are the hottest team in the NBA and will try to push their winning streak to an even dozen Thursday night when the Los Angeles Clippers come calling to Quicken Loans Arena.
Cleveland has won 11 consecutive games, the team’s longest streak since 2010. The Cavs have taken seven in a row at home and seven straight versus the Western Conference.
As if an 11-game winning streak wasn’t proof enough of how great the Cavs are playing, during this run, they’re outscoring their opponents by an average of 12.9 points.
Thanks to a Chicago Bulls loss to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday, the Cavaliers have also pulled into a tie for first place in the Central Division.
Their streak reached 11 games on Monday with a 97-84 home win over the scrappy Philadelphia 76ers.
All-Star Kyrie Irving totaled 24 points, five assists and five rebounds to lead Cleveland.
LeBron James scored all but four of his 18 points in the first half and added 11 assists for the streaking Cavs, who are two wins shy of matching the franchise record of 13 in a row set during the 2009-10 season.
“We can’t become complacent,” said a hungry Irving. “We’re not content with where we are.”
Matthew Dellavedova and J.R. Smith finished with 12 points apiece. Iman Shumpert pitched in 11 off the bench, while Timofey Mozgov managed 10 points. Kevin Love was held to five points, but pulled down 15 rebounds.
Cleveland held a 20-point margin over the Sixers, but Philly fought back and trimmed the deficit to two. Dellavedova canned a pair of late 3-pointers which put the game away.
The Clippers have played good basketball of late, but have dropped two of their last three on the heels of a six-game winning streak. Thursday’s game is the fifth of an eight-game road odyssey for LA, which still has to visit Toronto, Oklahoma City and Dallas.
On Monday, the Clippers were stunned by the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center, 102-100.
Brooklyn’s Jarrett Jack hit a jumper with 1.3 seconds left to steal the win. The Nets trailed 90-79 with 5:16 to play, but closed the game on a 21-9 run to get the victory.
DeAndre Jordan had a monster night with 22 points and 20 rebounds, but went 2- for-12 from the free throw line.
Los Angeles also received 20 points and eight assists from Chris Paul and 18 points from Jamal Crawford, but had its fate sealed by lousy free throw shooting. The Clippers went just 8-of-25 from the foul line, although Jordan did most of the damage on that front.
“We just didn’t make them tonight for whatever reason,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. “But we had our chances. We had the lead and we blew it. The last 2 1/2 minutes were the disappointing part for this game.”
NBA releases 02/05/2015
Washington Wizards -vs- Charlotte Hornets
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