Wrap-Up — Even during their most successful moments, the Cavaliers don’t always do things the easy way.
That was the case on Saturday night, as the Wine & Gold slugged it out with the cellar-dwelling Mavericks – pulling away late for the 111-104 win at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
Kyle Korver notched all 13 of his points in the final period as the Cavaliers used a 7-2 run to close the game and split their Texas two-step after falling to Houston on Thursday night.
Five Cavaliers – four starters plus Korver – notched double-figures in the victory, with Kevin Love leading the way with 29 points to go with a game-high 15 boards, three assists and a block. On the night, Cleveland’s four-time All-Star went 11-of-19 from the floor, including 3-of-5 from long-range and 4-of-4 from the stripe.
LeBron James followed up with 19 points in 42 minutes of work – going 6-of-14 from the floor, doubling up with 11 rebounds and four assists.
J.R. Smith posted his third straight game in double-figures, finishing with 17 points on 6-for-14 shooting, including a 4-of-9 mark from long-distance, adding three boards, three helpers and a pair of steals.
Jae Crowder returned to haunt the team that acquired him on Draft night and where he spent his first two seasons – notching 15 points on 4-for-13 shooting, adding seven boards and three dimes.
The Cavaliers got off to another slow start, falling behind by double-digits early in the first period. But the Wine & Gold closed the quarter on a 23-7 run to get themselves back in front by six. But the Mavericks wouldn’t go away and fought back to take the lead at half. Cleveland used a big third quarter to get some breathing room before fighting off a Dallas rally in the fourth.
Tyronn Lue’s squad was still without Tristan Thompson, nursing a strained left calf, and Derrick Rose, who missed his second straight with a sore ankle. With Rose back on the shelf, Iman Shumpert got his second straight start at the point and had his second straight solid performance – finishing with six points, eight boards and a game-high three steals.
Overall, Korver led all reserves, going 4-of-7 from the floor, including 3-of-6 from beyond the arc.
The Mavericks were paced by Harrison Barnes, who doubled-up with 23 points and 12 boards. Impressive rookie, Dennis Smith Jr. followed up with 21 points of his own in the loss.
Five Cavs score in double figures as the Wine & Gold win in Big D.
Neither team shot the ball particularly well on Saturday. The Cavs hit on 43 percent of their attempts; the Mavs on 42 percent. But the Cavaliers flipped the script from Thursday’s defeat in Houston – taking 35 free throws to Dallas’ 21 and outrebounding Rick Carlisle’s club by 11 – 53-42.
Turning Point — After the Cavaliers blew past Dallas in the first quarter, it looked like Saturday’s contest could be a one-sided affair. But Dallas fought back to take a two-point edge at intermission.
But the third quarter would prove to be Dallas’ undoing – with the Wine & Gold using a 15-2 run midway through the period to turn a two-point deficit into an 11-point lead.
When the smoke cleared, the Cavaliers had outscored Dallas, 34-22, in the quarter and didn’t trail the rest of the way.
By the Numbers – 16.7, .486, .500 … J.R. Smith’s scoring average, shooting percentage (18-for-37) and three-point percentage (12-of-24) over his last three games.
Quotable – LeBron James, on grinding out Saturday night’s win …
”We’re just very resilient. I think we relied on some of our championship habits from the guys on the floor but also trying to get back to our mental toughness and figuring out how to win.”
Up Next — After Saturday night’s victory in Big D, the Wine & Gold leave the Lone Star State for the Big Apple, taking on Kristaps Porzingis and the Knicks on Monday night at The Garden. On Wednesday night, Cleveland closes out the road trip with a visit to Tobacco Road for a meeting with Kemba Walker and the Hornets. The Cavaliers return home to take on the Clippers on Friday night at The Q before getting right back on the road – making their first-ever appearance at Little Caesar’s Arena in Detroit, taking on the surprising Pistons next Monday night.
Calls of the Game