Portland Trail Blazers (8-9) 125
Cleveland Cavaliers (11-2) 137
The Cleveland Cavaliers’ last game prior to this one was last Friday, a win against the Detroit Pistons. That left the Cavaliers with four full days off between games. So it would be only natural to expect a certain degree of rust and relatively poor shooting. You would at least expect the team to get off to a slow start in the first quarter.
Kevin Love didn’t see it that way. The often maligned PF for the Cavaliers delivered his best performance yet as a member of the wine and gold as he scorched the Blazers for 34 points in the first quarter to set the tone. The Cavaliers as a team followed Kevin’s lead on offense as the team was relentless all game long. The Cavaliers had 81 points at halftime and ended the game with 137, the fifth most in a non-overtime game in franchise history and the most points scored since the Cavs put up 141 points in April 1992.
But the Cavaliers weren’t the only team on fire in this game. The Blazers did their best to hang with Cleveland with five players scoring in double digits and shooting 52% from the field as a team. In the end, it wasn’t quite enough, though, as the Cavaliers’ offensive onslaught was just too potent for Portland to keep up with and Cleveland walked away with a nice win.
So without further ado, let’s look at the numbers.
- 34 – Obviously there’s no place to start other than with Kevin Love’s insane first quarter. Kevin Love’s 34 first-quarter points are the most points scored in a first quarter in NBA history. It’s the second most points ever scored in a quarter, just short of Klay Thompson’s 37 points he scored in the third quarter last season against the Sacramento Kings. In the first quarter, Love hit 11 of his 14 shots from the field and made 8 of his 10 three-point attempts. Even though he was on pace for 136 points in the game, Love would slow down a bit over the next couple of quarters to finish with a team-high 40 points on the night.
- 14 – Obviously 34 points in a quarter is completely nuts. In general, a ten point quarter is a pretty nice quarter. While it wasn’t quite Kevin Love level, in the second quarter Channing Frye scored 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting from three-point range. When two players combine for 48 points through two quarters, it’s safe to assume it’s going to be a big night for the offense. That’s how a team scores 81 points on 58.7% shooting for a half.
- 40 – The Cavaliers weren’t the only red-hot team in this game. It’s hard to believe a player scored 34 points in the first quarter of this game and that player didn’t finish with the sole game-high mark in points. But Damian Lillard matched Kevin Love’s 40 points in this game to tie for said game-high honors. Were it not for Dame, this game would have been an absolute blowout by the Cavaliers. We’ve talked about Love’s crazy 34 point first quarter and Frye’s great second quarter. In the third quarter, it was Lillard’s turn as he put up 15 points. I doubt there have been many games with a different player scoring 14+ points in three consecutive quarters. The quality of offense in this game would be practically immeasurable were it not for these here box score observations.
- 21 – The Cavaliers as a team set a franchise regular-season record by knocking down 21 three-point shots in this matchup. Six Cavaliers made two or more three-pointers. Cleveland ended the game with a pretty stupid 58.3% mark from long range. All six of those Cavs players (Love, Frye, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, JR Smith, Iman Shumpert) shot 50% or better from three. The Cavaliers’ 16 threes in the first half broke the Warrior’s record for most threes in a half in NBA history (15).
- 31/13/10 – LeBron James notched his second triple-double of the season with 31 points, 13 assists, and 10 rebounds. It’s pretty remarkable when a player scores 31 points with a triple-double and is basically a footnote to the game. LeBron’s game will be overshadowed by Love’s first quarter performance, but Love only had six points the rest of the game. The Cavaliers needed to find offense in other places. LeBron closed the game with 12 points in the fourth quarter. The Blazers kept trying to close the gap, but every time they seemed to be closing in, LeBron would step up and put the game back out of reach.
- 30 – The Cavaliers as a team had 30 assists, their most since their 31 assist performance in the opening game of the season. LeBron led the team with 13 assists, but Kyrie Irving chipped in with six of his own and Richard Jefferson provided four assists off the bench. Ball movement has been hit and miss with the Cavaliers so far this season. Some games the ball movement has been there but the shots just weren’t going down, but other games the Cavaliers had reverted to some of their bad habits from last season. After those 31 assists on opening night, the Cavaliers didn’t have another game with 25+ assists until game nine of the season. However, the Cavaliers did have 25+ in three of their last four games leading into this one. When the Cavaliers are passing the ball well, it creates a lot of open shots leading to so many assist opportunities. Since LeBron’s return to Cleveland, the Cavaliers are now 53-4 in games in which they have 25+ assists.
The Cavaliers have given Cleveland fans so many memories over the last couple years, but Kevin Love’s 34 point quarter is certainly going to be one nobody forgets for a very long time. The Cavaliers now have Thanksgiving off before they take on the 2-11 Dallas Mavericks on Black Friday. Have a Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!