Joe G's Running Game Blog

March 16, 2014
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Joe G's Running Game Blog

FINAL - LAC 102, CLE 80 ... The Clippers jumped out to a big first-quarter lead and weathered a Cavaliers' fourth-quarter run to hand the Wine and Gold their only loss on a tough three-game West Coast trip -- 102-80 -- on Sunday night in L.A. Luol Deng led four Cavaliers in double-figures with 23 points and Dion Waiters followed up with 15. Kyrie Irving left the ballgame in the first quarter with a left biceps injury and will be re-evaluated in Cleveland when the squad returns on Monday.

4:27, 4Q - LAC 86, CLE 69 ... Cavs have had a couple opportunities to cut Clips lead even closer, but got cold from the floor at the wrong time; Clips answer 10-0 run with one of their own; starters back in, looking to make final push to end road trip.

Watch Highlights: First Half Highlights

9:22, 4Q - LAC 76, CLE 69 ... Cavs open 4Q on a 10-0 run -- Hawes trey, Jack, two quick buckets; this is the type of game Cavs could come back and win -- as I've written, LAC has been kind of flat tonight, despite the big early lead. Stay tuned ....

End 3Q - LAC 76, CLE 59 ... Cavs have been frustrated all night, Hawes just got T'ed up, hit a trey but after buzzer; Clippers haven't looked great, but have kept Cleveland cold from the floor; Deng, 20 pts; Waiters, 12 pts; Varejao, 12 reb off bench; four Clippers in double-figures; LAC only shooting 44 pct, but Cavs at 35 pct -- seven air-balls between both clubs tonight.

2:51, 3Q - LAC 70, CLE 57 ... After bad start to second half, Mike Brown went with almost an entire line-change early in 3Q -- Delly, Andy, Gee, Zeller + Deng; Clippers trying to pull away, but second unit keeping it within striking distance; Deng (20 pts, 7-13 FG), Waiters (12 pts, 4-10 FG) only Cavs in double-figures; Cavs shooting just 38 pct; Varejao leads everyone with 12 boards.

End 1H - LAC 52, CLE 38 ... Clippers aren't dominating, but Cavs just haven't shot well, still at 36 pct FG; Deng, only Cavalier in double-figures w/12 pts, 4-8 FG; Waiters, 9 pts off bench; Hawes, 3-5 FG, 6 pts; Varejao leads both teams w/9 reb; Kyrie is OUT for remainder of game with a left biceps injury suffered in 1Q -- he'll be re-examined back in Cleveland Monday and his status updated following that; Blake Griffin, celebrating his birthday with game-high 15 pts.

5:45, 2Q - LAC 39, CLE 28 ... Cavs lose Kyrie for the night with a left bicep injury suffered right before he was subbed out in 1Q; Cavs still struggling from the floor, 36 pct FG; Deng leads CLE w/10 pts, 4-7 FG; nine combined pts for second unit; Bullock, Granger -- 9 pts apiece off bench for LAC.

Injury Update ... Kyrie Irving left the game with a left bicep injury and will not return. Updates when available.

End 1Q - LAC 27, CLE 18 ... After a fast start (15-2) Cavs clamp down on Clips, second unit brings energy, toughness, personified by Delly, who's picking up Willie Green 3/4 court and not letting him breathe. Crowd quiet by end of 1Q. Deng leads CLE w/7 pts; Hawes, 2-3 FG, 4 pts; Kyrie, 2 pts, 2 asst and a team-high 4 reb; Cavs outrebounding LAC, 14-7.

3:18, 1Q - LAC 23, CLE 12 ... Luol Deng (7 pts, 3-6 FG) gets Cavs back in business, but CLE still shooting just 25 pct (4-16) so far. In an unrelated note, Clipper Darryl (Google him for a visual) -- one of the league's funniest and most notorious fans -- just did the "U.G.L.Y. -- you ain't got no alibi" chant as Kyrie was at the line. He does that frequently to opponents. Years back, he did so while Delonte West was attempting FT and Delonte laughed, even patting the ball to the chant.

6:48, 1Q - LAC 15, CLE 2 ... Just like Friday night, Cavs off to a slow start -- Clippers up big, Cleveland trying to find its rhythm. Mike Brown has called a couple quick timeouts to get this thing straight. Dion and Andy checking in -- part of the second unit that got Cavs back in the game vs. GSW.

Pregame ... Cavaliers look to defy the odds and sweep their three-game West Coast trip, but they'll have to do so against the hottest team in the league. Working in their favor is the fact that they've always played well against the Clips, going 17-5 against them since 2002-03, including an 88-82 win over L.A. on Dec. 7 at The Q. It was a day that lived in infamy as the Cavs held Doc Rivers' squad to an opponent season-low .322 shooting -- Cleveland's best defensive effort since Nov. 18, 2003, also against the Clippers. In that first contest this year, Anderson Varejao grabbed 17 boards in just 23 minutes off the bench, simultaneously getting way under Blake Griffin's skin.

CJ Miles is "extremely doubtful" for tonight's matchup in Tinseltown, but otherwise Cavs are healthy and ready to go. (Although FSO sideline reporter Allie Clifton is a bit under the weather and will miss tonight's broadcast.)

Through the first two games of the road trip, the Cavs are outscoring their opponents, 106.5 to 97.5. They've also been hot from beyond the arc, shooting .478 (22-of-46).

The hottest Cavalier right now is center Spencer Hawes, who's been great since his arrival, but even better of late -- netting three 20-point, 10-rebound performances in his last five outings. Luol Deng has also been quietly very good on the trip -- averaging 17.0 points on 59 percent shooting, going 5-for-9 from long-distance.

The Cavs have been very good against the West -- going 6-2 over their last eight games against what's widely-considered the stronger Conference. On Friday night, the Cavs overcame an 18-point deficit to top the Warriors, their biggest comeback win since erasing a 20-point lead in a win over Milwaukee on January 25, 2013.

Starters for tonight: G Jack, G Irving, F Deng, F Thompson, C Hawes