Denver Drops Cavs at The Q
Wrap-Up – On Saturday, the hot Cavaliers ran into a team that was even hotter, as the high-powered Nuggets used eight men in double-figures to hand the Wine and Gold the 111-103 loss at The Q – snapping Cleveland’s win streak at three.
The first half featured eight ties and six lead changes, but the Nuggets – who came in winners of eight straight – went on a 6-0 run right before intermission. The Cavaliers cut Denver’s lead to four points early in the third quarter, but couldn’t get close than that the rest of the way. The Nuggets eventually extended their lead to two touchdowns before the Wine and Gold got to within six late in the affair.
Kyrie Irving notched 12 of his game-high 26 points in the fourth quarter, also leading the Cavaliers in assists (7) and rebounds (6). Alonzo Gee netted 15 of his 20 points in the first quarter, but the defensive specialist still finished 8-of-8 from the floor, including 3-for-3 from long distance. Wayne Ellington was almost as efficient from the field – going 3-of-4 from beyond the arc for 13 points. Shaun Livingston and Tristan Thompson finished with 11 points apiece.
Turning Point – It was more like turning point(s) in Saturday’s loss and most of those points came as Cleveland tried to close quarters. Denver closed each of the first three quarters on mini-runs, keeping the Cavaliers – and a sold-out crowd – from ever getting any momentum moving forward.
Game Ball – Alonzo Gee Gee hadn’t scored in double-figures since January 22, but he came out strong on Saturday, scoring 15 of the Cavaliers’ first 17 points. Gee focused on the defensive end in the second half, but still finished perfect from the floor and just two points shy of his career high.
By the Numbers – 21.7 … more points per game the Cavaliers are scoring in February (113.8) compared to December (92.1). They’re greatly improved in field goal percentage (.410 to .483), three-point percentage (.348 to .408) and free throw percentage (.738 to .835).
Quotable – Coach Byron Scott, on Saturday’s loss to the Nuggets …
“I just thought they played a little bit harder than we did. I thought we played hard and we competed. I just think they had that little extra umph that you need.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers wrap up the final week before the All-Star Game with a pair of home contests – on Monday night against the Timberwolves before welcoming the red-hot Spurs to The Q on Wednesday.