Game #23
Ouicken Loans Arena | Cleveland, OH
February 8, 2012 | 4:00 PM (PST)
TV: Fox Sports West
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TEAM 1 2 3 4 FINAL
24 16 24 28 92
19 21 30 29 99
    Turnovers, poor shooting and what head coach Vinny Del Negro called a lack of focus proved too much to overcome for the road weary Clippers.

    Ramon Sessions took advantage, leading the Cavaliers to a 99-92 win at Quicken Loans Arena, while keeping the Clippers scrambling to guard him.

    The loss stopped the Clippers’ road winning streak at four games, a mark the franchise has reached six times but never topped since the team’s move to Los Angeles. It also extended a 10-game losing streak in Cleveland that extends back to 2002.

    Both teams were without starters in the backcourt. Clippers guard Chauncey Billups is out for the season with a torn left Achilles tendon and Cleveland Rookie of the Year candidate Kyrie Irving missed the game with a concussion.

    It was no matter for Sessions, though, as he sliced and diced his way off a variety of pick-and-rolls and finished with 24 points and 13 assists, both season highs.

    Conversely, Clippers point guard Chris Paul had a rough shooting night, going 5-of-16 from the field. He still managed 16 points and 12 assists, but it wasn’t enough as the Clippers’ backcourt could hardly contain Sessions.

    "We were not tough enough tonight, we were not gritty enough tonight, we did not execute the game plan," Del Negro said.

    A tie game at halftime turned into a 15-point Cavaliers lead near the end of the third quarter thanks to Sessions, who had 11 in the frame.

    Despite being down six with 3:35 to go in the game, the Clippers frantically mounted a comeback and tried to keep their road winning streak alive. Griffin nailed a 22-foot jumper before Butler stripped Jamison on the other end. On the ensuing fast break, Butler lobbed a pass to Griffin for a two-handed slam that brought the Clippers to within a single basket. Two Paul free-throws later, the game was tied with two minutes remaining.

    Six straight points by the Clippers brought them back into it, but the Cavaliers scored the next five to put the game out of reach. Gibson hit a 3-pointer that very nearly rolled off the rim, and the almost unstoppable Sessions was fouled on a drive to the basket before hitting two free-throws.

    The Clippers (15-8) had come off a gutty overtime win in Orlando two days ago. The Cavaliers (10-14) had just returned from a 107-91 loss to the Heat in Miami one night earlier.

    “Give Cleveland credit, they grinded the game out on a back-to-back,” Del Negro said. “There’s no excuse.

    “As proud as I was of them against Orlando and how we grinded that game out I’m equally disappointed in this game in terms of the overall performance.”

    Without Billups, Randy Foye shifted into the starting lineup and put up 15 points. But Mo Williams had just five points in his return to a city he starred in for three seasons.

    Blake Griffin added 25 points and 15 rebounds for the Clippers but the hustle of Anderson Varejao nearly matched him. Varejao had a double-double of his own with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

    The loss spoiled the season debut of new Clipper Kenyon Martin, who signed with the team on Friday. Martin first checked in to open the second quarter and played 20 minutes, a little north of what Del Negro had expected of him on the night. The 6-foot-9 power forward finished with six points, four rebounds and two blocks in his first action since leaving the Chinese Basketball Association in December.

    “[Martin] is amazing,” Paul said. “The energy he brought on the offensive and defensive end is something that we are definitely going to need. I’m happy to have him.”

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