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J.B. Bickerstaff’s surprising young Cavaliers look to extend their win streak to three when they roll into STAPLES Center to face Paul George and the Clippers on Monday night.
After shutting down the high-octane Hawks at home on Saturday night, the Wine & Gold turned in another gutsy performance on Monday – tipping off the five-game road trip in style as they blew past Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets.
The Cavs led almost the entire way against Denver, but used a 14-3 run to start the fourth quarter to blow things open, avenging a 38-point loss at Ball Arena last year with the 99-87 win. Cleveland held the previously undefeated Nuggets to 41 percent shooting, including 9-for-38 from long-range.
Kevin Love became the fourth different Cavalier to lead the team in scoring through four games this season – notching 22 points in just 21 minutes of work off the bench, going 8-of-13 from the floor and 5-of-5 from the line, adding six boards. Jarrett Allen again neared perfection, missing just a single shot in 11 attempts to finish with 21 points and a team-best 16 boards.
The Clippers got their first win of the season – and in decisive fashion – on Tuesday night, blowing out the Blazers by 30, with Luke Kennard drilling 6-of-7 shots from beyond the arc for 23 points off the bench. Reggie Jackson chipped in with 18 points and Paul George, 16, as the stingy Clips held Damian Lillard to just 12 points on 4-for-15 shooting.
Following tonight’s showdown, the Wine & Gold stay in L.A., where they’ll face off against the Lakers on Friday, followed by a trip to Phoenix for a meeting against the Conference Champs on Saturday. On Monday night, the Cavaliers begin the month of November and wrap up the roadie in Charlotte. They return home for five of the next seven.
The Cavaliers own the all-time series against the Clippers, 74-58, but unfortunately the Clippers have owned the Cavaliers of late – running their win streak in the series to seven straight with a lopsided win on Valentine’s Day last year in L.A. Six of those seven losses have come by double-digits.
The all-time rebound leader in the series for the Cavaliers is Carlos Boozer, who snagged 21 boards against the Clippers in a 2003 loss in Los Angeles. Big Z led Cleveland with 24 points and added 16 boards. Rookie LeBron James finished with four points on 2-of-13 shooting.
The rebounding leader in the series for the opposition is Swen Nater, who grabbed 26 rebounds while they were still the Buffalo Braves – topping the Cavaliers, 118-117, despite a game-high 25 points from Campy Russell.
You won’t have to look far for the connections in tonight’s contest.
Head Coach Tyronn Lue was the Cavs head coach from 2016 through 2018, winning the NBA title in 2016 after taking over for David Blatt midway through the season. In this tenure with Cleveland, Lue went 128-83 in the regular season with a 41-20 mark in the Playoffs.
Larry Drew, who took over for Lue in 2018-19 as the team’s coach, is back with his longtime contemporary in L.A., as is Dahntay Jones, who helped Cleveland win that 2016 Championship and currently acts as a player development coach with the Clips.