Blazers Can't Handle a Whole Lotta Love

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Wrap-Up -- Now in his third season in Cleveland, Kevin Love’s high-water scoring mark had been 34 points. On Wednesday, he had that many by the end of the first quarter.

In an eventful Thanksgiving Eve matchup, Love set and shattered franchise records en route to his 40-point effort – leading the Wine and Gold to the 137-125 victory over Damian Lillard and the Blazers in a shootout at The Q.

Love wasted no time on Wednesday night – scoring 18 points in the first four minutes of the contest, canning his first five three-pointers and finishing the first quarter with a franchise-record 34 points on 11-for-14 shooting, including 8-of-10 from long-range.

The three-time All-Star would eventually cool down, but that only allowed his teammates to heat up. And, true to form early this season, they heated way up the rest of the way.

Almost lost in the shuffle of Love’s outburst was LeBron James – posting the 44th triple-double of his eventual Hall of Fame career, finishing with 31 points, a game-high 13 assists, 10 rebounds and three steals in the victory.

Kyrie Irving’s 20-point effort – his 11th such outing in 13 games this season – almost went unnoticed among his teammate’s offensive fireworks. On the night, the All-Star point guard went 8-for-15 from the floor, including 3-of-6 from long-range, adding six assists and a steal.

If Irving and James’ efforts flew somewhat under the radar in the victory, it was even more cruel that Damian Lillard’s line would get overlooked in the loss. The fourth-year guard from Oakland – who came in averaging 26.8 points in four meetings with Cleveland – finished with 40 points of his own, going 13-for-21 from the floor, including 5-of-7 from deep, while leading Portland with 11 helpers to go with six boards.

While the Wine and Gold’s Big Three combined for 91 points, Cleveland’s main reserves were also rock-solid in the win.

Channing Frye bounced back from a couple quiet outings to lead the Cavs bench with 14 points, going 4-for-6 from beyond the arc on the night. Richard Jefferson finished 3-of-4 from the floor for six points and four boards and Iman Shumpert continued his strong shooting this season – going 2-of-3 from long-distance.

Mason Plumlee finished with 19 points on 9-for-10 shooting and Evan Turner led Portland’s reserves with 17 points in the loss.

Both teams shot very well on Wednesday night. The Cavaliers went 53 percent from the floor, 58 percent (21-for-36) from deep. (Cleveland’s 21 bombs being the top mark in the NBA this season.) The Blazers shot 52 percent from the floor and 44 percent from long-distance.

Turning Point -- If Wednesday’s matchup didn’t have a turning point, Kevin Love has to take the blame. He (and the Cavaliers) jumped on the Blazers early and didn’t let up. And although Portland never led at any point during the contest, they never allowed the Wine and Gold to get completely comfortable.

Kevin Love

Kevin Love catches fire from downtown early as the Cavs outshoot the Blazers.

Still, the Cavaliers were able to jump out to a double-digit lead at the 8:31 mark in the first quarter and the Blazers were able to cut Cleveland’s lead to single digits just once the rest of the way – on C.J. McCollum’s jumper early in the second quarter to get them to within nine, 51-42.

Cleveland answered that Blazers push with a 16-4 to put the game essentially out of reach.

By the Numbers34 … points Kevin Love scored in the first quarter – an NBA season-high, a Cavaliers franchise best and the second-highest quarter total in NBA history. His eight three-pointers in the first period also set a team record for most triples in a quarter.

QuotableKevin Love, on Wednesday’s first-quarter outburst against Portland …

”It’s definitely fun, especially when I saw after the fact the reactions of my teammates. It was a lot of fun. We got in here after the game and they congratulated me. I didn’t realize that was the most points for a first quarter or how close I was to the record for a quarter in general. It’s definitely a lot of fun, but that’s over and done with now. Enjoy it tonight, enjoy Thanksgiving but know that we have another game Friday.”

Up Next -- After beating up the Blazers and getting their fill of turkey on Thanksgiving, the Wine and Gold get right back to work on the other side – welcoming the Dallas Mavericks to The Q on Friday night to wrap up the mini-homestand. The Cavaliers then get back on the road for a pair – a Sunday afternoon affair against the Sixers at the Wells Fargo Center followed by a visit to Milwaukee for a reunion with Matthew Dellavedova and his Milwaukee Bucks.

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