Cavs Crush Nets in Warm-Up for Warriors

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Wrap-Up -- If the Cavaliers – who’ve seen their starters log some major mid-week minutes – were looking for a perfect tune-up for their biggest regular season game of the year, they couldn’t have picked a better foe than the struggling Nets.

The Wine and Gold jumped on Brooklyn – losers of seven of their previous eight outings – right from the opening tip and didn’t let up, clobbering the Nets, 119-99, with a date against the Western Conference rivals looming on the other side of Christmas Eve.

In just three quarters of action, three Cavaliers notched double-doubles and LeBron James – who led both squads in scoring – wasn’t one of them.

LeBron had his streak of nine straight games of at least 20 points snapped on Friday, but he gladly traded that for a fourth quarter off – finishing with 19 points on 7-for-16 shooting, adding six assists, five boards and a three steals.

Tristan Thompson followed up with his eighth double-double of the season on Friday – netting 16 points on 7-for-8 shooting to go with 11 boards, six of which he snagged off the offensive glass. The Wine and Gold are a perfect 8-0 this season when Tristan doubles up.

Kevin Love, who’s tied for fourth in the Eastern Conference with 16 double-doubles, led both teams with 15 rebounds to go with 14 points in Friday’s win.

Kyrie Irving handed out double-digit assists for the third time in his last four outings – averaging exactly 10.0 helpers per over that span – finishing with 10 assists to go with 13 points while tying a career-high with six steals – as many as Brooklyn had as a team and half of Cleveland’s 12 on the night.

Earlier in the day, the Cavaliers got the bad news that J.R. Smith would likely miss the next three months following successful surgery to repair a compound fracture of his right thumb.

Knowing they’ll be counted to pick up Swish’s slack, the Cavaliers bench performed well in the blowout victory.

Mike Dunleavy had his best game as a Cavalier – finishing with 14 points on 6-for-9 shooting, including 2-of-4 from long-distance. Channing Frye posted his 12th game this season of double-figure scoring off the bench, adding 12 points and six boards. And rookie Kay Felder notched double-figures for the second time in his last three outings, chipping in with 11 points in just 16 minutes of work.

Tristan Thompson

Seven Cavaliers score in double-figures as the Wine and Gold improve to 22-6.

The Cavaliers topped the 110-point mark for the 15th time this season, their 11th time doing so at The Q. For the Nets, they surrendered triple-figures on the road for the 24th straight occasion – something that hasn’t been done in over 20 years.

Turning Point -- Friday’s affair got away from Brooklyn early as the Cavaliers, looking to keep their starters’ minutes down, were ready to pounce from the opening tip.

Kevin Love – who missed the previous two games with a bruised left knee – opened the scoring with a three-pointer and by the four-minute mark of the first period, Cleveland had improved its edge to double-figures, closing the quarter up two touchdowns, 29-15.

The Cavs kept it on the Nets from that point forward, improving their halftime advantage to 26 and leading by 41 – 98-57 – after three quarters. By the time the third quarter ended, Tyronn Lue had emptied his bench in preparation for Sunday afternoon.

By the Numbers23.3 | 5.5 | 10.0 | 2.5 … points, rebounds, assists and steals that Kyrie Irving is averaging during the Wine and Gold’s four-game win streak.

QuotableLeBron James, on whether the Cavs are ready for the Warriors …

”We will be ready with the game plan that our coaching staff gives us. Are we ready to set ourselves up for a seven-game series between us and the Warriors? Hell no. Our starting two-guard is out four months. We have no sense of entitlement of thinking we can even get to a seven-game series versus them, so we’re not ready for that. We’ll be as well prepared as you can be for a regular season game.”

Up Next -- After brushing aside the struggling Nets on Friday night at The Q – having now won nine of their last 10 – the Cavaliers are primed and ready for their marquee Christmas Day matchup with the Warriors. Immediately following the game, the Wine and Gold travel to Detroit for a meeting with the Pistons the following night. Tyronn Lue’s squad then wraps up the calendar year – taking on the Celtics in a nationally-televised meeting on Thursday before a New Year’s Eve tilt against Kemba Walker and the Hornets in Charlotte.

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