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Wrap-Up – The Cavaliers didn’t play poorly on Monday night at The Q. But they definitely didn’t bring the same intensity that saw them win three straight heading into their early-season rematch with Denver. The Nuggets got the best of this one – snapping Cleveland’s streak with the 106-97 decision.
Four Cavaliers notched at least 20 points, led by LeBron James’ 22-point effort. James, who missed morning shootaround with a head-cold, went 8-for-18 from the floor – adding nine boards, five assists and a pair of blocks. Kevin Love doubled-up for the fifth time this year, adding 20 points and 11 rebounds. Kyrie Irving completed the Cavalier starters in double-figures, netting 20 points and a team-high eight assists.
Dion Waiters scored 12 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, coming off the bench to go 5-for-7 from the floor in the period, 9-of-16 overall.
The Nuggets’ backcourt of Aaron Afflalo and Ty Lawson did most of the damage for Denver – and neither was a factor in Cleveland’s November 7 victory. Lawson, who didn’t play in the teams’ first meeting of the season, led everyone with 24 points and 12 assists. Afflalo, who went scoreless in 31 minutes on Nov. 7, notched 10 of his 23 points in the first period.
The Cavs shot 43 percent from the floor on Monday and were outscored in the paint and on second-chance points. More costly were the 15 miscues Cleveland committed – leading to 26 Denver points.
Turning Point – The Cavs and Nuggets went back and forth through the first two quarters at The Q. But after tying the game on a Kevin Love three-pointer early in the third period, the Cavs cooled off and Denver went on a quick 14-5 run that put Cleveland in catch-up mode. The Nuggets extended their lead to two touchdowns midway through the fourth and the Cavs didn’t get closer than nine points the rest of the way.
By the Numbers – 46 … occasions that LeBron James has been named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week – including this past week in which he averaged 35.0 points, 7.0 boards and 7.0 assists, shooting .594 from the floor and .500 from beyond the arc, all while leading Cleveland to a 3-0 mark. The 46 nods are the most for any player in NBA history. It was the 44th time a Cavalier has been earned POW honors and the 27th time James has done so as a Cavalier.
Quotable – LeBron James, on Monday night’s performance …
”. It’s not even a win or lose thing. I mean, you’re going to win games when you play great and you’re going to lose games when you play great. It’s how you approach the game mentally. If you go out of a game and you feel like you gave it your all, and you still lost, you can still be satisfied about that. But for a game like tonight, I’m not happy about it.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers get their toughest test of the season so far on Wednesday night as the World Champion Spurs come to The Q on Wednesday night. On Friday night, they play their final road game of the month when they travel to the nation’s capital to face the Wizards. The following night, it’s back home for another tough test against the Raptors in Cleveland. And next Monday, the Cavs welcome the Magic to The Q.