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The Wine & Gold wrap up their three-game home stand on Thursday night when they open up the month of November against the Denver Nuggets. Tipoff from The Q is at 7:00 p.m. (ET).
After snagging their first win of the 2018-19 campaign on Tuesday against the Atlanta, the Cavaliers are looking to keep the ball rolling heading into Thursday night's affair. Against the Hawks, the squad excelled in each facet of the game, ultimately topping their opponent, 136-114. Specifically, it was the Cavs hot hands that led to the win after they shot .500 (45-90) from the field and a season-high .520 (13-25) from three-point range.
Cleveland's 136 points were their third-highest scoring total ever at Quicken Loans Arena (140 vs. MIN in OT on 2/7/18, 137 vs. POR in regulation on 11/23/16). The Cavs put up 78 points in the second half (41 in third quarter), which was also their most in a single half since November 23, 2016 versus Portland (81 in first half).
Of course, when your team scores 136 points in a game, that means everyone had a helping hand in the win. The Cavaliers had a season-high seven players score in double figures, including Rodney Hood (26), Cedi Osman (20), George Hill (17), Collin Sexton (17), Jordan Clarkson (15), Sam Dekker (12) and Tristan Thompson (11). The squad has had at least six players score at least 10 points in five of their seven games this season.
The Wine & Gold also excelled on the defensive front, forcing Atlanta into a season-high 23 turnovers while converting their miscues into 28 points. They also swiped a season-best 13 steals. Over the last three games, the Cavs are forcing an average of 19.3 miscues (21.0 PTS OFF) and swiping 11.0 steals per night.
From an individual perspective, Rodney Hood led the way for the Cavs. He had his highest scoring game as a Cavalier in Tuesday’s win, tallying a season-high 26 points (11 in third quarter) on 9-13 (.692) shooting, including a perfect 4-4 (1.000) from deep, and three steals in 31 minutes.
Tristan Thompson also had a solid showing, finishing the night with his second double-double (11 pts/13 rbs) while passing Anderson Varajao (4,434 rbs) for the fifth-most boards in franchise history. He now has 4,443 rebounds to his name.
Cleveland will aim to mimic this diverse effort on Thursday against a 6-1 Nuggets team, who just wrapped up their first leg of a back-to-back, topping the Chicago Bulls, 108-107, in overtime on Wednesday night in the Windy City.
In the win, the Nuggets had five players score in double-digits with Denver's star center, Nikola Jokic, posting another double-double (22 pts/12 rbs). The 23-year-old Serb is averaging 21 points and 10.3 boards per game. Swingman Paul Millsap followed Jokic's lead on Wednesday, posting 19 points and six rebounds. The Nuggets are currently 2-1 on the road this season, with their lone loss coming against the Los Angeles Lakers last Thursday night in Tinseltown.
Thursday's matchup between the Cavs and Nuggets will be their first meeting of the 2018-19 Season and won't see one another again until next year when they cross paths in Denver on January 19.
TV: FOX Sports Ohio
Tune in for Cavaliers LIVE on FSO for pre-and-postgame coverage starting 30 minutes prior to tipoff and immediately following the conclusion of the game.
Radio: WTAM 1100, 100.7 WMMS, 87.7 La Mega
Programming Note: On Thursday, FOX Sports Ohio is airing the Blue Jackets – Sharks game (10:30 p.m.) and the Cavs – Nuggets game (7:00 p.m.). To view channel information, CLICK HERE.
Status Update: (Cavs) - Kevin Love (Left Foot Soreness, Out)
Status Update: (Nuggets) - Isaiah Thomas (Right Hip Surgery, Out), Jarred Vanderbilt (Right Foot Surgery, Out), Michael Porter Jr. (Lower Back Surgery, Out), Will Barton (Right Hip/Core Muscle Surgery, Out)
*Subject to change.
Cleveland should head into Thursday night's matchup with some confidence, knowing that they've had Denver's number in recent years. In fact, the Cavs own a 7-3 record over the last 10 games against the Nuggets, scoring at least 110 points in seven of those contests.
The Cavs have also topped 110 points and shot at least .500 from the field in each of the last five meetings against the Nuggets, averaging a combined 118.4 points on .528 shooting from the field (.444 3FG%) and 28.0 assists (11.6 turnovers) during that span.
The last time these two teams played was a, 113-108, win for Cleveland at the Pepsi Center on March 7, 2018. In the win, the Cavaliers had 10 steals and forced 21 turnovers. Offensively, the Wine & Gold had 25 assists (10 turnovers) and shot 44-87 (.506) from the field, including 13-29 (.448) from three-point territory.
In order to get another win on Thursday night, the Cavs will have to continue to outscore their opponents off the bench. So far, the Cleveland reserves are averaging 48.1 bench points this season (second-best in the NBA), compared to the Nuggets' 35.8. By holding Denver at bay, the Cavs' bench can help take the weight off the starters' shoulders, which is something they will no doubt appreciate.
Following Thursday's date with Denver, the Wine & Gold hit the road for two games, beginning with a meeting in Charlotte on Saturday followed by a Sunshine State showdown in Orlando against the Magic on Monday. The Cavs will return to The Land the following Wednesday evening when they welcome the Oklahoma City Thunder to The Q. Tipoff for that game is at 7:00 p.m. (ET).