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Wrap-Up – Kyrie Irving led the Cavaliers with 23 points, but it was the Wine and Gold’s bigs who lifted the squad to its second straight win for the first time this season – dominating Denver’s frontline in a convincing 98-88 victory on Wednesday night at The Q.
Tristan Thompson led the Cavaliers frontcourt triumvirate with a monster night – setting a career-high with 21 boards to go with 17 points and a game-high three blocks. Anderson Varejao was almost as good, coming off the bench to double-up with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Andrew Bynum made an impact in only 20 minutes of action – netting 14 points, seven boards and a blocked shot. Almost lost among Cleveland’s big men’s big games was Irving, who was 9-for-20 from the floor, adding four assists, two boards and a steal to his 23-point performance.
The high-octane Nuggets came into Wednesday’s contest winners of seven straight, but the Cavaliers held them to just 15 points in the fourth quarter and 12 fastbreak points overall. Cleveland out-rebounded Denver on the night, 58-43.
Turning Point – The Cavaliers trailed by three points early in the first quarter, but closed the period up seven and didn’t relinquish the lead for the rest of the night. The affair got close in the third quarter, when the Nuggets trimmed Cleveland’s lead to just a deuce. But behind Varejao and Thompson, the Wine and Gold began the fourth period on an 11-4 run, giving them a double-digit lead and enough breathing space to take home the win.
Game Ball – Tristan Thompson – Don’t think the Cavaliers forward doesn’t pay attention to the comparisons between him and Nuggets forward, Kenneth Faried. The duo represents the two best rebounders from the Class of 2011 and one was going to come out on top on Wednesday. Thompson was a man on a mission from the opening tip and grabbed nine boards before the end of the first quarter. On the night, Tristan snagged nine of his boards off the offensive glass. He was 6-of-13 from the floor and 5-of-6 from the stripe in the win.
By the Numbers – 13 … blocked shots by the Cavaliers on Wednesday night. It was the fourth time this season they’ve recorded double-digit blocks.
Quotable – Tristan Thompson, on his matchup with Denver’s Kenneth Faried …
” There’s a lot of good bigs in this league that can rebound and (Faried)’s definitely one of them. Tonight’s game I took the approach where if I’m not getting the rebound, he’s definitely not going to get it because he brings that kind of spark to their team. He kind of gets them going, so my role is just to kind of take him out of it and that’s what I did.”
Up Next – After playing their first consecutive games at The Q this season, the Wine and Gold get back on the road – taking on the Hawks this Friday night in Atlanta. They return home on Saturday to take on the Clippers – a team they’ve topped in 11 of their last 13 meetings. The Cavs stay home and welcome the struggling Knicks to Cleveland on Tuesday night before traveling to the Sunshine State next weekend for a back-to-back against the Magic on Friday night and the Heat on South Beach one night later.
Watch Highlights: Cavs 98, Nuggets 88