The Cleveland Cavaliers handled business against the struggling Phoenix Suns Tuesday night, winning the contest by a final score of 129-107. LeBron James led the way for the Cavs with his career-high fourteen triple-double of the season. James’ final stat line read 28 points, 13 rebounds, and eleven assists and he proved why’s he the best player in the world. The three-point attack was in full force and the team shot just under 50% from behind the arc.
Let’s take a look at the three takeaways from the road win:
1. Best In The World- LeBron not only finished with his fourteenth triple-double of the season, he also made it a point to get to the free-throw line. James succeeded at doing such by taking fifteen shots from the charity stripe. He went with his normal approach offensively but the officials seemed to call the fouls that have happened all year to LeBron tonight. It’ll be interesting to see if that happens again on Thursday when the Cavs take on the Portland Trail Blazers or if this is just an anomaly in the season.
LeBron had a really solid night and is now only fifteen games away from playing a full 82-game season.
2. Three-Point Shooting In Rare Form- Cleveland’s three-point shooting has not been anywhere near past years, with very lackluster performances from the team this year. Tuesday night was a solid one for the sharpshooters on the team.
The Cavs finished 48.6% from three-point range, knocking down seventeen of their thirty-five attempts from deep. Kyle Korver had twenty-two points and Jordan Clarkson had twenty points in two huge individual games for Cleveland. Both players made it a problem for the Phoenix defense all night, helping the Cavaliers as they cruised to a road victory.
3. JR’s Effort From The Bench- JR Smith was informed earlier in the day that he would not be starting and instead, Kyle Korver would be inserted into the starting shooting guard position. Smith came into Tuesday’s game off the bench for the first time since early on in the season and did not disappoint. Smith finished with fourteen points and five rebounds in twenty-two minutes of work. He shot 5-of-12 from the field and 2-of-4 from long-range, demonstrating his shooting ability when his shot is falling.
JR looked comfortable on both sides of the ball and really helped Cleveland out with his second unit burst. Going forward, we’ll see how he continues to embrace his bench role and how well it benefits the team.