CLEVELAND – The Cavaliers walked off the court to a second straight 14-point loss at the Staples Center on March 11, desperately searching for a second scorer behind LeBron James. It was only 72 hours, but the Lakers and Clippers – two teams headed for the lottery – had torn apart the defending Eastern Conference champions.
Kevin Love’s return to the floor has single-handedly shoved those West Coast blues in the rearview mirror.
Following quality victories over playoff-bound Milwaukee and first-place Toronto, Cleveland extended its winning streak to four games with a 120-95 rout of Phoenix on Friday evening at Quicken Loans Arena. In a week that saw head coach Tyronn Lue leave due to health issues and sharpshooter Kyle Korver attend to a personal issue, the Cavaliers closed out the homestand with a perfect 3-0 record.
“It says that we are very capable of persevering,” said interim head coach Larry Drew. “Certainly when you look at our year and everything that has happened, we’ve persevered. To me that’s a sign of a team that’s mentally strong and a team that’s mentally capable.”
James spearheaded the blowout with 27 points, six rebounds and nine assists, while Love chipped in 20 points, six boards, two assists and three steals. Jordan Clarkson added 13 points in a game that featured the returns of Larry Nance Jr. (15 points), Rodney Hood (nine points) and Tristan Thompson (four points, 10 rebounds) to the 10-man rotation under a minutes restriction.
“Just try to fit in with these new guys,” Love said. “I think with mostly everybody back tonight besides Cedi (Osman) and Kyle (Korver) that it looked good. Hopefully we can continue that on this three-game road trip.”
The Suns have now lost 10 straight, and 25 of their last 27 contests. Both Devin Booker (right hand strain) and TJ Warren (left knee inflammation) watched the one-sided affair from the sidelines.
Here are three takeaway’s from the Cavs’ 43rd win of the campaign…