Coming into this season, one thing felt clear about the Cleveland Cavaliers -- they were going to score points. They possessed three players that were considered one of the best at their positions and had already spent one season together.
Yet after tough losses to the Spurs and Warriors this week, it was the offense that wielded more questions than the defense did at this point in the season.
Against the Los Angeles Clippers tonight, some those questions were erased.
After scoring less than 100 points in their past four games, the Cleveland Cavaliers put on an offensive display, shooting 50.6 from the field and finishing with 29 assists in their 115-102 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.
The offense for the Cavs was firing on all cylinders against the Clipper. All five starters were in starting figures, with J.R. Smith leading the way with 22 points on an efficient 8-of-12 shooting, including hitting six three-pointers. Kyrie Irving finished 21 points and Kevin Love, despite 4-of-10 shooting from the field, finished with 18 points and 16 rebounds -- his second straight double-double and the sixth in his last seven games.
LeBron James wasn't great scoring (still good -- 22 points on 17 shots), but he was the main factor in reviving the Cavs ball movement that had gone missing overt he past few games. James finished with a game-high 12 assists and the team finished with 29.
The biggest number for James? Zero turnovers. This was the first time in nine games he didn't commit a turnover.
The Cavs used the three-ball as a serious weapon tonight. They made 13-of-their-28 attempts, with a few those icing the game late in the fourth quarter. After their 16-point lead had slipped into single digits, the Cavs hit three, three-pointers in four possessions to put the Cavs back up 16 with just over four minutes left in the game.
As it usually is when these two teams meet, Chris Paul brought out his best game. He was effective at both scoring efficiently (30 points on 11-of-19 shooting) and creating for his teammates (nine assists) despite his four turnovers. He made it tough for whomever the Cavs tried to put on him, and was a big reason the Clippers were able to get back into the game.
We did, unfortunately we're witness to more Hack-a-DeAndre when Cavs coach David Blatt began fouling him late in the third quarter. In that span, Jordan went 2-of-6 from the free throw line, and more importantly, the Cavs pushed their lead from nine to 16.
Although this win over one of the top teams in the league won't wipe the taste out of the mouth of the loss to Golden State on Monday, this game did prove that all is well in The Land.