This is the way you expect a contender to brush aside fringe playoff teams. The Cavaliers broke the game open with a 40-point second quarter and never looked back. The bench actually spread the lead to 20-plus early in the fourth quarter, rather than allowing Charlotte to claw their way back into it as we've seen happen too often this year. LeBron James, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson didn't log a single minute in the fourth quarter.
Kyrie Irving was fantastic tonight. When he attacks an off-balance defense when pushing the pace in transition or attacking a closeout, he simply cannot be stopped. There was a stretch in each half where he just took over while playing with our bench. He finished with 23 points on 61 percent true shooting, with six assists, five rebounds, one steal and one block. Moreover, his work with the bench unit opened things up for others. Cleveland scored 38 points tonight, in large part thanks to Kyrie.
The whole bench was quite good tonight, but the most noteworthy performance was by Channing Frye. In his first game with extended minutes in a Cavalier uniform, he scored both inside and out. He helped seal the game early in the fourth quarter, draining three of his four triples early in that frame. He finished with 15 points on nine true shot attempts, along with six rebounds. Moreover, the threat of his outside shooting opened up triples for Dellavedova and Jefferson, while also giving Mozgov room to work in the paint.
"I'm the best player in the world." - LeBron James, during the 2015 NBA Finals
Nights like this make me believe this still just might be the case. Stephen Curry's shooting is nearly game-breaking, but no one impacts more facets of the game than LeBron James. He controlled both ends of the floor tonight, with aggressive drives, a couple spot-up threes, sublime passing, great defense and his usual good work on the boards. There were, at least, half a dozen unbelievable passes that won't show up on the score sheet. The final tally was 23 points on 68 percent true shooting, seven assists, seven rebounds and two steals in just 30 minutes.
All-in-all, an excellent performance. Here's hoping we see many more of these to close out the season.