The Cavaliers’ position in the Eastern Conference got a little bit tighter Friday night in Los Angeles.
Two days after the Raptors clinched their playoff birth, and a day after the Celtics clinched theirs, the Cavaliers’ 116-102 loss at Staples Center put them just a half game ahead of the Wizards and Pacers for the No. 3 seed in the East.
LeBron James led the Cavs with 25 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, but also committed five turnovers and missed a few layups that are normally makes for him. Larry Nance had 16 points and 12 rebounds, but went up against Clippers center (and almost Cavalier) DeAndre Jordan, who finished with 20 points and 23 bounds. Jordan Clarkson and J.R. Smith had 21 points and 15 points for the Cavs, respectively.
The Cavs trailed by as many as 19 points in the first half, but were able to claw back within four late in the third quarter as James scored 12 of his 25 points in the period. But by the 7:22 mark of the fourth, when Tyronn Lue called a timeout, the Cavs were back down by 12. Cleveland never got within eight points the rest of the way.
The Cavs also lost Rodney Hood and Cedi Osman to injuries during the game. Hood left after playing just seven minutes with a lower back strain, while Osman left with a hip strain in the second half. He later said he heard a ‘pop’ in his groin.
Cleveland will remain in Los Angeles over the weekend, as they play the Lakers on Sunday in the same building. Tipoff for that game, which will feature the Cavs facing off with Isaiah Thomas for the first time since trading him in February, is at 9 p.m.